To beat the beat you have to beat the best, to beat the best you have to be the best! How was that? Hi-five monkeys, play badminton in the skies, slice up demons, kicks incoming balls away on a date and interview a wrestler are just some of the things you will be beating the beat to. Just like an average day in Oswaldtwistle really.
Beat The Beat is the latest entry in the Rhythm Paradise series and the first entry on a home console. It’s been on the Game Boy Advance, DS and even in the arcades, but not many people seem to know about it. The blinding array of colours on the box should alert people to it, but the only colours in fashion these days are the fifty shades of grey. Tap dancing monkeys and marching birds don’t seem to be in at the minute. Such a shame as this is the feel good hit of the summer.
The game is incredibly simple to play, but ultimately hard to master. The objective is to follow the rhythm of a collection of catchy musical numbers (Japanese and English options available in the European version), and try to obtain either an OK, Superb or Perfect rank. Motion controls are out which may seem like an unusual choice for the wii, but the two button taps of A or A and B together lead to an accuracy sometimes missed in the touch screen happy DS predecessor. Tapping two button combinations appears to be basic, but getting the beat right is no easy task. As the audio and visuals play out there is a habit of judging when to press by the visuals, which will often result in failure, and instead you must keep your ears out for the right moment. A bird may squawk or a commentator may shout or one small musical segment will play then replay. These moments are when that A button gets the tap treatment and the game can be played with eyes closed once each of the 50+ games tricks have been learnt.
Though you won’t want to keep your eyes shut when the game has such bizarre visuals to enjoy. Seeing a set of baby seals slap their flippers side to side is too adorable to miss, and muck ups such as seeing a golfer being winded by a thrown golf ball are worth screwing the beat up just to witness. The game is full of character and it becomes a game with an audience, as passer-bys won’t fail to stand and stare at the madness you’ve brought into the home. There is even a two player cooperative mode so they can join in, but these games feel tacked on as the selection is slight and the content is repeated from the single player mode. It’s still a highlight to see two karate masters back to back smiling to each other as they bust rocks, but the whole game should have been offered up.
On offering up the game fails in a few other areas. Each game starts with a long-winded tutorial which makes the games appear harder than they actually are and these tutorials come up every single time. They can be skipped, but there should be an option to select them before you play. And selection is something Beat the Beat can be picky about, as it only allows the player to have a go at perfected a stage one at a time, with only three tries before the perfect chance moves onto something else. This makes the perfect attempts a tenser ordeal, but the game can be a little hard to judge on why an action was missed and it just ends up making the challenge a frustration.
The minor irritations don’t break the rhythm of the game though and they remain just that; minor. They don’t remove the grins the game effortlessly gives the player and after each session there will be only one thing going through the head. Ba bomb bomb bomb! Or maybe Donk Donk Donk Donk Donkmwa! Not mad, just infected.