Rhythm Heaven (universe)
The Rhythm Heaven universe (リズム天国, Rhythm Tengoku), known as Rhythm Paradise in PAL regions, is a series of rhythm-based music games made by Nintendo SPD. The series was created and developed by the same core team that made the WarioWare series. As a result, the two series often cross over in each other's games.
The series can be traced back to several different projects. Around 2002, designer Kazuyoshi Osawa created a Game Boy Advance tech demo that consists of playing a drum kit. Every button on the system corresponded with a different drum. More game modes were slowly added over the course of several years. In 2004, music producer Tsunku approached Nintendo with an unrelated pitch based around players intuitively playing a rhythm game without visual indicators. The higherups were initially hesitant to approve such an experimental title out of concern of only catering to a niche audience. This project was then merged with the tech demo, and the staff were combined going forward. This worked out for everyone as the tech demo team now have clear direction and Tsunku already wanted his game to be on GBA. He also recommended the staff to take dance lessons to improve their internal rhythm and make development easier on a human level. The game finally released in Japan on August 3, 2006 as Rhythm Tengoku.
While only a modest success in terms of sales, the game was received well by critics and audiences. Particular highlights were its presentation and soundtrack courtesy of Tsunku, which inspired other companies to make similar games in the future. Staff at Sega were particularly fond of the title, and approached Nintendo on developing an arcade version for their Naomi arcade board. This arcade version released in Japan on September 20, 2007. The game received remastered graphics and audio, as well as minor gameplay tweaks to accomodate the very different controls. The game also features multiplayer, a feature that would not be introduced to the main series for many years.
A sequel was immediately put into production. However, this new project took much longer to develop then expected due to design hurdles. When the project was decided to be on the Nintendo DS, the team decided to use the touch screen as the main way to control the minigames. This thought evolved into the "Flick Action," which alone took close to a year to implement. While the team initially had trouble with making the system feel fair to the player, they all agreed it is an intuitive way to keep timing and believed it should be in the game. This title finally released in Japan on July 31, 2008 as Rhythm Heaven. This game was also the first in the series to release internationally, releasing throughout 2009 while being renamed to Rhythm Paradise in Europe and Rhythm World in Korea. While there were no major gameplay differences, a significant part of the presentation was changed internationally by translating lyrics and toning down the more decidedly "Japanese" elements that other countries would not understand. The game was praised for its improvement on the first game and its innovations in the rhythm game genre.
Another sequel was greenlit, this time for Wii. While motion controls were considered, they were dropped due to their lack of precision and replaced with traditional button controls. The team also experimented with 3D models, but abandoned the idea and stuck to 2D animation which they believed flowed better. The game released in Japan on July 21, 2011 as Minna No Rhythm Tengoku. The game later released in North America as Rhythm Heaven Fever and in PAL regions Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise. Aside from the regional changes from the previous game returning, English releases had a minigame based on Manzai cut and replaced with a remastered version of the "Mr. Upbeat" minigame from Rhythm Tengoku. The game was once again praised for its significantly improved sound and visuals due to being on a home console for the first time.
Another game was developed for Nintendo 3DS, this time being a collection of popular minigames from across the series as well as a few new games. The game released on June 11, 2015 as Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus. The game released in North America on June 15, 2016 as Rhythm Heaven Megamix exclusively on Nintendo eShop, while getting a physical release in Europe on October 21, 2016 as Rhythm Paradise Megamix.
Rhythm Tengoku is mentioned among the titles listed in the Chronicle in Japanese versions of Brawl. However, no other content from the series is featured anywhere else in the game.
Sneaky Spirits appear as a common enemy in Smash Run in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Karate Joe and the Chorus Kids, along with the aforementioned Sneaky Spirits, appear as collectible trophies in the 3DS version, while Marshal, Cam, and Miss Ribbon and the Wrestler and Reporter appear as collectible trophies in the Wii U version.
Two songs from the series are included with the Miiverse stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: Blue Birds from the Nintendo DS installment Rhythm Heaven, and Monkey Watch from the Wii installment Rhythm Heaven Fever. These songs are playable on the Miiverse stage.
The following characters from the series are spirits.
Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
Rhythm Heaven / Rhythm Paradise
Rhythm Heaven Fever / Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise
Rhythm Heaven Megamix / Rhythm Paradise Megamix