Video Game: Rhythm Heaven

aka: Rhythm Heaven Fever

"Go for a Perfect!"

Rhythm Heaven, known in Japan as Rhythm Tengoku and as Rhythm Paradise in Europe, can best be described as WarioWare meets Elite Beat Agents. The first game in the series was released on the GBA in late 2006, making it the last game that Nintendo developed for the system, and later in arcades as a joint project between Nintendo and SEGA. Naturally this meant that it would be released only in Japan, not unlike the case with Mother 3. Despite this, the DS sequel (known as Rhythm Tengoku Gold in Japan) would receive an overseas release to a positive reception.

The gameplay is fairly simple. The game is divided into sets of four or five music-based mini-games, which are completed by pressing buttons (or flicking and tapping the touch screen) in time with the rhythm. Upon completion of each mini-game, the player's performance is evaluated and given a ranking: Try Again, OK, or Superb. If a player gets a Try Again rating, they can't progress to the next mini-game until they can get one of the higher ratings. A Superb rating awards the player with a medal; collecting these allows bonus features such as endless mini-games to be unlocked. Sometimes the game challenges the player to complete a mini-game flawlessly. Doing so nets a Perfect rating, which unlocks bonus information on the mini-game or adds another song to the sound test. After completing a set of games, the player is challenged to a Remix game that includes each game of the set. Completing the Remix unlocks the next set.

The mini-games themselves are exactly what one would expect from the team responsible for WarioWare: Quirky, bizarre, and generally addictive. Examples include:
  • Hitting baseballs expelled by a flowerpot while floating in space
  • Helping a rabbit jump across whales and turtles to reach the moon
  • Stomping around a garden to pluck beets from the ground
  • Shaking and tossing flasks to create hearts in a laboratory devoted to studying the science of love
  • Controlling a member of a quartet of dancing shrimp
  • Piloting a rocket powered by anthropomorphic tuning forks across a surreal landscape of flowers and pink clouds

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Half Rhythm Game, Half Widget Series, Rhythm Heaven is a definite qualifier for one of the best rhythm-based mini-game collections available.

On an interesting note, it is one of the few rhythm games to actually be about "rhythm" and not just rapid timing. That is most prominently featured in Lockstep in Heaven, where you'll cruise after you get how to switch from the beat to off-beat but will be completely impossible if you just try to "muscle" your way through.

The third iteration, Rhythm Heaven Fever, also known in Japan as Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (Everyone's Rhythm Heaven), was released in the States in February 2012. The European port (called Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise) was, after an enormous wait, released in July 2012.

The fourth iteration, Rhythm Tengoku: The Best+, has been announced for a 2015 release in Japan. It contains 100 games — 30 new and 70 returning from the previous three.

Note: For shorthand, we'll be calling the GBA version Tengoku, the DS version Heaven, the Wii version Fever, and for now, the 3DS version The Best+.

This series provides examples of:

  • 555: The code for the Phone Toy in Heaven that results in the Rap Men's rap song from Tengoku is "555-ROCK-OUT".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Tons of minigame names. Some examples: Rhythm Rally, Blue Birds, Love Lizards, Freeze Frame, Munchy Monk, Drummer Duel, Love Lab, Space Soccer, Beat Bag, Double Date, Figure Fighter, Samurai Slice, Tap Troupe, and Shrimp Shuffle.
  • All There in the Manual: Winning the gifts will give you background on the various characters. Lampshaded in the reading material for Blue Birds, telling you that it will make the montage scene shown in the game make more sense.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Heaven has a group of singing frogs, and Fever has pigs as businessmen.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: While most humanoid characters have regular skin colors, a few have more unusual colors. Snow-white skin also seems fairly common.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Pretty much every animal in the game. Most notably, the Huebirds of Happiness in Flock Step.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Because of the nature of the series, it can be difficult discerning the gender of many characters. For a human example, the player rocker in Rockers is never referred to by any pronouns.
  • Amusement Park: Remix 4 in Heaven, and Remix 6 in Fever.
  • Anime Hair: Mandrill's hair in Fever grows to twice its length in Hole In One 2, and by Remix 9, it's grown past the screen and a monkey is climbing it.
  • Annoying Arrows: The Sneaky Spirits in the first game can take an arrow up the nose and only get knocked through the door. However, this may be less because of the arrows and more because of the ghosts.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Talking to the Barista lets you skip any level you're having trouble with, provided you've tried it at least three times. You can do this for as many games as you want, excluding the Remix before the credits and the final one.
    • Fever's Barista gives players the option to watch a perfect run of the level, to see the proper rhythms.
    • Some longer minigames compensate for their length by being much more lenient with the timing. Being slightly offbeat will warn the player slightly, but it'll still count as a successful input and won't break a perfect run. (For example, this can be seen in action with Heaven's Frog Hop here.)
    • Players can only attempt a perfect run on a song three times in a row. After that, they'll have to wait for the game to randomly let them try again. Whether or not this forced break is a good thing is questionable. (Since these breaks stop appearing once the player has gotten a Superb ranking on every level, it's likely that this is to give players a chance to work on OTHER challenges.)
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Samurai Slice in Fever involves hunting down some evil spirits who scare a little boy and his sister, trash their house... and steal the little boy's pinwheel. In Samurai Slice 2, said spirits go on to steal a stuffed bunny a salaryman bought for his daughter.
  • Art Evolution: The game's overall style started out somewhat sketchy, but gradually smoothed out over time. There's a noticeable leap with Fever, the first console game in the series. The Best+ highlights this, with older minigames redone in a style more consistent with Fever.
  • Art Shift: Overall, the general style of the series is Thick-Line Animation, but there are several deviations from that look. From the scribbles of Glee Club and Bossa Nova, to the painterly style of Fever's Samurai Slice, to the 3D polygons of Rhythm Rally and Airboarder, no two rhythm games are guaranteed to look alike.
  • Artistic License Sports: Unlike what you see in Splashdown, real synchronized swimming doesn't allow animals at all.
  • ASCII Art: Parodied. The last part of Power Calligraphy has a face made entirely out of Kanji symbols.
  • Astronomic Zoom: This happens during the climax of Flock Step in Fever. It's yet another trick the game'll use to mess players up.
  • Badass: The Wandering Samurai from Samurai Slice is the most prominent example.
  • Battle in the Rain: Both versions of Samurai Slice in Fever feature this.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Sneaky Spirits in Tengoku and Big Rock Finish in Heaven.
  • Big Eater: Any version of Munchy Monk counts as this. Forthington is also one in the reading material for Air Rally.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The counting in Munchy Monk is in Chinese in the Japanese version.
    • In Kung Fu Ball, the neon sign on the right-hand side of the screen doesn't say anything intelligible in Chinese (which you might assume given the minigame's theme), but it can be read as "rizumu" ("rhythm") in Japanese.
    • Power Calligraphy, for the most part, consists of real Japanese characters. レ is katakana and stands for the sound "re". The dash means nothing and is simply for practice later in the song. 力 is kanji that means "power". 己 is kanji that roughly means "self". 寸 stands for an obsolete unit of measure a little longer than an inch. 心 is kanji that means "heart". The last symbol is "tsurunihamarumarumushi"; simply a face made up of Japanese characters, similar to ASCII Art.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: According to the unlockable character notes, the table-tennis aliens from Heaven don't actually eat. They get their energy from playing ping-pong.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Ringside in Fever. The girl asks questions of the wrestler and all we hear is "Wubba dubba dubba, 'zat true?" The wrestler is most likely not paying attention to the questions and is yes-ing her to death. Lampshaded in the game's reading material, where the reporter is asking him actual questions, and he still responds to everything with "Eh." It opens up the possibility that we're hearing what the wrestler hears.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Cheer Readers in the American version of Fever twirl books simply titled "BOOK". In Europe, said books are printed with four circles instead.
  • Blank White Eyes: The Chorus Kids when they sing.
  • Blush Stickers: Pretty much everyone has these, but most notably is Marshal, the mascot of Fever.
  • Book Ends: Each game in the series has one remix that includes every stage in the game. The stages that come first in the remix always appear once more for the finale (Space Dance for Tengoku, Karate Man for Heaven, and Packing Pests for Fever).
  • Boss Rush: Remix 7 in Tengoku is a medley of Remixes 1, 2 and 4.
  • Bottomless Pits: In both versions of Night Walk. Fail to jump over one and it's an instant Game Over.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting a Superb on Fever's Extra Games or Night Walk will not earn you a medal.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The reading material for Monkey Watch shows that it was designed to help keep your spirits up by giving you a cheery way to look at the time. The reading material for Mr. Upbeat suggests he bought a Monkey Watch to act as a therapist for his depression.
    • In Heaven's Big Rock Finish, you play a small initial tune to get used to the game's moves. Later on, the tune is extended to an entire song in Remix 7. Guess what game the Remix will make you play right as it's about to finish.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: After getting a Perfect in all of the games in Fever you'll unlock the Endless Remix. The game itself isn't all that hard (in fact, it's arguably the most fun Endless Game in Fever and quite possibly the whole series); what makes it needlessly difficult at first is that, of the five Endless Games used, three of them aren't seen anywhere else, and they don't bother to tell you how they work. This basically forces you to figure it out on your own (or consult a guide) and keep losing until you get it right.
  • Bullet Time:
    • Sneaky Spirits in the first game; their overdramatic moans are Played for Laughs.
    • There's also a couple parts in Iai Slash from Tengoku where the song slows down and you cut down one of the bigger monsters.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: You play as one in Rabbit Jump from Tengoku. In Fever's Samurai Slice 2, a salaryman buys a toy bunny for his daughter.
  • The Cameo: Several characters from past Rhythm Heaven games make occasional appearance in later games.
    • The onions and beets from Tengoku's Vegeta-pull appear on the books in Fever's Cheer Readers, as well as the character from Night Walk, DJ Yellow from Heaven's DJ School, and the Space Dancers from Tengoku. The beets also make an appearance in Heaven's Crop Stomp.
    • A Sneaky Spirit can be seen in Heaven's Big Rock Finish.
    • A few characters from Tengoku, such as the Stealth Rats and the Space Dancers, can be seen in Heaven's Freeze Frame.
    • Tram from Tengoku can be seen on the rating screens of Remix 2 and Figure Fighter 2 in Heaven and Fever, respectively.
    • The character from Tengoku's Night Walk can be seen in Heaven's The Dazzles, hanging on to the stars that appear.
    • Texting "555-ROCK-OUT" in Heaven's phone toy results in the Rap Men's rap song from Tengoku.
    • The instructor from Tengoku's Marcher makes an appearance in Fever's Flipper-Flop, this time instructing a bunch of seals.
    • The girl on the platform from Bon*Odori shows up not only on Remix 7's results image in Heaven, but also in the background of Fever's Remix 9.
    • Radio Lady in Heaven appears wearing the Marchers' outfit from Tengoku in Shoot-'Em-Up 2.
    • Multiple characters from Heaven, such as the scientists from Love Lab and the Blue Birds, can be seen outside the window in Fever's Munchy Monk.
    • Pictures of the Rap Men from Tengoku can be seen at the end of Fever's Love Rap and its sequel.
  • Camera Abuse: At one point in Exhibition Match, the camera zooms out dramatically. If you manage to hit the pitch properly, the ball goes flying and cracks the "glass".
  • Captain Obvious: Pretty much everyone indulges in this. For example, Monkey in Hole in One:
    "It's my friend, Mandrill! (He's a mandrill.)"
  • Catch Phrase: The descriptions for the remixes all start with some variation on "Let's mix things up!"
  • Cat Smile: Marshal's default expression.
  • Creative Closing Credits: In Heaven a minigame named Airboarder plays as the credits scroll, which becomes playable later. Fever has a remake of Night Walk from Tengoku, featuring Marshal as the playable character. Both appear in their respective game's Final Exam Boss, so you'd better have tried them at least once.
  • Continuity Nod / Call Back:
    • All over the place. For example, pay attention to the Freeze Frame game in Heaven, and see how many stages/characters from the first game show upnote . There's more in Heaven than in just that stage, but said stage is practically dripping with them.
    • During their break time, Space Dancers tend to play a good game of table tennis, while the Cosmo Dancers became space cowboy soccer players.
    • The reading material for Rhythm Rally 2 shows that Space Gramps, leader of the Space Dancers, is also the chairman of the Rhythm League. Likewise, the reading material for Tap Troupe in Fever implies that he's also the leader of the Tall Tappers.
    • The reading material for Glee Club 2 in Heaven reveals that the conductor used to be in the Clappy Trio from the first game, but moved on to help the Chorus Kids.
    • The Extra Games menu in Fever plays a rearrangement of the game selection music from Tengoku
    • During Remix 7 in Fever, the game briefly shows Karate Joe watching the Karate Man game from Tengoku on a TV.
  • Cool Shades: MC Adore has these by default, DJ Blue and DJ Yellow get these in Remix 4 of Heaven, Karate Joe and the Cheer Readers get these in Remix 7 of Fever.... The list goes on.
  • Cool Toy: The Muscle Doll in Figure Fighter.
  • Creator Cameo: Just text "STAFF" on the Police Call toy in Fever.
  • Crush Blush: During Love Lab in Heaven, and at the end of Double Date in Fever.
  • Cute Little Fangs: The Chorus Kids and Marshal all sport some.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Everywhere. It's even weirder when you realize that all of the games and characters are set in the same universe.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: In Fever's multiplayer mode, Player 1 is blue and Player 2 is orange. This applies to both the regular games and the endless games.
  • Deconstructed Trope: The reason that Dog Ninja is cutting vegetables and metal is that he took up the art of the ninja without realizing that ninjitsu isn't a viable career option anymore, thereby deconstructing Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Remix 8 in Fever is sepia-toned, since all the games are being played in old photographs. Most versions of Karate Man are monochrome. Ninja from Tengoku is entirely black and white.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Hitting the buttons more than 99 times in Quiz makes your podium explode. Hit it even more and eventually the host's panel and then the Quiz sign will explode.
  • Disapproving Look: In several games, the player character gets this look from other characters if you mess up the rhythm.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Rap Women to Rap Men in the first game, Hole in One 2 to Hole in One in the third game.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bossa Nova's vocals are... certainly something. They're made worse in the English version, somehow.
  • A Dog Named Dog: Most of the characters in the Rhythm Heaven series (particularly in Fever) are known for having generic names, such as Dog, Monkey, Reporter... etc.
  • Dramatic Thunder: During the final stretch of Samurai Slice in Fever each perfect hit gets accompained with these.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The captain of the Blue Birds, whose idea of basic training is riding a tank while the recruits tow it.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The police investigator from Police Caller. one of his many idle conversations will be to wonder aloud who ate his donut, which will turn out to be his partner.
  • Dual Wielding: Dog Ninja in Heaven uses two katanas.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • In PAL regions Heaven is named "Rhythm Paradise", and Fever is "Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise".
    • Additionally, certain names are changed, either for puns or for flavor. For example, Fever's Air Rally characters are Baxter and Forthington, where Beat the Beat retains the original Japanese names of Quick and Slow.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Tengoku has a significant number of differences from its sequels:
    • There are two mini-games (Quiz and Night Walk) where you can fail in the middle of the song, rather than being judged on your overall performance at the end.
    • There are eight sets of six mini-games rather than ten sets of five.
    • The background music isn't tailored to match up with the gameplay, some games only having looping music following the same general beat.
    • Several of Tengoku's mini-games don't have any practice at all, which makes it even more like WarioWare.
    • There are significantly fewer audio cues, meaning the player must use their eyes just as much as their ears in many of the mini-games.
    • The remix featuring all the games is not the final remix, but rather the sixth of eight.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Moai Doo-Wop.
  • Endless Game: Several in each game, unlocked by earning medals on the main games. Most of the time, they're completely unique games, while other times they're looping versions of a main game. Either way, the goal is to go as far as you can without failing. The Rhythm Toys also apply, but unlike the Endless Games they're just for fun and don't keep track of high scores.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Each game has at least one minigame with monkeys involved. This is taken Up to Eleven in Fever, where at least four separate games (Hole-In-One, Monkey Watch, Tambourine, and a remake of Tap Trial from Tengoku) feature monkeys.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Show Time in the first game.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Iai Slash/Samurai Slice in all three games.
  • Everything's Funkier with Disco: Remix 7 and Love Rap 2 in Fever.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Several of the games have titles that tell you exactly what they're going to be, in every version. Examples include Shiro Obake (lit. "White Ghost"), Rap Men, and in the second game, Shoot-'Em-Up and Dog Ninja.
    • This is more apparent when comparing the English and Japanese version of the second game. Built to Scale is simply called "Assembly" in the Japanese version and Rhythm Rally is "Ping Pong".
    • In Fever, the game Bossa Nova is played to a bossa nova beat. The two characters are even called Bossa and Nova.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • This trope comes into play when trying to unlock the bonuses. As the game is played, the player is randomly given a chance to get a perfect on a randomly selected game. If the player fails three times, they must wait for another random chance. Once the player gets gold medals on all 50 games, they have unlimited "perfect" opportunities, however, it still goes to another one after three attempts. Made more annoying by the fact that some games will require you to perform perfectly (at least for the hard parts) just to get a Superb, making the Perfect system feel arbitrary at times.
    • Presumably done to avert a different form of fake longetivity, which would consist of the player playing the same game hundreds of times in a row, attempting to perfect it. This at least makes the player try different games.
    • In the arcade version of Tengoku, random minigames will start to show "Go for a Perfect!" if you're doing perfect so far partway through. This is to balance out the lack of saving your completion status.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: At the end of Remix 10 in Fever. Twice.
  • Fan Boy: The Monkeys in Fan Club.
  • Final Exam Boss: Each game has a Remix that consists of all of the games: Remix 6 in the first game, Remix 10 in the second and third.
  • Foreign Queasine: Skirted with in the first game, which features a stage requiring you to pluck the hairs off of oddly-faced beets. Yes, the same ones that show up later in Crop Stomp. There's even a lampshade hung on how strange and unappetizing the beets look in one of the Guitar Lessons in the second game. In fact, the developers for Tengoku actually wanted to put human faces on the beets, but later decided to use cartoon-ish ones, as they found the human faces on the beets to be "too creepy".
  • Funny Afro: A lot of characters end up having afros, most notably the Clappy Trio in Tengoku. Other examples are the Love Posse in Love Rap 2 and portraits of Bach in Lockstep 2.
  • Funny Animal: As mentioned elsewhere on the page, you not only have Dog Ninja and the strange chipmunk-man in Love Lab, but there's also Tram and Poline in the first game, who turn back and forth into foxes as they perform. At least, if you get the timing right.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Odds are you won't notice them due to focusing on what you're hearing, but quite a few minigames in Fever have things going on in the background, and some of them can be amusing. In Double Date, every time a football is kicked up on-time, you can see it fall in the background and get caught. This continues into Double Date 2, where barnyard animals will catch the football in the air.
    • Not to mention, in both versions of Working Dough, the Game and Watch guy leaves, and he can actually be seen in one of the...balls(?) that the player bounces. He then commandeers a Humongous Mecha in the background.
    • One of the things Space Baseball minigame from Tengoku does to mess up your play (coupled with copious Camera Abuse) is randomly changing the batters's head.
    • Also in Tengoku, near the end of Power Calligraphy, some dancers will appear on the sides of the screen.
    • During the Karate Man portions in Fever's Remix 9, a cat can be seen just behind Karate Joe. It can even be seen eating a fish a few times.
  • Gainax Ending: A few games. For example, See-Saw ends with See and Saw doing an Air Guitar and then exploding without explanation.
  • Game Show: Quiz, which isn't a Pop Quiz despite the name.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: invokedAccording to the reading material for Double Date, the female student has a band that's really popular in Japan.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Listen to the lyrics of "Tonight", the song from Remix 3 in Fever. It's pretty clear it's about a woman about to have sex for the first time.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • In general, the counting for each game is usually in English even in the Japanese version. "Wan! Tsu! Tree! Fow!"
    • The Japanese version of Cheer Readers from Fever ("Let's everybody go!"). The music for Karate Man in Tengoku has this as well, which qualifies for "weirdest lyrics in any Rhythm Heaven game ever".
  • Guide Dang It: Zig Zagged. Fever's Mr. Upbeat gives one of the codes for Police Call after awhile. However, its Japanese counterpart, Manzai Birds, doesn't do this.
  • Hair Decorations: The statue that you control in Moai Doo-Wop is distinguished by the cute bow on it.
  • Hard Mode Filler: After the credits roll in each game, you'll be presented with a new set of minigames, which are simply harder, Palette Swapped versions of previous games.
  • Hard Work Montage: During Blue Birds, which is lampshaded by the reading material.
  • Have a Nice Death: Better get your timing right on Night Walk or else...
    The stars say...
    You fell down a hole.
  • Hot Scientist: Invoked during Love Lab.
  • 100% Completion: Good luck getting a Perfect on every game!
  • Idol Singer: Fan Club is all about one. In fact, it's literally called "Idol" in the Japanese version.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Ninja in Tengoku and Dog Ninja in Heaven. The latter is actually deconstructed in the reading material — he chose the path of ninjitsu without realizing that there's not much work for ninjas these days. Instead, he chops up veggies and other miscellaneous objects to raise money for shurikens.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Some of the harder games love darkening everything or putting things in your way, forcing you to rely only on your rhythm and your ability to detect audio cues. One of the most notorious examples comes in Samurai Slice in Fever, which blocks the entire freaking screen with translucent slides.
    • Heaven is also notorious for blocking out 95% of the screen at one point in Built to Scale. And this is the very first stage, mind you.
    • Inverted in Built to Scale 2. It looks like it'll do it again...but easily catches "prepared" players off guard by sending another thing while the lights are still off. The lights come back on immediately after this one.
  • Keet: Pretty much everyone, but stand-out examples are the Space Dancers in Tengoku, DJ Yellow in Heaven ("Scratch-o, hey!"), and the Tall Tappers in Fever ("Okay!").
  • Legacy Character: The Munchy Monk in Fever is an entirely different person from the one in Heaven, who appears in the former game's Packing Pests instead.
  • Luminescent Blush: Not entirely noticeable, but the captain does this in Blue Birds after a successful "stretch out your neck" flick. So does Karate Joe in Fever after a successful combo. Really, if the character doesn't already have Blush Stickers to begin with, this comes into play.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: The Donk-Donk game in Fever is so weird the English writers don't even try to give it an explanation.
  • Marathon Level: While most levels usually take around one and a half to two minutes, there's a remix in every game that combines every single previous level. In Fever, it clocks in at well over three minutes.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: The samurai from the first game returns in an Endless Game in Heaven to... slice watermelons. Similarly, there's Dog Ninja, who uses his insane awesome ninja skills to... slice vegetables and other assorted objects. To be fair, he's just doing it for the money.
  • Masked Luchador: Gives an interview in the Ringside game.
  • Meaningful Name: Tram and Poline, Baxter and Forthington, See and Saw, Bossa and Nova...
  • Medley: The music for the very last Remix in all three games is fittingly a medley of all of the songs of the minigames. (Well, except for Tengoku; its medley occurs a few Remixes earlier.)
  • Meganekko: One of The Dazzles, the player character in the Bon*Odori game, and all of the Cheer Readers.
  • Mercy Mode: After failing a certain amount of times in a game, you can ask the Barista to pass it for you. This can be done continuously for every game, excluding a select few.
  • Mickey Mousing: Stealth Rat (or "Cheese Heist" in the Fan Translation) gives you no audio cues past the tutorial and just tells you to "follow your gut" in hitting the beats, forcing you to rely on Mickey Mousing as your cues. It's for this reason that when it later appears in remixes, it gives you the same cues as the tutorial.
  • Minigame Credits: Averted. Airborder in Heaven and Night Walk in Fever play themselves the first time their shown. They become actual minigames afterwards.
  • Mission Control: The girl on the Shoot-'Em-Up stages.
  • Moon Rabbit: These appear in Rabbit Jump and Working Dough 2.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The guiding principle of the game - especially the first game. Whoever thought that writing calligraphy and chopping vegetables could be so cool?
    • The samurai's purpose in life in the Fever version of Samurai Slice is battling demons... to retrieve stolen children's toys. The last demon in the portal is always the one carrying it.
    • The mini-game See-Saw involves See and Saw doing acrobatics on a seesaw in order to test it, all while set to rock music. Eventually, the one you control gets launched into the air several times in a row and, if you time the button presses right, he'll fuzz up and land with the explosion on the seesaw. At the end, they'll Air Guitar before exploding from pure awesomeness.
    • Ringside involves a Masked Luchador being interviewed by a reporter in front of the press set to catchy music. The reporter's questions are rendered as "Wubba dubba dubba, 'zat true?" and if done right, he nods to each question. The reporter going "Woah, you go, big guy!" and the crowd going "Pose for the fans!" are both cues to do two different poses, but in the case of the pose for the latter cue, it's either accompanied by dramatic background swirl or a cut to a newspaper article containing a photo of the Masked Luchador performing said pose. This mini game is notorious for starting a meme involving replacing the wrestler with either characters from other works or with various real life people.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Rhythm Heaven is known for being rhythmically strict. There's no "Marvelous", "Great" or "Good" for each beat, you must play it perfectly or you'll just screw it up. It becomes even more suffocating when you have to go for a "Perfect".
    • Tengoku has an arcade port where you play one block of six stages. The catch? Getting less than a Superb costs you one life, and you only get three lives.note  Yes, that means getting an OK instead of Try Again will still cost you one life! Worse, the cabinet buttons are somewhat poorly constructed, resulting in buttons getting stuck frequently—pray it doesn't go off on a platform edge in Night Walk!
  • No Name Given:
    • A bunch of characters. Notably, the boy and the girl from Double Date in Fever. Their labels in the cast are "A boy" for the boy, and "His crush" for the girl. It gets somewhat ridiculous considering the weasels have a collective name that's all capitalized (Weasel Couple), alongside other certain named cast members, being a fork (named Fork) and a set of nuts and a bolt (named Widget).
    • The cast of Donk-Donk also goes unnamed in the North American version.note  Then again, it's quite difficult to put a name on such a cast...
  • Non-Indicative Name: Mr. Upbeat is implied to suffer from depression.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Most of the characters are drastically different in appearance, even in the same art style. Compare, for example, the Munchy Monk to the Wandering Samurai, or the Frogettes to the Space Dancers.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: While you normally fail Night Walk in Tengoku by failing to successfully jump on enough nodes, you can also fail and end the game prematurely by falling into a Bottomless Pit. In Night Walk 2, the same can be achieved by jumping into a whale. Either way, the game gives you a special "Try Again" message.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The games have no plot whatsoever outside the rhythm games themselves to a certain degree. Subverted in The Best Plus.
  • No Sense of Direction: The samurai of Samurai Slice calls himself "The Wandering Samurai" partially because he follows the Samurai's code of Bushido and partially because he considers himself to have a generally poor sense of direction.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Karate Man, the first mini-game of Tengoku, makes a reappearance near the end of both Heaven and Fever.
    • The Built to Scale game from Heaven has a factory setting much like Polyrhythm from the first game. The Built to Scale game in Fever manages to cram two Nostalgia Levels into one by combining the elements from both aforementioned games.
    • Fever also contains four remastered stages from Tengoku as unlockables, and the Mini-Game Credits sequence is a remake of Night Walk, also from Tengoku.
    • The English version of Fever, to make up for removing Manzai Birds, remade Mr. Upbeat, an Endless Game from Tengoku.
    • True to its name, The Best+ holds the record for most Nostalgia Levels in a single video game since there will be seventy levels returning from the previous three games.
  • Off Model:
    • Heaven has a serious problem with proportioning, typically with arm length. For a specific example, in DJ School, watch DJ Yellow's left hand. It goes through at least three different sizes.
    • The baseball player from the Fever game Exhibition Match has a bit of trouble keeping his arms the same thickness. When in his "neutral stance", his arms look fairly normal, but while swinging, they become twigs.
  • Once an Episode: Karate Joe, the Samurai, and Widget Factory have playable appearances in each game.
  • One Last Job: The mouse from Stealth Rats in Tengoku.
  • Palette Swap: In each Remix and subsequent sequel, the characters have different clothes and color palettes just to fit with the theme.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • After helping two lizards sing their mating call, the game comments that they came together in the end. If you get a Superb, it shows these two lizards with kids, so if you put two and two together...
    • In Love Lab, the two scientists are literally "making love".
    • Meanwhile, Fever has Bossa Nova, whose narrators sound very... enthusiastic.
    • One of the phone numbers you can enter on the Phone toy in Heaven is 555-PECK-YES.
  • Perspective Flip: Listen first to the lyrics in Karate Man in Heaven ("Struck By the Rain") and then to the lyrics in Karate Man in Fever ("Lonely Storm"). The two songs tell the same story of a couple breaking up. "Struck By the Rain" tells it from the female perspective while "Lonely Storm" tells it from the male perspective.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Miss Ribbon and Cam from Fever.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Pirate Crew in Fever. They just like to offer boat rides for pigs from island to island.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Rap Men/Women in Tengoku and Love Rap in Fever. Both are Played for Laughs.
  • Player Nudge:
    • There's usually something on the screen that moves to the rhythm as a visual hint. Even more subtly, if you need a hint of what's coming up next, you should look at the girl. The pitcher in Exhibition Match, the cheerleaders in Drummer Duel, and MC Adore in Love Rap are excellent examples of this. It's also usually a girl's voice that counts for you.
    • In Bossa Nova, if you mess up, the voices briefly say their cues louder before going back to their... normal cues.
    • In Samurai Slice in Fever, if you mess up during the part where the story covers the screen, the words and pictures will get knocked out of the way so that you can see yourself.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: Pre-orders for The Best+ on Amazon Japan came with a special microfiber pouch.
  • Product Placement: The lyrical songs in Tengoku have an advertisement for "J.P.Room", who helped develop the game.
  • Punny Name:
    • Tram and Poline from their eponymous game; Ann Glerr, the fisher from Catch of the Day; and Baxter and Forthington from Air Rally are a few examples.
    • Even the minigame titles get in on this; Flock Step, Fork Lifter, Cheer Readers...
  • The Power of Love: A lot of the games deal with love, and so do most of the vocal songs.
  • Recycled In Space:
    • The series loves placing things in space that have no reason to be in space. You get to hit baseballs in space, dance in space, and play soccer in space, among others.
    • One game, Rhythm Rally, does wind up playing this trope completely straight, as Rhythm Rally 2 is set in space whereas the first is not.
    • Remix 7 in Fever is space-themed, as is Remix 9 in Heaven before it.
  • Regional Bonus:
    • The PAL version of Fever has both the Japanese and English soundtracks, as well as the voices.
    • The Japanese version of Fever has an Endless Game titled "Manzai Birds". Because it was too difficult to translate properly, localized versions contain a remake of Mr. Upbeat from Tengoku instead.
  • Retraux:
    • The Endless Game Lady Cupid in Fever.
    • Also in Fever, the practice music for each game is usually a chiptune version of the game's actual song.
    • The Best+ features a sidescrolling "pixel" version of Samurai Slice.
  • The Reveal:
    • Played for laughs in Exhibition Match in Fever. The reason it takes so long for the pitcher's ball to reach the batter from behind the curtain? A monkey catches the ball mid-flight, waits, then tosses it out to the batter.
    • At a certain point in the game Packing Pests, the camera moves, revealing that the employee is Munchy Monk.
    • Tap Troupe has the troupe's faces at the bottom and their feet at the top. The end reveals that they're actually extremely tall, thus the reason for the frames.
    • Getting a perfect on the DS version of Remix 10 reveals that the Bluebird's drill sergeant is actually the leader of the Rhythm League.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Certain minigame titles, like Crop Stomp and Micro-Row.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Many examples. From Fever alone we have the seals in Flipper-Flop, the Weasel Couple in Double Date, and any time monkeys show up.
  • Say It with Hearts: During Love Rap 2, a pink heart appears in one of the speech bubbles.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Doing a "blind" run (e.g. with a blindfold, unplugging the video sub-cable of your AV cable, or simply looking away from the screen) and relying solely on sound cues. It works for most games, though some (such as Night Walk 2 in Tengoku) still force you to use a few visual cues.
    • The opposite, having the screen on but the music off, is also possible in most games. The rhythm is still there, but only visually and internally.
  • Self-Parody: Many of the notes unlocked for getting Perfects, particularly in Fever.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: It's generally agreed that Tengoku was much harder than its sequels, with just a few misses resulting in a "Try Again" in most games.
  • Series Mascot: The Chorus Kids were a game-specific mascot to Heaven, though their popularity eventually resulted in Suspiciously Similar Substitute Marshal becoming the mascot of Fever. Some fans will say that Karate Joe is the mascot of the series (despite not appearing in marketing) as he has appeared in all three games released so far and is also set to appear in The Best+ (though as a remake of the GBA level).
  • Shave And A Haircut: Used as part of Dr. Bacteria and at the end of Clappy Trio 2 from Tengoku.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rhythm Heaven makes many references to other games, such as WarioWare and even Nintendo's GBA-slot based MP3 player, the rarely heard of Play-Yannote .
    • Fever has a Game & Watch character cameo in Working Dough, and one of the baseball players in Exhibition Match looks remarkably like something Shigeru Miyamoto had drawn in the '80s.
      • The 2P Endless Game Kung Fu Ball stars Young Cricket as Player 1.
    • The Fever endless game Lady Cupid, in all of its 8-bit glory, is likely to be a shout-out to Kid Icarus. Her general appearance, including her green hair, could also be a shout-out to Palutena from the same game.
    • MC Adore from Fever's Love Rap bears similarity to both Cynthia and Curly Brace.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: The Game.
  • Something Completely Different: Quiz in Tengoku is the only stage that's not rhythm-based. Instead, it's a straight-up Simon Says Minigame.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: Hoo boy. The Rhythm Heaven franchise is notorious for these. A few examples: Quiz, Shoot-Em-Up, Moai Doo-Wop, Drummer Duel, Love Lab, Working Dough, Rockers....
  • Spiritual Successor: Some minigames in later games tend to share elements or otherwise feel very inspired by minigames from previous games. For example:
    • Micro-Row in Fever has pretty much identical rhythm to Heaven's Munchy Monk
    • Heaven and Fever have several games that follow the general marching mechanics of Marcher from Tengoku, such as Lockstep in Heaven and Flipper-Flop in Fever.
    • Cheer Readers from Fever is very similar in presentation to The Dazzles from Heaven.
  • Starfish Language: First Contact, a minigame in The Best+, features an astronaut communicating with an alien lifeform. The astronaut speaks in his native language, while the alien speaks in a gibberish language consisting of squid-like symbols.
  • Stealth Pun: In Tengoku, Remix 7 is Remixes 1 + 2 + 4.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Averted with the Cheer Readers, in-universe. You'd think obnoxiously cheering in a library would annoy the hell out of people studying there, but their cheering somehow works! The kid in the Double Date game even praises the fact that he got an A on a recent test with the help of their cheering. Of course, this is all assuming that you did it well. It's played straight when you screw up.
    "Would you keep it down?!"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Marshal, Cam, and Miss Ribbon in Fever are similar to the Chorus Kids from Heaven. Marshal in particular looks almost exactly like one.
  • Swivel-Chair Antics: Board Meeting in Fever.
  • Take That: Those pigs in the Board Meeting minigame from Fever? They're called "Executives".
  • Theme Naming: Shows up here and there; for example, Ao-kun, Aka-chan, and Kii-yan of the Toss Boys in Tengoku are all named after their respective colors (Blue, Red, and Yellow), and the characters from Air Rally in Fever are named Baxter and Forthington.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One would think that a couple of hops would be enough to test the safety of any seesaw, yet See and Saw feel the need to repeatedly launch each other several feet into the air to accomplish this task, making one wonder exactly what these seesaws are being used for. The reading material related to that game implies that they might have a motivation besides simple testing.
    • It turns out that See and Saw are the emergency workers for Working Dough whenever Rookie misses a fuel orb, as revealed in the gift you get when you get a perfect on that game:
    Rookie: It's a good thing See and Saw were waiting below and ready to fling Mr. Game & Watch onto the ship!
    Veteran: Yeah, I keep them ready in case emergencies like that come up.
    Rookie: That was you? Wow, you are so on top of things! I hope to be half as good as you someday.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The lizards in Love Lizard — you play as the much larger female.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Munchy Monk's eggs/dumplings.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Becomes more prevalent in later games, due to earlier titles relying on sprite-based animation.
  • Third Is 3D: The Best+, although the it's technically the fourth game in the series; the first was never localized.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub:
    • Manzai Birds in Fever was never put in localized versions simply because the game focuses around dialogue and puns. To compensate this, other versions of the game contain a remake of "Mr. Upbeat" from Tengoku.
    • Unlike Heaven, Fever doesn't have any dubs besides Japanese and English. Instead, the PAL version (Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise) contains the ability to switch between either soundtrack.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The Toss Boys of Tengoku. It's more noticeable in Toss Boys 2, where the girl (Aka-chan) gains a more feminine appearance.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: In Exhibition Match, a cute pitcher girl tries to strike out a homely, mean-looking batter. You play as the latter. You might be thinking you're playing the villain in this case, until it's revealed the pitcher's been cheating with the help of a monkey.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: The logo for Love Lab in the Japanese version.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • The singer in Fan Club has one, I suppose.
    • The captain of the Blue Birds has one too, waaugh!
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Nothing like swatting candy and catching spiders in Packing Pests.
    • Try getting a high score at Mr. Upbeat. Eventually as the music gets faster, Mr. Upbeat's comments of praise eventually become frantic begging for you to stop because his feet hurt.
      "So... tired... I think I can see through time..."
  • Visual Pun: In Fever, a minigame involves Shrimp hopping about to the beat in front of the sea, while a voice counts "1-2-3, A-B-C!". In Japan, shrimp are called "ebi" (pronounced similar to "A B"), making this the Ebi Sea.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: According to the reading material, Baxter and Forthington, who act like a Straight Man and a Big Eater respectively.
  • Volumetric Mouth: The choir boys from Glee Club.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Remix 2 in Fever. The first one was relatively simple to get you used to the "no practice for you" aspect of Remixes. This one hits you with Monkey Watch straight off the mark. And it's short, so there's only a couple of mistakes between "OK" and "Try Again".
  • What the Hell, Player?: Get used to being given annoyed looks by other characters if you keep messing up the beat.
  • Where It All Began: The last original minigame in both Heaven and Fever is Karate Man, the very first minigame in the series. The last Remixes in both Tengoku and Heaven end with Karate Man, as well.
  • Widget Series: The whole series; would you expect anything less from the creators of WarioWare? The weirdness gets plenty of Lampshade Hanging by the English writers, especially in Fever.
    Think you've got what it takes to tap-dance with the monkeys? (Has anyone ever written that sentence before?)
  • A Winner Is You: Winning the game is satisfactory, and getting medals unlocks stuff, but getting 1st place in the Battle in the Bands doesn't even unlock anything.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All over the place. For starters, the female Love Lab professor has green hair, and various other characters have pink hair.

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Alternative Title(s):

Rhythm Tengoku, Rhythm Heaven Fever, Rhythm Paradise