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Video Game / Rhythm 'n' Face

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Rhythm 'n' Face is a Rhythm Game created by Osamu Sato and released on the PlayStation exclusively in Japan in 2000, following the release of LSD: Dream Emulator. The game was created largely in response to the rhythm game craze of the time, particularly Parappa The Rapper which it takes some design cues from.

The game revolves around creating faces using a combination of squares, circles and triangles aligned to a grid - in much the same way Sato creates his art - that must be manipulated to the beat of the stage's music. There are a total of twelve stages (not including bonus stages), each of which has its own distinct genre and accompanying character that dances along with the player's actions.

This was Osamu Sato's final venture into video games, and after Rhythm 'n' Face's release, Sato would become solely a musician and artist from then onwards.

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Rhythm 'n' Face contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The game's website lists the names of the accompanying characters in every stage.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game will automatically duplicate and place groups of shapes if they are largely similar, such as mirroring otherwise-identical shapes to the other side of the grid or automatically filling out a long string of small shapes.
    • If you get a shape into almost the correct location and size, the game will still count it and move on to the next shape. Doing this will reduce your Art score, however.
  • Cosmetic Award: Completing all 12 of the game's stages will unlock Texture mode, which adds a texture on top of every shape.
  • Critical Annoyance: When you only have one life remaining, the stage's music track will change to a "low-health" variation. Downplayed, in that these tracks are generally pretty catchy.
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  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Due to the starting position of shapes being randomized if the player has a combo streak above a certain amount (see Interface Screw below), some players may choose to deliberately break their combo in order to normalize their starting position.
  • Flawless Victory: Completing a stage with a perfect Rhythm score will reward you with a bonus animation.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • When playing the game on an emulator, the game's music can either start or gradually go out-of-sync with the game, resulting in the player being unable to time their inputs correctly. This can be somewhat mitigated if the emulator supports rumble, as the controller's rumble can be used to accurately time inputs.
    • It is impossible to get a perfect Rhythm score on Wondering Bullfighter if the game's difficulty is set to Hard, as it requires sub-frame-perfect timing.
  • Guide Dang It!: Getting a maximum Art score. Simply copying the stage's actions verbatim only nets you a 30/50 score. In order to get the maximum score, you must copy the face shown in the stage's loading screen instead, which uses a completely different set of shapes and doesn't appear if you've completed the stage before.
    • This can be mitigated if you own a physical copy or a scan of the manual, which shows all of the alternative faces.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Fukuwarai mode makes all of the shapes invisible, essentially blindfolding the player.
    • Getting a combo above a certain amount will start placing shapes somewhere *other* than the center of the grid.
  • Musical Gameplay: Each of the player's actions will play a distinct sound effect on every stage.
  • No Fair Cheating: Pausing the game mid-song forces the player to either restart or quit the stage.
  • Sandbox Mode: You can unlock four Bonus Stages that allows you to freely create designs. These modes also give the X button a function: pressing the button changes the color of the current shape.
  • Scoring Points: The player is ranked in two categories at the end of each stage, based on the specific shapes used to create the face and how often they moved around, on a scale of 0 to 50. The only purpose of these scores is to unlock the Bonus Stages.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The back of the game's jewel case includes many faces in the game's art style, including that of Parappa.
    • The website has a page with commands to input in the game's bonus stages in order to create the faces of various characters. These characters include the aeformentioned Parappa, Doraemon, Anpanman and Felix the Cat.
  • Standard Snippet: Some of the stages' "combo-streak" variants have melodies that are this:
    • Happy Peace Smile has the melody to "Ode to Joy".
    • Dabster and Dubstar has the melody to "Oh! Susanna".
    • Durian Moon has the melody to "Yankee Doodle".
  • Story Branching: There are a total of four paths of stages. After the first two stages, the game splits into two paths, which then split into two more paths each.
  • Variable Mix: Each stage has four variations of their music track that plays depending on how the player is doing: the normal track, a combo-streak track, a low-health track, and an "auto" track that plays when the CPU is filling in shapes automatically.


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