I got a copy of Rhythm Heaven at GDC, and I got around to spending some time with it recently. It’s fun, and does a great job of teaching rhythm in an innovative and fun way. There are a bunch of minigames you have to play, all of which involve tapping and flicking along with a changing beat. The minigames themselves have a lot of style and little touches that make them enjoyable – rather than trying to get your guy to sing in a choir, you have to get him to shut up (making noise is the easy part). You get to head up a fan club full of monkeys clapping along to a famous singer. And… you get to play ping pong.
And that’s where I stopped playing. The game was always difficult, but when you get to the ping pong level the game just starts sucking. The two big problems as I see it is the lack of useful feedback on how well you’re doing and the (very Japanese) habit of kicking you when you’re down and telling you that you suck when you fail. The feedback problem is the worst though, as you never know how well you have to do to beat a level, and if you fail early on in you have to wait until the end of the level to find out. I once made it through ping pong and only missed 5 or 6 volleys, but even that was enough to lose! UNACCEPTABLE.
So, give Rhythm Heaven a shot if you want a fun new game and are a glutton for punishment.