A game for nobody.
Review written by
July 1st, 2013
Despite being released over two years ago, the Nintendo 3DS still lacks a decent collection of truly compelling games that fully utilize the platform, this has led a lot of people onto the 3DS eShop in search of downloadable games to satiate their gaming needs. Unfortunately Nintendo's Seal of Approval doesn't always mean quality and that's where we get games like Groove Heaven.
In Groove Heaven you play as Rhymi, a cute demon sent by the Devil to deliver a love letter to a beautiful angel. However, it's not as simple as just flying straight up. Instead you have to dance up a tower connecting Heaven and Hell. The journey is not for the faint of heart as on your way you will encounter bland, monochromatic cardboard cut out style scenery and vicious creatures like frogs, house cats, and completely harmless dogs.
Seriously, a few basic animals are all it takes to stop the Devil's personal messenger demon? Obvious logistic issues aside, the game is not very visually appealing with the most complex looking character being Rhymi with her 3 color look. Every level is constructed to look like a cardboard cut out or be in a pop-up book style but instead of using a vibrant albeit basic color scheme like Paper Mario, Groove Heaven uses completely monochromatic color palettes. A single level is either all a few shades of blue, or all a few shades of yellow. Levels of the same color are almost indistinguishable from each other. Instead of having a cute childish charm, the game's atmosphere just feels too simple to care about.
Bland visuals aside, how does the game actually play? Not very well. In order to get Rhymi up the tower you must control her as she dances up each floor. At any time Rhymi has just two options available to her, either take a step or turn around. That's it. Two buttons on the bottom touch screen, TURN and MOVE. To advance you just tap MOVE in tune with the beat of the music to take steps and TURN in tune with the beat when you need to turn. If that sounds too simple it's because it is. However, to make things more complex there are eventually pieces of floor that disappear in tune with the beat as well as murderous house cats that don't have to follow the beat and can just chase you down. If a cat starts to get close your first instinct is to quickly tap move but doing so out of rhythm just causes you to stumble and be frozen for a beat, allowing the cat to get even closer, the only way to avoid dying is to complete the level perfectly, there is no adaption on the fly, it is just trial and error until you find the right path and are able to tap in rhythm the whole time.
FUN UNIT clearly intended Groove Heaven to be a children's game but I think that is more of an insult to children than anything else. With sparse visuals and unforgiving gameplay Groove Heaven isn't really a good suit for anyone - child or adult.
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