What’s Rhythm Tengoku?

Rhythm Tengoku: a bit odd. Assumed the arcade machine spawned the 2006 GBA cart but that’s backwards. Nintendo developed for GBA first, then Sega recoded for arcade in 2007.

“Rhythm Heaven” is the freak offspring of rhythm action and minigames. But it was *way* after PaRappa took rhythm mainstream and even after WarioWare finessed minigaming.

So just another one of those, I suppose. Fair enough: the minigame genre isn’t exactly oversaturated with quality examples.

Play is short stages for 1 or 2P. Each stage is some mundane scene, with button timings and character actions built on the rhythm of the music. The tempo ramps up and the animations get silly. Fun.

The arcade controls are big flat buttons, suitable for smashing your hands red to the beat — or clicking calmly, I suppose, if that’s your style.

Rhythm Tengoku didn’t get beyond Japan – probably because it’s super Japanese. If you know Japan then you’ll recognise the Japaneseness of its gardening, bon-odori, baseball, karate, ghosts, moon rabbits, calligraphy, fireworks, etc.

Polished, joyful, play it if you can.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people