Wii Fit holds off Wolverine for a second week to remain top of the UK all-formats chart.
It's easy to forget in these days of plastic Les Pauls, colour-coded drum kits, flashing dance mats and wireless microphones, but the very first music game had little to do with pretending to be a rock star. Instead, you tapped buttons in time with some Sesame Street hip-hop, in order to make an awesome, beanie-wearing dog rap his paper-thin heart out. And, if you performed well enough, you'd get the girl who, in this case, happened to be a sunflower. It was imaginative, leftfield, cute, weird and beautiful: everything that videogames should aspire to be. And yet, PaRappa the Rapper's wildly creative approach to interactive music has almost no legacy in contemporary videogames.
Rhythm Paradise is a game that appropriates the spirit of PaRappa, if not his format or musical style. Here you'll find yourself shaking the guiro-shaped tail of a female lizard in time with the roll of a rumba in order to attract a mate. You'll assume the role of a Russian military stork, triumphantly flicking your beak into the air on the command of your feathery captain. You'll croon a stream of a capella notes in a young male voice trio, echo the lines of a J-Pop star as a besotted fanboy monkey, and stomp the ground as a hook-backed farmer harvesting turnips.
What you won't be doing is pretending you're Kurt Cobain, Slash or Lars Ulrich. At least, you can pretend you're Kurt Cobain, Slash or Lars Ulrich, but only in the unlikely scenario that they've secured a job in a factory assembling kickass robots in time to the clunk of machinery, or as fighter pilots shooting down spaceships with hot lasers to a chiptune drumbeat.
Nintendo has rolled out a bunch of release dates for this summer's first-party software titles.
Nintendo has revealed release dates for lots of major upcoming first-party Wii and DS games.
Afrika almost became king of the Japanese chart-jungle this week, but was beaten to the throne by quirky DS music game Rhythm Tengoku Gold (Rhythm Heaven here).
Possibly the most important thing to tell you about Rhythm Tengoku Gold is that I adore it despite not being brilliant at it. That's a wonderful achievement for any game. Best of all, its being on the DS, and a resolutely one-player, on your own, hidden from embarrassment sort of thing, you don't have to be not-brilliant at it in front of anyone else. You can keep Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and whatever else, because I've got my onion flipping, ghost rock band playing, robot filling, iguana wooing, Easter Island burping, pencil sketch singing festival of gibberish, and I'm delighted with it.
You may remember the original Rhythm Tengoku on the GBA, although don't feel bad if you don't. It was pretty obscure, available only by import from Japan, and defiantly in Japanese. But it was a rare joy. It reached its sliver of Western notoriety thanks to coming from the same team within Nintendo responsible for Wario Ware. And that's a reason to take notice. Like its predecessor, the DS sequel is a collection of mini-games all based around maintaining rhythm in the most absurd circumstances. While the GBA required nothing more than pressing A, the DS version combines tapping on the screen, holding the stylus down, or sweeping the stylus in a quick upward glide. So, still reasonably simple.
Each game consists of two stages: the tutorial, and the challenge. The tutorial teaches you exactly what you're meant to be doing in this game, but of course this is in Japanese, so here we have a period of trial-and-error, attempting to fathom what's needed. There's an English version coming, and part of me wonders if some of the fun will be missing when it's written there for me straight away. And then another, more intelligent part of me slaps the first part and points out how frustrating it is, as you yell bemused at the screen, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME!"