While games such as Sony's Singstar and Konami's Dance Dance Revolution have taken other consoles by storm, Nintendo loyalists, on home consoles at least, have missed out on the rhythm genre over the past few years. There was a rather odd appearance in the form of Konami's DDR: Mario Mix on the GameCube but, that decidedly average venture aside, our dancing feet are severely out of practice and our dulcet tones haven't even had a warm up. Until now, that is.
With the Wii attracting such wide-ranging audiences, and more specifically a vast 'lightweight' crowd, it makes sense that singing and dancing should be at the top of most publishers' Wii development schedules. And so we have EA taking to the stage with its Wii-exclusive dance-and-sing 'em up, Boogie.
Over the past few months, anticipation
for the game has built and built, and last month's brief hands-on set the stage for something really rather special. But can this rather ambitious little entertainer provide anything more than a bit of throwaway fun? Well, read on...
Boogie sets out its stall from the word go. It wants to give you the ultimate entertainment package and, initially at least, it does just that. In the first five minutes you'll be taken through the various methods in which the Wii Remote and Nunchuk let you dance and move around a stage. You'll also learn that the game's packaged USB microphone lets you sing along to a whole bunch of
classic '70s, '80s, '90s and modern tracks. After that, you can even edit your performance and create your own music video. That, in a nutshell, is Boogie. But does it actually work?
Despite the rather intricate controls that various promo videos may have implied, dancing in Boogie is actually a decidedly simple affair. While the song is playing you'll be given a beat aid in the form of an on-screen graphic that rises and falls to the beat. To help you even further, the Wii Remote speaker plays a metronome click.
Born To Boogie
All you need to do is wave the remote left, right, up or down in time to the beat. Every different direction results in a different move, different sequences of moves will string together different moves and if you keep up with the beat for more than a few bars you'll become 'On Fire' and pull off a different set of moves. You can also tap the A button to change your dancing style and mix things up a bit. You soon learn that mixing it up while keeping to the beat will result in massive scores, which is ultimately the aim of the game.
All the while you can use the Nunchuk's analogue stick (or D-pad if you prefer) to move your character around on the stage. The reasons for moving around are three-fold. Firstly, it'll help you to pick up the various upgrades that drop from the sky (more on those in a bit). Secondly, you can pull off slightly different moves if you're at the edge of the stage and thirdly, moving around will make your music video much more interesting.
Ripping It Up!
With the standard dancing explained we really should tell you about the 'super moves'. Every time you pull off a move to the beat your Boogie gauge will fill up a little. Holding the B button will enable you to pull off your character's signature move. A sequence of directions (left, right, up, down, for example) will pop up on screen and you have to gesture with the remote to pull off that particular move. All the while your Boogie gauge will be slowly emptying. What the game fails to tell you is that every successive gesture needs to be done to the beat and a certain number of bars apart. If you do it too quickly it simply won't work. In our opinion it's a flaw but you'll pull it off every time once you learn what you need to do. Prepare for a string of obscenities until that eureka moment though.