Electronic Arts just released its new Wii game Boogie this August. It came out at just about the same time as Mario Strykers Charged so no one gave it a lot of attention, except for me!
I went to the game store to pick up a new Wii game that weekend and there were several games for me to pick from but only one came in an over-sized Wii box with an over-sized price. That game is Boogie.
Why does it come in an over-sized box? The only other title to ship in the large box is Wii Play and that one had an extra Wii-Remote in the box. So, what did this one have? It comes with a USB microphone that plugs into the back of the Wii and has a very long cord. I did not unroll it all the way and check the length but it is quite long.
Shake it. Sing it. Create it.
Those are some mighty big words up there and they are plastered onto the back of the box. The game plays in either single or double player mode. There is a sort of third "party" mode that I will cover later.
In the Boogie game you play as one of five interesting characters:
- Julius is a mean green dancing machine. He has recently decided to leave the limelight of fame and popularity to live a life of seclusion with his ancestors. By ancestors we mean plants, I did say he was green, right? Julius can not stay out of the spotlight for long though.
- Bubba is a... um... I'm not sure what he is but he likes to eat seafood and dance. We first find him working at a gas station in the middle of nowhere but he quickly becomes a central figure in the story.
- Lea is your basic "home girl" character. She is scouted out by one of the Party Freaks and invited to be a part of the big show at the Megalactic Grooveplex.
- Jet is the opposite of Lea only in that he is male. He is the stereotypical boy-band type guy. He talks about himself in the third person and acts as if he is all that.
- Kato is a cat-like creature who is also a martial artist. Kato, or Master Kato as Bubba refers to him, is also in the process of teaching Bubba. Well, teaching might be a stretch but you get the idea.
- Party Freaks - These critters are all over the place and come in different colors. In game play they give you items and in the story mode they are the bad guys.
- Story Mode - Pick one of the five characters and play though a series of stages to unlock items, locations and songs. Once all of the story modes have been completed the final scene will be shown and the final dance floor will be unlocked. There is not much challenge here at all.
- Karaoke Mode - This is where the microphone comes in. You have to match pitch and a few other things while singing into the mic. Your "friends" are free to use the Wii-Remote and nunchuk to make your character dance around while you sing.
- Dance Mode - This is where most of your game play will take place and I will cover it below.
- Party Mode - Two player dance mode.
- Video Maker - This is similar to a single player dance mode but it records your moves and you have an unlimited amount of Boogie Power. After you perform you can then edit your video by adding in special effects and changing camera angles.
- Shop - This is where you go to spend your tokens to buy new outfits, songs and dance floors.
- Practice - A very simple and easy to follow tutorial to teach you how to play the game.
The story mode is over almost as soon as you begin. The point requirements to clear each stage are so low that you may score high enough in the first round to beat all of the remaining rounds combined!
Each song gets progressively harder as you move forward. The interesting thing here is that all of the character stories intertwine. As you play through your second and third character you will begin to see the plot develop from the other characters points of view for events you have already passed.
It does not matter what order you do the characters in, the final scene will not be revealed until all of the stories have been completed.
If anything, the story mode is a good way to introduce people to the game as the songs are not too difficult.
I only tried this mode briefly as I am not much of a singer. The book says you need to hit the right note at the right time and pay attention to lyrics but I was able to blow through the few songs I did by mumbling at the right time. I didn't get awesome scores but I did not fail either.
I do know a few kids that would greatly enjoy this part of the game but they have not been over the house lately.
This is where the whole game is. You can play with just the Wii-Remote but adding the nunchuk makes moving your Boogie a lot easier.
The dance floor is a three by three grid with nine possible places to dance on. This is important because the Party Freaks will show up during the song holding items. If you grab these items they can do good things for you
- Point Multiplier - Doubles your points earned for ten seconds.
- Boogie Boost - Completely fills your Boogie Meter.
- Tokens - Grab 5, 10 or 25 tokens which can be spent in the Shop.
When you play in Party Mode a few more items appear.
- Party Mode-only Items
- Reversomatic - Inverts your opponent's controls for a short time.
- Freeze Burn - Freezes your opponent for a short time.
Dancing is like DDR for your wrist. I say that because you dance by flicking the Wii-Remote up, down, left and right to the beat of the music. The Wii-Remote speaker makes a ticking sound in time with the beat to help those of us who have no natural rhythm.
You also use the "A" button to change styles of dancing. You need to change styles while you dance to improve your score. No one wants to see you doing the same four dance moves all the time!
As you dance (if you keep to the beat) you will accumulate power in your Boogie Meter. The power can be used to either Strike a Pose or pull off a Combo.
If you have the microphone plugged in you will have one or two short karaoke sessions that require you to sing. If you do not use the microphone you use the "Z" button on the nunchuk. If you do the singing bit well enough you will be rewarded with points and Boogie Points!
A short warning will appear on the screen before and after this mode. This gives you enough time to get ready with the mic.
Songs are rated between one and five stars and the rating is supposed to indicate difficulty but I find the single star songs are the hardest because they are so slow! Sometimes you need a good mid-range tempo to really get your groove on.
Strike a Pose
One of the two things you can burn Boogie Points on during the dance session is the act of striking a pose. You enter this mode by holding the "Z" button. You then tilt the nunchuk around to hit certain targets on the screen. You can use the control stick to move your characters eyes and facial expressions. Pressing the "C" button changes this to lip control.
I do not care for this mode that much as I can score far more points making combos than I can striking poses. If you are going to try this, stick with the slow songs.
While holding down the "B" button you will enter combo mode. This mode also drains your Boogie Points but it also regenerates them if you pull off a combo!
When you hold down the "B" button a series of arrows will show up on the screen. If you can hit those arrows to the beat of the music you will pull off a combo. If you hold the "B" down the whole way through each successive combo will be worth more points.
There is a limited number of combos for each character and once you do the hardest one they cycle back through in the same order. The start out with only four arrows and progress as high as six arrows. The difficulty level you play at will also be a limiting factor; you can only pull off 4 move combos in easy mode.
So, what do I think of this game? For starters it is not a $59.99 game. Even with the added USB microphone it should not have been more than the price of Wii Play. Do the math and you will likely agree.
Is the game fun? Yes, it is a lot of fun to stand up and dance to the beat of the songs. You could sit on the couch and play but, if you are going to look like a goofball playing this game you might as well go all out.
How about the songs? They packed a bunch of classic dance tunes onto this game and you might think that is what drove the price up but... They are all covers! They couldn't land any original artists doing their songs? I understand about Guitar Hero being a new game and all that but we are talking about EA here, you know, the guys who have been putting out a new Madden football game every year since about forever? The only other problem I have is that some of the songs are ones that I prefer not to have played in my house.
How does your wrist feel? Yes, your wrist will get tired after a while of playing this one so be sure to take a break now and then.
Should I buy it? Sadly I would have to say that most people will not get the full enjoyment out of this game to warrant the high price tag. It is good as a party game and will likely appeal to the "Wii Sports" crowd but not too "real" gamers. It is also a good "kid" game.