Boogie from Electronic Arts is the perfect example of a game concept that reads well on paper but whose ideas and ambitions simply don't translate to the finished product. The end result is a game filled with atmospheric backdrops and stylized characters, brought together with a slick interface and an energetic, if textbook selection of pop songs, but also one without a coherent gameplay mechanic. Half the time, as you attempt to mimic dances in Boogie, you will find the Wii remote implementation is shoddy and unsatisfying; you're not sure if the basic gestures you're making are really matching up to the on-screen action or if you could swing the Wii remote around frantically and still earn points. There's also a karaoke component - the game ships with a USB-powered microphone - so that you can take the lead in your favorite songs, but like its rhythm-based counterpart, it seems overly forgiving and lacking.''
''It's all very unfortunate because Boogie was a game we were really pulling for ever since EA unveiled the project. Not only did it seem well-suited for Nintendo's aggressive stab at the casual market, but it was a third party undertaking that went the extra mile to deliver users a clean, vibrant visual package that took advantage of Wii's extra horsepower. All the graphical bells and whistles remain in the finished game, of course. Specifically, we're referring to the wide variety of dancing stages, all surreal and out of this world (some, like the space station, literally), the fluidly animated (and untraditional) characters, the lighting and particle effects, and the fact that Boogie runs in both 16:9 widescreen and progressive-scan. The title even boasts a great menu interface that is typical of most EA games, but it also comes complete with a unique and gameplay-extending video editor, a feature that enables you to edit effects and text layers, change camera angles and more into your dance sequences in post. Unfortunately, Boogie doesn't take advantage of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, so it is impossible to send these videos to friends. There's even a story mode, although the cut-scenes for it are uncharacteristically poor.''
''''Then there's the song list, which tops 35 tracks from yesterday and today's most popular hits. ABC from The Jackson Five, Don't Cha from the Pussycat Dolls, Girls Just Want to Have Fun from Cyndi Lauper, I'm a Slave 4 U by Britney Spears, and Kung Fu Fighting (featured in just about every ad for Boogie) by Carl Douglas are just a few examples of the songs in place. The selection by no means rivals some of the bigger DDR-style efforts, but it's no slouch, either.''
''All the glitz and glamour, though, is meaningless if the main gameplay mechanic isn't fun, and unfortunately there's no getting around Boogie's biggest shortcoming, which is that it just doesn't play very well. Perhaps it's because developer EA Montreal has strayed so dramatically from the tried-and-true videogame rhythm formula, as established by DDR games, but we don't think it's merely that. Rather, it's the fact that - at the very basic level -- all you really do to progress is move the Wii remote left, right, up and down. You can change your character's dancing styles (there are three total) on the fly by tapping the A button, but ultimately it just comes back to shaking up, down, left or right in rhythm to an on-screen meter, located inconveniently off to the right side (you'll find yourself ignoring all the pretty visuals and concentrating on the bar). If you manage to stay in tune, you can fill your boost bar to the top and trigger what is the most satisfying portion of the dancing process, a traditional DDR-style-like mechanic in which you must move the Wii remote to on-screen arrow cues before your character will perform a special dance feat. ''
''''The bigger problem with the dancing mechanic is that you'll want to shake the Wii remote to the music, but sometimes the beats don't quite match up with the on-screen bar - hence, if you actually try to go to the aural cues you could be off-beat, which makes no sense whatsoever. A metronome in the Wii remote is also mismatched with the beat. When listening to Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity, the Wii remote will thump out a beat that is off key with the on-screen meter. ''
''There's a karaoke component to be found if you'd rather belt out numbers than dance to them. It seems to work well enough, although singers will oftentimes be rewarded with the same points simply for maintaining a tone, even if the words don't match up. We sung completely different lyrics half the time and we still nabbed high marks. Disappointingly, while the first player can use the Wii remote to control the dancing character in karaoke mode, he receives no points for doing so, and there doesn't appear to be any mode that successfully combines karaoke and dancing. You'll have to choose one or the other.
©2007, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved