When Boogie came out on the Nintendo Wii earlier this year it was a case of style over substance. That same style is present in the Nintendo DS version of the same game, and while the substance is a different type, it's not much deeper than its console counterpart.
Boogie takes the increasingly popular rhythm game genre and gives it a more freestyle twist. In addition to tapping on the touch screen, Boogie has players swipe their stylus in one of six different directions. The characters make different motions for every action from the player, and the whole presentation feels a lot closer to dancing than hitting the D-pad or tapping circles would.
In fact, the whole game does a good job of capturing the dancing theme. The 20 in-game songs are all covers of major dance club songs, ranging from disco, to mainstream hip hop.
But aside from the overall style and flair of the game, Boogie doesn't have a lot to offer. The game's focus on freestyle dancing is interesting, but it doesn't translate well. Players can swipe or tap in any direction they like, and all they have to do is stay on the beat. Considering that most of the songs have bass tracks or even literal clapping to the beat, it isn't hard. The game encourages the player to try different combinations of swipes since the character will perform different moves, but really every song can be beaten, and awards can be won, just by swiping left and right over and over.
There are two other types of game modes that follow more traditional styles of rhythm games. But still, it's all just about the beat. Even on the hardest difficulty the game is just about swiping in time to the music. There's no challenge offered by the game at all, unless the player has no rhythm whatsoever.
To mix up the gameplay, the developers threw in minigames that occur mid-song. It's not a new thing, Elite Beat Agents did something similar. The difference is that in Boogie, these minigames are a lot more jarring. While some of them are dancing related, like tapping light up squares on a disco dance floor, others are out of place. If we were in the middle of showing off our moves and someone said, "Hey, try out this hula hoop!" it would completely throw off our groove. Not to mention look ridiculous in the middle of our interpetive dance to Fergalicious.
The minigames pull the player out of the song, and just aren't that fun. Maybe if they were based around the beat of the song like the actual dancing. They also serve as the only real measure of difficulty, becoming annoying to complete on the hardest mode. Luckily they don't hurt the player much if they aren't done well, but that just adds to their uselessness.
Pretty much everything that isn't the very basic mechanic of swiping on the touch screen does little to add to the experience. The character customization is pretty decent and allows for a good amount of options, but the character dances on the bottom screen, under the player's hand and stylus. Plus the multiplayer mode doesn't even let a friend see the customized character they're dancing against. It's just a score comparison at the end of the song.
The epitome of the extras that have no need is "3D mode." By utilizing a pair of red-and-blue lens 3D glasses included with the game players can dance in a semi-3D game mode. It's really only some minor background elements and a few little flair moments within the song. Plus the game's color gets desaturated, so players get to watch a gray dancer. It's a neat little gimmick, and it's a good thing it's optional since it gave us a headache.
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