- EA Montreal
- Electronic Arts
Games like Guitar Hero satisfy hardcore and casual gamers alike by following the "easy to learn, difficult to master" design philosophy of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. The all-singing, all-dancing Wii game Boogie goes even further, ditching a complex endgame in favor of lightweight pick-up-and-play fun. Players grab a microphone (included) or the Wii-mote and perform club hits like "It's Raining Men" and "Le Freak." Crooners sing into the mic, attempting to hit the right notes, and "dance" by waving the remote to the beat. There's no call for the demanding physicality of Dance Dance Revolution or the hand-eye coordination needed to pull off those intricate Guitar Hero solos.
The game's song list, heavy in disco, funk, and contemporary dance-pop, offers a clue into the reasoning behind its simplicity. Boogie is a straight-up party game, meant to only rarely end in failure. The game's goofy characters (one an overweight blob that looks like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants) and silly settings already telegraph that vibe. But the music-video editor really underlines Boogie's "sandbox-fun rather than chessboard complexity" intentions. Saved audio of a player-sung performance can be cut together with improvised dance moves, then gussied up with flashy video effects and camera angles. The creatively inclined could milk hours of fun from this feature alone, but that would mean wading through the game's phoned-in storyline to unlock all the songs.
Beyond the game: Critics of the game's simplicity have posted YouTube videos of toddlers screaming their way to gold medals in Boogie's karaoke levels. Judging could have been a tad harsher.
Worth playing for: Daft Punk's "One More Time" is on the soundtrack. At least one song by the French electronic duo really should be a mandatory inclusion in every music game.
Frustration sets in when: The web-crippled Wii doesn't let you upload videos you've cut or karaoke vocals you've recorded. Scant console memory makes saving more than a handful of songs impossible.
Final judgment: Boogie is more puppet show than rhythm action game. There's fun in there for players with the patience and creativity to find it.