Thanks to its unique motion-sensing controllers, the Nintendo Wii has enjoyed critical and commercial success by offering fresh new game-play experiences.
Players must choose from five available "Boogs" characters with "Boogie."
Electronic Arts' "Boogie" is the latest to take advantage of the Wii's intuitive control scheme. In that department it succeeds -- and throws in a microphone, too -- but it falls short in the game-play arena.
"Boogie" can best be described as two games in one: a dancing game, where you must shake the Wii remote to the beat to rack up points; and a karaoke game, where you sing into a microphone and are judged on pitch and rhythm.
Problem is, neither of them is very challenging -- even for novice or younger players -- and after a short while they grow repetitive even though you can unlock bonus songs, locations and items for your characters.
Speaking of characters, you first choose from one of the five available "Boogs," such as a spiky-haired pink creature named Bubba, a wannabe pop idol, Lea, or the green-skinned Julius. Each character has its own personality, moves and customized clothing, accessories and hairstyles. All of them are attractively drawn and smoothly animated.
In the Dance mode, you must swing the Wii remote in a given direction, in time with the music, so that your Boog can perform cool moves and earn points. Press the A button to switch dance styles or the B button to initiate a bonus challenge by following the on-screen prompts.
When connected, the second Wii controller (called the Nunchuk) can be used to move the Boog around the environment to pick up bonuses or to "strike a pose" for bonus points, including the ability to alter your Boog's facial expression.
The microphone must be used in the Karaoke mode. You can put the other Wii remotes down, plug the microphone (included) into one of the Wii's USB ports, and then sing along with songs by reading the on-screen lyrics. Don't worry -- you don't have to be very good to see encouraging words flashed on the screen. This mode is similar to other karaoke games, including Konami's Karaoke Revolution series and Sony's Singstar titles.
Song selection for both Dance and Karaoke modes includes cover versions of classic dance tracks such as "Celebration" (Kool and the Gang), "ABC" (Jackson 5) and "We Are Family" (Sister Sledge) as well as remakes of newer hits, including "Let's Get This Party Started" (Pink), "I'm a Slave 4 U" (Britney Spears) and "One More Time" (Daft Punk). In total, there are nearly 40 songs in the game, some of which need to be unlocked by playing well or purchased with tokens in the game shop.
Along with the individual dance and singing modes, there's a Story mode, but it's quite lame. The characters don't talk, so all the back story is provided via text dialogue between static characters. Frankly, after reading a few lines of dialogue, many players likely will press the A button to forward onto the game play.
Another mode called Party lets you challenge your friends to see who is the best performer by dancing on the same stage at the same time. Competitions last three, five or seven songs in a row, and whoever ends up with the highest score wins.
Finally, the Video Maker records your voice and your Boog's moves, lets you add special effects and change camera angles, and then save it to show off to friends and family. Too bad you can't export your creation to a memory card so you can upload it to Web sites such as YouTube.
"Boogie" is a good (but not great) music game for the Wii that has the right idea -- cute characters, a good song list, dancing, singing and video editing -- but it doesn't equal the sum of its parts.
The game would be a lot more fun if you had to dance, instead of making your character dance by whipping the controller around, plus the singing component is far too simplistic so you really don't have to try hard to pass these stages. E-mail to a friend
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