Boom boom pow – it’s time to dance with The Black Eyed Peas.
The temptation to use the titles of Black Eyed Peas songs in my review of The Black Eyed Peas Experience from Ubisoft was certainly there and it is not something that I find myself above. Their songs have some brilliant names that can be squeezed into every day conversation with ease. The same can be said about the songs, they lend themselves to a variety of situations and can be enjoyed by a variety of different musical tastes. It is for this reason that The Black Eyed Peas Experience will appeal to more than just the ardent fans of the band.
Because in many ways, concentrating on one singer or band for a music game, either singing or dancing, limits the potential audience. If you are not a fan of said band, then you will not be interested in the game. But when you look at such games that have come before, concentrating on the likes of Greenday, Robbie Williams, The Beatles and Michael Jackson, you can see that the bands/singers in question have quite the large back catalogue and a universal appeal.
The Black Eyed Peas may not have been around for very long, in the grand scheme of things, and their back catalogue may be somewhat small compared to the others mentioned, but there is something about their particular brand of alternative hip-hop that gets stuck in the head and is enjoyable to hear. I am not a fan personally, but I can’t honestly say that I dislike any of their tunes.
But still, the core subject matter is what will initially attract or repel the gamers. Looking beyond the catalogue of some 30 odd BEP songs, the game is backed up with a solid dance game mechanic, which can easily be picked up and enjoyed by anyone who has played a dance game before. And let’s face it, they are everywhere at the moment.
Available on both the Wii and Xbox360, we had the chance to shake our bodies in full-body motion control using Kinect for Xbox360. The Kinect unit has been around for a while now, but it is still handy to note that this is not one of the few Kinect games that can be played with minimal space. The full recommended area, and more if going multiplayer, is required. Adding an extra dimension to the game, players with microphones can even jump in the action and start singing.
The modes are run of the mill for this type of game. Just getting up and dancing is an option, with additional players able to jump in or out as they wish. But the real appeal is with the campaign mode which gives players the chance to customize an avatar and then work through different locations, gaining followers and unlocking gear to further customise your avatar with.
The core mechanics are also similar to many other games, which is unsurprising really as games such as Dance Central and Just Dance more or less have the mechanic perfected. The player gets to see the upcoming move on the screen and then has to replicate it in time with the music. It is all fairly straight forward stuff and the player will find themselves rated on how well they perform each move. The Kinect unit does a great job of detecting the moves, but I did find that some of the subtler actions were missed by the sensor. It’s not game breaking, but it does hamper those high score runs.
The reality is that the game will sell like hot cakes to fans of the band. But those dance gamers out there who are not especially keen on The Black Eyed Peas should not dismiss this game out of hand. The dance mechanics work really well and are familiar enough to simply jump in and enjoy. Although the game may seem like fan service, it is solid enough to have a wider appeal. Get the party started!