Boogie brings down the house on Wii

Posted by Mark Raby

Game Review - The unique, addictive, and varied gameplay offered in Boogie easily makes it one of the most enjoyable Wii games to date.


See the songs and characters in the Wii's "Boogie"...


Boogie is an ambitious rhythm game, the first in the genre to make its way to the Wii.  With Dance Dance Revolution, the EyeToy, and instrument games like Guitar Hero, most basic fundamental rhythm controls have already been used, but Boogie uses the Wii Remote to create a completely new experience.

The set-up is fairly simple.  Just choose a song from the couple dozen available and begin to dance.  The Wii Remote's built-in microphone has a metronome sound to keep the beat of the song, and on each beat you must flick the remote in one of four directions (left, right, up, down).  Your on-screen character will get his or her groove on for each flick and perform a dance move, provided it was correctly timed.

Meanwhile, objects will appear on the dance floor.  By using the joystick on the nunchuck attachment, you can collect these items, most of which are power-ups to give you additional points.  Additionally, by hitting the Z button, you can have some fun with your character a little bit by taking a close-up snapshot that messes with his face.

While all that's going on, your "boogie" meter will begin to fill up.  When you've stockpiled a lot of "boogie-ness", you can press the B button to enter a new mode where you must flick the remote in a sequence of specific directions, in time with the beat of the song, without making a mistake.  If you do this, your character will pull off a funky dance move and your score will skyrocket.

It's certainly one of the most complex rhythm game controls, and it actually works really well.  The element of "easy to play but very difficult to master" is perfected here.  There's so much going on that it doesn't get boring, which has always been a problem for me with DDR.

That's only half of the game.  The other half is karaoke.  It's basically a rip-off of Karaoke Revolution, where you have to match your pitch with specified notes shown on the screen, while song lyrics are shown below.  This mode uses a USB microphone, which comes packaged with the game, and as such it's the first Wii game to make use of a USB peripheral.  To be honest, I kind of forgot that the Wii even had USB ports.

Granted, Karaoke Revolution, the series that made video game singing popular, has a much better hold on this concept.  In Boogie, the on-screen pitch identifier sometimes lags, creating confusion in what are usually fast-moving songs.  However, even though the visualization may have problems, as long as I sang on key it still usually awarded me the correct level of points.

The best part of the karaoke mode is the ability to save your performances and create a customized music video.  The game will save the entire song and then give you the option of taking it to a video editing menu.  From here, you can add a number of video effects, including inverted colors, 3D, and a mosaic-type distortion.  

The performance is also saved in four different camera angles, which can be changed throughout the song.  It's all done with simple, easy, user-friendly tools.  Song playback is a feature I've always wanted with Karaoke Revolution, and Boogie takes it a couple steps deeper with the fairly fleshed out video editing feature.  I created a video of my rendition of "Le Freak" by Chic, and although that better describes my singing voice, I found it really cool to watch my performance being played back with video effects and different camera angles that I edited by myself in the span of less than 10 minutes.

The game can be played in a solo mode as well as the more worthwhile multiplayer mode, where players can perform in a head-to-head dance-off.  With two people shaking around the Wii Remote, paying attention to all the controls, all the while trying to avoid point-draining moves from their opponent, the game just begs to be played in any casual multiplayer setting.

In total, there are 39 songs, about half of which must be unlocked by purchasing them with points earned in the game and by going through the game's uninspiring story mode.  It's unfortunate that the Wii's limited capacity and undeveloped online functionality make it impossible for EA to offer additional song downloads for Boogie in the future, which is going to be key for rhythm games in the next generation.  The game is still a solid Wii title, though.

The Wii has been somewhat panned for its focus on really basic games, and although there's not a lot of depth in Boogie, it's one of the most enjoyable titles on the platform.  It functions so nicely as a party game and adds more functionality than other games in the same genre.  All in all, it's a great title and probably the best summer release for the Wii so far.