With the massive success of the Singstar franchise on the PS2, itâ€™s hardly surprising that a similar-themed game has arrived on a different platform. Now Nintendo Wii owners can pick up a mic and belt their hearts out to disco anthems in the recently released Boogie by EA Games. However, the Wii takes this karaoke gameplay to a whole new level thanks to the motion sensitive controllers. Now you can even dance up a storm to your favourite tracks, provided you enjoy trashy club singles and 70â€™s cheese.
Like most games on the Wii, this one isnâ€™t much fun on your own. So I invited 1976 Disco Champion Funky McDee and Most Eligible Bachelor of 1983 (Kentucky), K.B Dallas (see pics) round to my place for a jive session. After doing a quick system update and a series of lunging stretches, we started the game by customising our own avatar from a series of templates. There are around six different characters to start with and each with various costumes, haircuts and accessories to fiddle with as well. The characters range from a slutty rake-like hoe through to a big play-doh guy who remsembles an over-weight alien-esque John Travolta. So just like John Travolta actually. Once you have fried your brain trying to decide which character you hate the least, the game starts you off in a tutorial mode.
Firstly you learn the basics of dancing, which involve both a Wii-mote and the nun-chuck attachment. The Wii-mote is your basic â€śrhythm-stickâ€ť and you follow the beat with the flick of a wrist. The speaker in the Wii-mote comes in handy here as it can act as a metronome to help you get a feel for the timing. The nun-chuck controller is your movement on the stage and occasionally is used to activate a special move.
There are two ways to play Boogie. The first is to sit on the couch pumping your wrist so that anyone looking into your house will think you are entertaining yourself in manly ways. The other is to jump around frantically with arms flailing so that anyone who looks in thinks youâ€™re having a seizure. Obviously the most enjoyable is the second option and minus some bruised foreheads and broken wine glasses, it turned out to be a lot of fun.
Your character will respond to your timing and combos by pulling off their own spectacular moves on screen. Maintaining a good tempo increases your â€śBoogie meterâ€ť and once full, you can trigger a sequence of moves that cause all sorts of mayhem on the dance-floor. If you manage to pull them off, your character might do a somersault through the air and land doing the splits. Moving around the stage is handy for when special bonuses appear randomly which can give you a handy advantage over your opponent (such as freezing them for five seconds so they canâ€™t score any points).
The dancing is where Boogie excels. The singing gameplay however has some serious flaws. The game comes with a white USB-powered microphone and the good news for tone-deaf gamers is it doesnâ€™t seem to matter if you can sing or not. It is true that Singstar wasnâ€™t perfect and that simply humming a track gave you a good score. However, Boogie takes this forgiveness to a whole new level. Unless you know a song off by heart, you are better off just belching the notes. The game seems to only really penalise you on timing and trying to read off the screen quickly enough to sing the words was the main challenge.
We even decided to test it by singing completely incoherent words and we still got a great score. Although when singing Fergieâ€™s super-crap hit Fergalicious I think we actually improved the lyrics by adding a verse on beef jerky in there, which brings me to another sore point in Boogie. Although the track listing (see below) looked promising, it turns out that many of the tracks have been re-recorded by hammy singers to avoid any expensive licensing fees by the record labels. The recordings even go so far as to change the lyrics so that they are not so offensive to the little ones. For example Milkshake by Kelis has the words â€śyeah rightâ€ť instead of â€śdamn rightâ€ť sung by what could be an elderly grandmother. Add to this one guy barking like a dog into his mic and we soon had the police knocking on the door.
Another thing that is really starting to brass my balls is the fact that a lot of Wii games have missing features for multiplayer modes. Why is it necessary to force you to play single-player first just to unlock tracks that you just paid $119.95 for? Unfortunately Boogie does this exact same thing and many tracks will be locked (even in Party Mode), meaning you have to earn them one by one. Points gained from impressive dancing and singing are used to purchase new tracks and costume accessories for your dancing freak.
With the colourful graphics, friendly butchered lyrics and lovable characters itâ€™s obvious that this game is aimed at a younger market. What is strange though is the way the game includes tracks from the 60â€™s and 70â€™s that kiddies of today would have never heard of. Then again, as a multiplayer game with a bunch of inebriated friends, Boogie can be a lot of laughs as well. I would say that it is still probably a rental title unless you own a pair of flares and have a disco ball permanently set up in your lounge. Parents may pick this up too to keep their kids entertained, and once they have gone to bed they can crank up the Culture Club for old times sake. But in the end this game is to be avoided by people with a sense of dignity and who wear Metallica t-shirts.
Watch Funky and Dallas play Boogie on the Wii:
Track Listing in Boogie
ABC The Jackson 5
Baila Me Gypsy Kings
Boogie Oogie Oogie Taste Of Honey
Brick House The Commodores
Canned Heat Jamiroquai
Celebration Kool & The Gang
Dancing in the Street Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Dancing Machine Jackson 5
Don't Cha Pussycat Dolls / Busta Rhymes
Get Right Jennifer Lopez
Get The Party Started Pink
Girls Just Want To Have Fun Cyndi Lauper
Groove Is In The Heart Dee-Lite
I Want You Back The Jackson 5
Iâ€™m A Slave 4 U Britney Spears
It's Raining Men The Weather Girls
Karma Chameleon Culture Club
Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas
Le Freak Chic
Let's Get It Started Black Eyed Peas
Love Rollercoaster Red Hot Chili Peppers
Love Shack The B-52's
Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit ofâ€¦) Lou Bega
One More Time Daft Punk
One Way Or Another Blondie
Oops I Did It Again Britney Spears
Pop Muzik M
Stars Simply Red
That's The Way (I Like It) KC And The Sunshine
Tu Y Yo Thalia
U Can't Touch This M.C. Hammer
Virtual Insanity Jamiroquai
Walking On Sunshine Katrina & The Waves
We Are Family Sister Sledge
Y.M.C.A. The Village People