Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Nintendo Wii
If there’s one thing I learned from playing “Boogie” – Electronic Arts' first exclusive title for the Nintendo Wii – it’s that no matter how much my friends may insist, I should never, ever step foot into a karaoke bar. Why embarrass myself in front of a drunken crowd of strangers when I can do the same in the comfort of my own home, right? One part karaoke game, one part dancing game and two parts flawed design, “Boogie” is one of those concepts that sound brilliant when it’s being pitched, but doesn’t quite work out the way everyone had hoped. This isn’t the surprise game of the summer – it’s just another disappointment in a long line of disappointments for fans of the Big N.
EA must be under the impression that the average gamer is a complete idiot, because although the opening tutorial has gradually become a necessity for those of us who flake out on reading the manual, it’s impossible to skip. Forgive the fact that you may have already read the manual, or that you only want to participate in one section of the game: EA forces you to learn how to do everything, from singing and dancing, to making personalized music videos of your performance. What EA doesn’t realize, however, is that no matter how much useless crap you tack on (read: video editor), it doesn’t change the simple fact that it’s still no fun.
Singing is simple enough. Pick a song, choose your difficultly level, and start crooning like you were Harry Connick Jr. But it’s actually more primitive than you think. You see, regardless of the fact that the manual clearly states the player must match the correct pitch and lyrics of each song, all you need to do is hum along to score maximum points. That’s right, you don’t even need to know English to play this game – it really is easy as 1-2-3, A-B-C. Speaking of which, the song selection on “Boogie” is absolutely horrendous. The soundtrack is littered with pop trash like The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha,” Kellis’ “Milkshake,” and two Britney Spears songs (including “I’m a Slave 4 U”), and almost every track is far too high-pitched for the average male singer. Seeing as how this is being targeted to a younger crowd, it’s actually a little disturbing to find so many sex-themed tracks on the list, while the addition of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” and Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” will likely cause your head to explode.
And if singing’s not your thing, the other main game mode will allow you to trade in your microphone for a pair of dancing shoes. Unfortunately, the rhythm portion is even worse. Though it may seem like a really cool idea in theory, the dancing in “Boogie” is so simple a caveman can do it. I know, I know – that was a low blow, but stay with me. After a rather complicated explanation in the tutorial, dancing sounds like a whole lot of fun. Instead, all you need to do in order to complete the stage is to wave your Wiimote up, down, left or right to make your character move. Yep, that’s it. There’s also something called a Boogie Meter that gives you a special dance move to unleash, but aside from earning you more points (which you can later spend on stupid shit like new clothing and dance arenas), there’s really no point.
So what’s the allure of buying a game like “Boogie?” Well, there is none, but since the game currently isn’t being offered for rental (due to the fact that you need the included USB microphone), then you’re going to have to buy it to try it. You’d probably be much better off just skipping that step and waiting for a couple of used copies to arrive at your local GameStop; because they will very soon, if they’re not there already. Need some help tracking down the game? Not a problem. Just look for the oversized “Boogie” box sitting in the Nintendo Wii section. It comes complete with a game that you’ll only want to play for 20 minutes, and an oversized microphone that will bring back memories of the hideously massive Xbox 360 power block. It’s a major turnoff if there ever was one. That is, until you start playing the game itself.