Septemeber 27, 2007

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Boogie, (Wii)
Nintendo, Aug. 7
By Xander Scott news@hippopress.com

Boogie, a karaoke/dance party in a box for the Wii, is a great one-night gig for a group of friends who have no problem with public embarrassment, but the game’s lack of depth keeps the game from the top of the charts.

On paper, the game has a ton of potential. Boogie comes with a microphone packed in, and the game play looks to mix singing and dancing to turn your living room into your own personal audition to become a pop star. The game’s “plot,” if you want to call it that, has something to do with space aliens putting on a concert for the galaxy. Or something like that. Whatever. Boogie’s story mode can be ripped through in a couple hours, and the only real reason to waste time in the mode is to earn credits to buy new songs or clothing items for the character representing your dance moves on the screen. You “dance” by waving your Wii-mote to the beat. As you move the remote left, right, up and down, the character will shake its groove thang. Keep in time while varying your moves and the character will start feeling it. Miss, and your avatar just stands there.

Meanwhile, the player sings along to lyrics zipping along the bottom of the screen. The game measures pitch and scores your performance based on how on-key your vocal stylings are. One nice feature is the ability to turn down the volume on the original artist to let your own God-given talent take center stage. Finally, once you’ve completed a song, you can save the singing and dancing attempted by friends as a permanent record for future blackmailing purposes.

It all sounds great, right? Well, the first time you gather with friends to play, it is. Unfortunately, the game’s thin song list causes the fun to run out quickly. The 50-plus song list focuses heavily on pop and disco. Lots of “YMCA,” “Kung-Fu Fighting,” and Jackson 5, but also a lot of Britney Spears (three songs? seriously?) as well as some Pink and Fergie. Each song is fun exactly once, so that once you’ve played through, there isn’t much interest in playing through again.

Another major disappointment is that the microphone packed with the game has to be plugged directly into the back of the Wii via a USB port. Considering that everything else on the system is wireless, it seems a little odd. A much better system would have been if there was a way the mic could have been plugged into the Wii remote, so that the singer/dancer could get their groove on without worrying about tripping.

Boogie feels like about half a game, primarily because there really isn’t a game mechanic. Because the scoring system is so arbitrary, there’s no sense of victory in any head-to-head dancing or singing competition. It boils down to little more than a fancy karaoke experience, and really, karaoke is more fun at a seedy bar after a couple scorpion bowls. D-Xander Scott