Let's all have a breakdance party...
To execute many of the moves, you need to keep in time with the music, so straight off you’ll have to play using headphones or you just can’t hear the beat. But, as with many rhythm games, there are visual cues and in B-Boy your cues are the little segments that spin around your dancer. Which is fine except that to see you and your opponent’s moves, you view the action from a distance, making those all important beat segments hard to see, especially in the PSP’s screen. Even worse, get your positioning wrong as you go into a windmill and the camera can end up superbly placed behind an obstacle such as your opponent or part of the scenery. So now those vital beat segments are completely obscured, meaning you flunk out of your set and lose. Great.
Sure, there’s a simply massive variety of moves to unlock as you progress and practise which adds something to the longevity of the game, but ultimately, the actual dancing mechanic is flawed by the too small graphics and dodgy camera. Further, though it’s initially a blast to watch your opponent do his set before you hit the floor, it soon becomes tiresome having to watch the admittedly lovely motion captured sequence. It’s like sitting through the boring bits of Top Gun to get to the flight sequences… except without the slightly unnerving oiled volleyball stuff…
Musically, though I’m nowhere near as much into Hip-Hop as I used to be, the tunes here are fantastic. Even for someone like me, who doesn’t know the difference between UK Garage, Hip-Hop, House, Speed House or Acid House the tunes are still excellent and, if I could find a play list, I’d tell you a few of the tracks and artists.
Sadly, even though the music is brilliant and the actual moves look authentic enough, these alone aren’t enough to save B-Boy. There’s just not enough here to make you want to play it for any length of time. The real trick with a rhythm game is to get you involved and give you some sense of achievement. Dance mat games get you dancing; Guitar Hero gets you playing a guitar… B-Boy doesn’t get you doing anything except jab away at buttons… there’s no sense of having anything to do with the break dancing except trying to hit buttons in time with the music.
Now if this had been a PS2 game and had used the dance mat the perhaps there’d be something in it. You want to top rock? Then top rock on the mat… sure, you still couldn’t spin around on your head on a dance mat but at least there’s more involvement than just punching buttons. And that’s the main problem with B-Boy; you’re so detached from the action in the game that you never feel like it’s anything other than a game… and not a very good one at that.
So, unless you’re totally into the whole ‘lifestyle’ of a break dancer and walk around with a large sheet of cardboard all the time, just in case you have to throw down in the middle of Luton High Street, there’s really very little to recommend B-Boy. Sure the music is great and the moves look cool the first few times you see them, but after that the game quickly becomes stale and jaded and only an incredibly devoted break dance fan would get anything from this.
Motion captured moves look good
Small graphics make gameplay hard
Very limited appeal
Soon becomes stale
Bo! Selecta!?... more like Bo-ring…