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Joystiq impressions: Boogie (DS)

Zack Stern

The dancing-puppet game, Boogie, launches on the DS this "holiday" season. The portable version of the title has more game in it (read: objectives and losing conditions). But after briefly playing, it still seems aimed close at the casual market Boogie (Wii) courted; rhythm fans might want to pass.

Boogie (DS) copies rhythm game techniques, but it comes off as a casual, unfocused Elite Beat Agents. Maybe after hours of playing -- or a better fit with a gamer who's never tried a rhythm title -- it would feel more unique.

Gallery: Boogie (DS) | 4 Photos

Boogie for the DS clearly follows the Wii original, entering franchise territory. Five of those characters, like that blob-guy or Bratz-looking girl, make the crossover, and 20 of the songs also migrate. Players use many outfits to customize characters; they can even draw 2D decals that are pasted over the characters' clothing.

Three dance modes -- and no singing -- comprise most of the game. Touch-screen stylus gestures bust various moves in any game type. Freestyle copies Wii version, where you dance to your own drummer or lack thereof. Copycat asks players to mimic on-screen arrows with stylus gestures, but players have a brief moment to make the moves versus matching the exact beat. Choreography scores players based on hitting moves at the exact-right times, like a typical rhythm game.

Players most often drag the stylus across the screen to affect the character. If the game gives an arrow to the left, tracing a line the left causes a dance step. A few minigames between sets of arrows add marginally more variety. For example, the character may swing a hula-hoop, and players have to trace it to the left and right based on game instructions.

Boogie includes multiplayer support for two people with one game. (Or four can compete with their own copies each.) In those competitions, players try to follow the instructions -- and score more points -- better than opponents.

In my short time with the game, I liked how Boogie (DS) felt more related to real dancing than an EBA-type rhythm game. However, the game mechanics in those sorts of titles seem more fun for established rhythm fans. Boogie's lower risk and lower reward pitches it to new players.

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