‘Sup foolz? You down to pop some funky-fresh moves homie? Ahem… cough.. sorry I won’t try talking street again, it just doesn’t suit me. I guess i’ve been playing too much B-Boy Beats!
B-Boy Beats is a dance pad game, much like Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades, but instead of using your feet, you use your fingers. I bit like what Tech Deck is for skateboarding.
Set in the world of the classic-style New York Hip-Hop scene, you must battle your way through the turf map, taking on the resident breakers at their own game. Whether it’s against Flash Freddy, Big Joe or Queenie, you’ll need to keep on your toes if you want to please the local crowd.
Each dancer has his or her unique style to master, and if you can successfully dance your way to the end without getting booed off the mat, you’ll be rated and unlock the next part of the map and more dance battles.
At the top left of the map is a dance teacher, he’ll show you the moves you need to know, with new moves becoming available as you progress. Dancing is a simple task of hitting the correct left foot or right foot pad with the corresponding finger. Well, simple in theory but in practice it can be tricky. You start out with two fingers pressed on the pads, and as the music plays new pads will appear in various locations with an outline circle closing in on the target pad. Once this circle reaches the pad edge, you must lift and move your finger to it. It’s all about timing, so move too soon or too late and you’ll have to return to the default stance.
Much like Guitar Hero there is a bar that tracks your progress. If you remain in time with the music and hit the correct pads at the right time, then the crowd will be happy and the bar will be full. If you don’t then the crowd will get rowdy and the bar will drop, until it’s game over. It’s important when you fail a move that you return to the default stance as soon as possible, otherwise it’s game over.
Later skills require you to slide your fingers from one move to the next, as well as introducing hand moves (using your thumb or ring finger as the hands). The game assumes you are using your index and middle finger to play the game, this is the proper way to play, but you can use two hands if you like. The problem with using one hand is you really need to place the iPhone or iPod Touch down on a table or flat surface, the problem there is that it’s hard to see the next move if your hand is in the way of your line of sight. Holding the iPhone and using both thumbs is just as fun and maybe a little easier. It’s up to you at the end of the day. One things is for sure though, is that the game is no push over, and later bosses and moves can be pretty finger twisting… and that’s just on easy mode!
B-Boy Beats doesn’t have any flash 3D graphics, but it oozes charm through cartoon characters and graffiti style elements that capture the essence of the hip-hop dance scene. The game opens with a subway train ( or tube train in the UK) arriving at the station covered in gang tags and graffiti. On entering the train a subway map unfolds showing where the dance-offs are. Each character is part of a different crew and their own area on the map. You might be battling on a basket ball court, in a subway station, or on pizza boxes in a kitchen in little italy.
When you get down to the nitty gritty, this is all about the music. And for hip-hop lovers this doesn’t disappoint. Sure, the music doesn’t feature the creme-de-la-creme of hip-hop stars, instead featuring unsigned underground acts like MC Frontalot and Optimus Rhyme, but what it does do is sound great and, most importantly, gets your toes tapping (or in this case your fingers).
B-Boy Beats then is fun little dance game. While it doesn’t have the brand power of the DDR series, it can stand toe-to-toe (or finger-to-finger) with it in terms of gameplay. Add in Openfeint support to challenge your friends for scores and achievements, a low-ish price of $2.99, and as long as dancing and hip hop are your bag, then you have a worthy purchase.
B-Boy Beats is out now for $2.99