Boogie Superstar Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
The original Boogie had its fair share of problems. It was a game that was far too easy. You could tap the microphone instead of singing for instance, and the dancing elements of the game were disappointing. You didn't even have to stand up as you could simply sit in your chair and swing the Wii remote in the required fashion. The game on the whole was disappointing and it's a little surprising that a year on we have another Boogie title. Boogie Superstar still isn't the perfect package but it represents a good improvement on the original Boogie, even if it is a rather shallow experience. Boogie Superstar can be purchased with or without the microphone but it's worth noting that it won't work with anything other than the official microphone so if you don't own the original Boogie you'll need to purchase the complete package.
When you first play Boogie Superstar you'll have to create a profile (the game supports a maximum of 20 profiles). You'll need to create an avatar and there are six character models to choose from which you can then modify in term of their skin colour, hair style and colour and clothing. Initially you'll find the customisation options are limited but there's a decent amount of items that can be unlocked by playing through the game. After you've created and named your avatar, you'll be offered a tutorial which introduces you to a few of the dance moves.
There are precious few modes on offer in Boogie Superstar where you can do anything worthwhile. In Academy Mode you can create a dance routine, revisit the tutorial, practice your moves, purchase reward packages (which allow you to unlock new songs, dance moves and outfits with the tokens you'll earn whilst you're playing Showtime!) and customise your character. The game's only other mode is called Star Show Mode and is for up to four players. Here you can take part in a virtual talent show, called Showtime! and compete with three rivals (either human or AI). The show comes complete with a presenter and three judges. You can spice things up a little by choosing to enable Vickie's Pranks which attempt to distract the player through a variety of audio and video glitches.
The dancing in Boogie Superstar is actually quite good and a big improvement on what we experienced in Boogie last year. You'll put the Wii remote into your right hand and carry out a variety of moves. These moves are split into four groups: Basic, Pop, Electro Dance and Urban Rap-RnB. The game comes with a chart listing the moves. Last year we commented on how you could have sat in a chair and swung the remote around to do the dance moves. You probably wouldn't get away with such a thing in Boogie Superstar, at least not for a fair amount of the moves, which is a good thing as it encourages you to get on your feet and get into the spirit of things. The moves you'll experience to begin with are easy to perform but it soon becomes more challenging and it can be tricky stringing those combo moves together at times (at least it is if you're as unfit as I am). The game doesn't require you to be as energetic as dance games that use a dance mat however.
Whilst Boogie wasn't a game that was aimed at deaf gamers and it's probably a game that deaf gamers wouldn't consider purchasing (after all it's the included music tracks which gives games such as this their appeal), it was a game that certainly didn't pose any real problems for deaf gamers. The same can be said for Boogie Superstar. On the easier difficulty levels at least you'll get away with simply blowing into the microphone and the visual tone lines help you to keep in pitch. All of the dialogue in the game is in Sims' style gibberish and text is shown so you'll be able to follow all of the dialogue and tutorial messages in the game. A trainer avatar appears on the bottom left of the screen to show you how to perform the various dance moves. All performance feedback is shown visually through meters and gauges, so you'll be aware of how well you are performing at all times.
Visually, Boogie Superstar is quite a bit different from the original Boogie. The presentation of the game looks more polished. There are some rather impressive anime style cutscenes which look really slick. The characters in last year's game looked rather bizarre but the characters in Boogie Superstar look like they've been squarely aimed at young teenagers. The characters still have that cel-shaded look to them however. It's also one of the few Wii games to not look completely horrid when playing on a HDTV which is certainly good to see.
Boogie Superstar isn't a giant leap forward in all honesty but it's certainly a better effort than last year's Boogie. The dancing is much better this time around and you can't simply get away with just sitting in your armchair and swinging your arms around like you could in the original Boogie. The game does disappoint with its lack of game modes however. Aside from the Showtime! contest that you'll find in Star Show Mode, there's only the option to create your own dance routines and practice which isn't good enough for a full priced product. Of course it's not a game that deaf gamers will probably purchase but at least you now know that it's a game that won't cause any real problems.