Electronic Arts
The dancing portion of 'Boogie' is disappointing: There are no elaborate moves with the Wii Remote, just up, down, left and right.
msnbc.com contributor
updated 9/23/2007 1:03:44 PM ET 2007-09-23T17:03:44

The potential of the Nintendo Wii should have been realized in Electronic Arts' new dancing and karaoke game, "Boogie." With a microphone and the Wii remote, players could sing and dance in their living rooms to a series of chart-toppers while on-screen high-steppers mirrored their movements. Unfortunately, neither feature in the game is functional enough to demand purchase, much less a weekend rental.

There are three grievous problems with "Boogie" that undercut the entire production: The dancing is dull, the karaoke doesn't work, and you actually can't even do both at the same time. That last point is just bizarre. The dancing in "Boogie" uses both the Wii Remote and the nunchuk attachment, leaving no free hand to hold the mic for singing.

Instead, you record your dancing performances and your singing performances separately and then use a neat video editor to assemble your own music video. (Sadly, you cannot send these videos to other Wii owners or upload them to some "Boogie"-specific YouTube-esque site for others to watch.) Not combining the two halves into a cohesive "American Idol" simulator is a missed opportunity that must be addressed in a "Boogie 2."

However, there are other issues this mythic "Boogie 2" must attend to first. The karaoke half of the game simply does not work. The mic picks up your voice, but it does a poor job translating your tone and pitch as the words scroll along the bottom of the screen.

The human voice is the most nuanced instrument in the world, so it's unfair to expect absolute perfection in translating each player's unique sound, but Konami's "Karaoke Revolution" manages this far better than "Boogie." The pitch meter is all over the screen no matter if you hit the proper note. However, none of this really matters since the difficulty is dialed so far back that you could make any noise into the mic and still earn enough points to pass the stage.

While singing — or, trying to sing — you can move the Wii Remote in four directions to make your on-screen dancer wiggle and waggle, but it's just window dressing. This is nowhere as involved as the actual dancing half of the game, but that's not exactly a compliment.

The dancing portion of "Boogie" is strangely limited. You only move the Wii Remote up, down, left and right to make your dancer shake and shimmy. There are no elaborate moves, no air drawings, nothing; just move the Wii Remote roughly in time with the music and you'll win. The stick on the nunchuk attachment physically moves your dancer around the stage and the trigger switches between three dance styles, giving your hoofer about twelve different dance moves total. There is just no real involvement with the dancing since the game requires little input. What fun is that?

The song selection in "Boogie" is a library of karaoke-ready hits, such as "You're the One That I Want" from the musical Grease and "Brick House" by the Commodores. There are a few radio hits like as "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls on the disc. There is some song censoring, too, like the licorice-whip line in "Love Rollercoaster."

The only notable thing about "Boogie" is the graphics. "Boogie" is a very stylish, slick-looking game with some neat effects and fun character designs. The chubby pink alien that serves as the star of the game is charming and deserves a better game to call his own.

"Boogie" should have been a monster hit for the Wii. Instead, charging families sixty bucks for a wholly dispensable and borderline broken game is nothing short of unfair. But "Boogie's" failure goes beyond that. Too many publishers are still taking the easy way out and porting over PlayStation 2 games with lazy motion controls in hopes of cashing in on the Wii's still white-hot popularity, making it doubly disappointing to see a high-profile Wii exclusive like "Boogie" stumble.

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