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A Party In a Box - Fun Dance Game for All
on November 11, 2011
Stop the presses!!! We have a new contender entering the ring. There are several dance games gracing the Kinect for Xbox 360, but I thought nothing would be able to stand up to the two juggernauts, Just Dance 3 and Dance Central 2. Well, that all changed when I started playing The Black Eyed Peas Experience.
For starters, even though they are both published by Ubisoft, The Black Eyed Peas Experience is nothing like Michael Jackson: The Experience. While Michael Jackson: The Experience is a great game, it is more of a tribute to the King of Pop, where you learn to dance, sing, and perform like MJ himself. With The Black Eyed Peas Experience, you essentially get a party in a box. That's right - open the case, put the disc in, and let the party begin. You'll be transported to several energetic venues, all inspired by their shows and music videos.
Immediately, I could tell The Black Eyed Peas Experience was specifically made for the Kinect. The folks at Uibosft already have an incredible history of making amazing games for the Kinect. That is why I was so surprised by how similar Just Dance 3 was to its Wii counterpart. Besides the fabulous Just Create mode and full body tracking, there really isn't anything that makes Just Dance 3 stand separate from the Wii version. The Black Eyed Peas Experience does several things to harness the power of the Xbox and truly stand out.
THE PARTY IN A BOX - INNOVATIVE, FULL OF MOTION, AND FUN
There are some games that you know, right from the beginning, have that magical touch. The Black Eyed Peas Experience is one of those games. As soon as the game loads, you'll see the Black Eyed Peas dancing. There are no hand-swipes or hovering to start this game. To begin, you have to copy the Peas - by dancing. The entire game flows from one screen to the next. You feel like you are attending a party, and you are the guest of honor.
If you have the moves, you can certainly hop right in and dance with your favorite Black Eyed Peas: apl.de.ap, Fergie, Taboo, and will.i.am. However, I would highly recommend jumping into the ultimate experience of career mode. Here, you can pick your avatar, earn new clothing options, learn dances, and unlock exciting new locations. Just a side note here, the avatars are more like Dance Central's choice of style, versus the plain faced look of Just Dance or seeing yourself, like Michael Jackson: The Experience.
BREAK IT DOWN - WITH PIZZAZZ
The Black Eyed Peas Experience redefines breaking a dance down into pieces. When first coming across a song, you see several elements of the song, which need unlocked. Each element of the song has its own set of moves. The way to learn them is very interesting. You pop into the club and move from dancer to dancer. Each dancer is doing one move repeatedly. You are to copy that move several times. After successfully performing it, the camera sweeps to the next dancer to repeat the process for another move. Once you have learned a few moves, you must dance it all together.
Once finished, you are given a point score, based on several criteria, and a grade. You can redo that dance part, or move to the next part, eventually unlocking the entire set of choreography for the song. Feedback is given on your dancing by glowing orbs around your hands and feet. Unless, I either missed it or dance incredibly well, I didn't notice any negative feedback system. The avatar has glowing lights around them if you do well and nothing if you miss the mark.
While this may sound very similar to Dance Central's approach to breaking down a song, it feels very different. Dance Central plucks you out of the crowd and focuses on each move, one step at a time. The Black Eyed Peas Experience keeps the party moving by making you feel like you are just another person in the club. You're moving from dancer to dancer, doing different moves at each stop. The dancers don't stop, you just copy their move. You can slow it down, but the party is still happening all around you.
AN ENDLESS PARTY
The Black Eyed Peas have more than enough material to keep your body moving. This game features more than 300 dance moves, with over 30 songs across four albums: The Beginning, The E.N.D., Monkey Business, and Elephunk. All your favorite songs are here, from Boom Boom Pow to Let's Get It Started.
If this wasn't enough, there are downloadable songs and routines for purchase. But even better, there is an included Choreo-Maker Mode. I can't stress this enough, I think this mode is ingenious. Essentially, you can take any of the dance moves, available from all the songs, and piece them together in any way you want to. After you have created your own choreography, you can send the newly created dance to a friend over Xbox LIVE.
THE FIVE F'S
In reviewing Kinect games, I look for the five f's: family, fitness, fun, functionality, and firsts. The Black Eyed Peas Experience makes me want to add a sixth f - flow. I can't stress enough, how much this game makes you feel like you are in the club or at a party. You are bouncing around from one venue to the next with ease. I suppose this speaks to how well the game functions, because I never missed a beat.
The Black Eyed Peas Experience is family friendly with some mildly suggestive tones. If you have seen their videos or live shows, you'll know what to expect in this game. The game is incredibly fun and is easy for people to get up and involved in. And just like Just Dance 3, supports four players.
You'll get lost in the fun, where you'll take part in a game that feels like a continuous party. Dance Central 2 and Just Dance 3 both introduced some nice ongoing playlist features this year, but each of those has moments where I feel a slight pause in the action. The Black Eyed Peas Experience feels natural, continuous, full of energy, and needless to say - is an amazing workout.
Great licensed music
Innovative break it down mode
Make no mistake about it, The Black Eyed Peas Experience is no knockoff game, but rather a game that will help define the dance game genre. There are several new elements included that I would like to see spread across the other dance games. You may argue about their style of music, but there is no argument in The Black Eyed Peas ruling the club scene. If you would like a taste of that energy, then nothing beats the full-bodied experience of The Black Eyed Peas Experience.