If you like music games, you've probably been looking forward to Boogie. The concept is simple: it combines karaoke with dancing. You might think this sounds fun. You'd be wrong, as far as Boogie goes. This is how rubbish a music game Boogie is: it's not even fun when you're drunk.
It might be, might be fun if you're very young. Which means young enough to think Balamory is a reality TV show. Boogie doesn't offer any kind of challenge, certainly not if you're old enough to think Balamory is a nice way to spend time on the days you're not signing on.
Let's start with the dancing. You shake the Wii remote left, right, up and down in time to the music. There are no Dancing Stage-style arrows specifying directions; you choose for yourself, and the more varied the moves the more points you score.
Perform well and you'll fill up your Boogie meter. Then, if you hold down the B button, a short sequence of chevrons will appear on screen, and this time you do have to shake the remote in the directions instructed.
None of this is very interesting. It doesn't feel like you're dancing, and often it doesn't feel like your character is dancing as they don't seem to respond to all your moves. Whirling the remote about at random seems as likely to score you points as anything else.
Curiously, the metronome beat coming from the remote's speaker - which you have to dance in time to - doesn't always match up to the beat of the song. You find yourself trying to hear the "tick, tock" of the remote over the song playing. And you observe the rhythm meter at the bottom of the screen instead of watching your character dancing. Not ideal for a music game.
The karaoke portion of Boogie isn't much better. The format is pure SingStar: coloured blobs scroll along a bar, lyrics are displayed along the bottom. You're judged on your pitch but the game is extremely forgiving. You don't have to sing the right lyrics and can get away with humming if you feel like it, but so it's always been with karaoke games.
The biggest drawback is the lack of a second microphone. No duets, no duels, and you can't persuade anyone shy about singing a track on their own to join in. If you're after multiplayer fun, your only option is the dancing game which, see fig. 1, isn't much fun anyway. Again, not ideal for a music game.
Name that toon
Boogie isn't all bad. The game looks stylish, with lots of bright colours and funky cartoon graphics. There's a decent selection of songs - more than 35 in total. They range from classic (Kool & the Gang, Jackson 5, Blondie) to contemporary tracks (Spears, Lopez, Daft Punk). None are performed by the original artists, but the cover versions aren't terrible - unlike some of the original songs (Fergalicious, Milkshake, Don't Cha).
One neat feature is the Video Editor. It allows you to record a dance or vocal performance then cut it together, selecting different camera angles and special effects. The interface is intuitive enough that even younger kids can have fun producing their own music video. However, there's no option to share your finished work online.
The Story mode should also appeal to younger gamers. You can choose from a collection of nicely designed characters, customise their appearance and play through a series of karaoke and dancing challenges to unlock new songs.
But this part of Boogie is really let down by the cut-scenes, which are just still images with reams of dull text to read through. There was a real opportunity here to stick in animated scenes and create a story kids would want to follow, but it's been missed.
As has the opportunity to create a music game which successfully combines singing and dancing. Oddly, there's no mode that awards points for doing both at once. Overall, you're left with a sub-SingStar karaoke game and a dancing game which doesn't work very well. The easier difficulty settings offer no challenge, while the harder ones just leave you frustrated because your character isn't responding properly.
If you're very young and easily entertained, Boogie might keep you occupied for a bit. But if you're looking for a game you can enjoy playing with kids or with friends after the pub, this isn't it. Not even after a bucket of Cheeky Vimto.