If only Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo was a game…
When you picture a game with the words Red Bull in the title you are no doubt wondering what kind of interactive endeavor would spawn from an energy drink. Well Red Bull BC One is a dance/rhythm game that involves a bout of connect the dots mixed with some break dancing that feels like a cross between those trendy iPod commercials and Jet Set Radio. Thankfully outside of the title on the box there is very little advertising for the famed drink found within the confines of this puzzling portable title. What you will find though is an intriguing game that falls just short in a few areas, but at a twenty dollar price point it will certainly entertain for a while.
The biggest problem with BC One is a lack of depth and variety. The game involves connecting patterns on the bottom screen with the stylus to perform break dance moves on the top screen. The shapes start off fairly simple with squares and triangles, but as you progress more diverse shapes will appear to add challenge. If you touch a dot you already connected or run the wrong route you will be penalized and each set of shapes has a set time limit in order to complete them. If you manage to nail the shapes before time runs out then you enter a freestyle mode where you can connect the shapes in different succession for bonus points.
All of this confusion is taking place on the bottom screen which leaves you with little chance to see what is going on above you. Your mind will stay so focused on the shapes and patterns that you will miss most of the colorful action taking place on the top screen. As I mentioned the game looks and feels like Jet Set Radio (which is certainly not a bad thing) but with fewer polygons and animations. Even with a limited animation palette the game still looks surprisingly good on the DS’ tiny screen. Too bad you will not get much of a chance to enjoy it as your focus remains on the action on the touch screen.
The core single-player experience takes you through 36 stages scattered across 8 levels. Each level has its own theme ranging from the beach to basketball courts to of course the streets. While they are all different in name little changes outside of the color palette. You can also customize your character with an assortment of clothing items and hair styles. Once you tire of the single-player game you can take the game Wifi against a friend, but you do both have to own the cartridge. This is certainly a nice feature that extends the life of the game, but in all honesty you will be hard pressed to find someone else willing to get served.
Probably the most impressive thing about BC One though is the soundtrack. As you can imagine the entire score is comprised of hip-hop tunes reminiscent of the same ones found in the event the game is named after. Everything from the menu items to the in-game tunes screams quality and will have you reaching for those earbuds. Of course good music in a rhythm game is imperative and thankfully the folks at Playlogic have selected a great all-around set of music that not only fits the game, but sounds fantastic when played with headphones on.
In the end Red Bull BC One is obviously a cash-in title that is banking on people who are fans of the event to purchase. The most shocking thing though is that even though the game fits all the criteria of a quick job, it doesn’t feel like it when you play, and that is the most important part. The premise is simple and enjoyable, the soundtrack is fantastic and the amount of content is respectable. However, if you have no interest in break dancing or the BC One event in general this game will certainly not replace your Elite Beat Agents anytime soon.