Broken Record

Game Informer

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In the
rhythm genre, how developers interact with the soundtrack can vary almost as
much as the music itself. Floor Kids enables players to improvise dance moves
alongside catchy DJ tracks to connect with the songs in unique ways. Players chart
their own approaches to each song, performing routines on the fly like real
breakdancers. Unfortunately, with each song consisting of the same basic
formula, the experience becomes rote long before you reach the final venue –
hardly the experience you want from a game about this exciting form of artistic
expression.

Dancing
through a song is as simple as tapping a face button to the beat of the track.
Each button performs a different move depending your dancer’s stance, while
holding and rotating the joystick triggers freezes and spins respectively. The
intuitive controls let you easily put together a combo of standing moves,
perform a flip, then seamlessly hit the ground for some bottom-rock moves
before doing a power spin and ending on a freeze pose. Chaining together combos
is immediately enjoyable as your character fluidly transitions from one move
into the next, and the improvisation aspect gives an experience unlike most
traditional rhythm games.

You’re
graded on how on-rhythm your taps are, the originality of your moves, the
fluidity of your combos, and more. This scoring system encourages you to chain
together long combos of unique moves, but you eventually learn how to game the
score system and develop a blueprint to get a high score. This means the
improvisation that should feel fluid is mechanical as you work to get the score
boosts for spins, freezes, and new moves. Though I can still hear many of the
songs in my head after I turn my system off, the gameplay behind those songs
all blend together, as the two-minute jams all consist of the same gameplay.

The
sole respite from the repetition are the breakdowns where you tap buttons on
certain notes for a couple measures, followed by a couple measures of frantically
tapping as fast as you can. These sections, which occur two times per song at
the same point in each song, serve as nice breaks in the repetitive action. The
sections add some variety to individual songs, but by appearing in the same
spots, they only make the gameplay of the 24 tracks feel even more formulaic.

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Floor
Kids’ track list is strong, with bass-heavy, original beats from renowned DJ
and producer Koala Kid. The delight I have in listening to the tracks is only
elevated once the crowd starts chanting “Go! Go! Go!” to the beat, making the
performance and setting feel more alive. Unfortunately, the illusion of the
live performance crumbles when the experience of the song is filtered through
repetitive mechanics.

In
addition to the single-player story mode, Floor Kids includes local multiplayer
where two dancers take turns in the circle. The scoring is the same as
single-player, but a battle mechanic is introduced with the sidelined player tapping
along to the beat to build up a meter and unleash a fireball that can knock the
dancing player over and disrupt their combo. The dancing player can defend by
tapping the shoulder buttons at the right time, adding another gameplay element.
I like the inclusion of multiplayer, and the unpredictability of the other
player’s interference somewhat helps with the monotony of single-player dances.
However, underneath the new move, it’s still the same unvaried gameplay.

Despite repetitive gameplay,
Floor Kids presents a distinct approach to the rhythm genre and allows you to enjoy
the music in unique ways. I had a good time in small chunks, but the gameplay
of every track just blends together extended gameplay.

Game Informer

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