Boogie Hands-On

We try out the DS version of EA's rhythm game--in 3D.

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Boogie for the Wii was an interesting concept, but thanks to an overly simple dance mechanic and a karaoke mode that could be fooled by blowing into the microphone, it's fair to say it didn't make for a great game. Well, forget what you know about Boogie for the Wii--or at least most of what you know about it--because the game has been reworked and is headed to the Nintendo DS.

Boogie on the DS will let you play the story mode of all five characters from the Wii game. Their stories will basically be the same, but they'll be longer, and you'll pick stages from an overhead map similar to Elite Beat Agents. The game will include 20 songs from the Wii version, including tracks such as "Dancing in the Streets," "Fergalicious," "Canned Heat," and "Love Shack." There are three different modes of play: copycat, where you're shown one to four moves that you must perform; freestyle, where you'll just dance however you please; and choreography, which is a DDR-style mode where you'll have to keep up with the moves being displayed on screen.

Once the songs start, the dancing mechanics are the same, regardless of the game mode. You tap the screen to make your character jump, and drag the stylus in eight directions to make your character dance around and wave its hands like it just don't care. As long as you perform your move on the beat (indicated by a meter on the side of the screen), you'll earn points. If you string enough moves together, you'll fill your star meter. When this meter is full it can be activated with a trigger. Once the meter is activated, you're able to do a special move if you can put together four consecutive moves on the beat.

Periodically during each song you'll be challenged with one of 11 minigames. One minigame has you drag the stylus up and down as your character strums a guitar; a similar one has you doing the same action, but your character bangs its head in time to the music. Another minigame has you tap an icon to lip-sync along with the song. The fourth minigame we saw involved tapping the squares on the dance floor as they lit up, and the last one had us trying to keep our stylus over an "X" icon as it moved around the screen.

Boogie will have several different multiplayer modes in addition to the single-player component. Two players will be able to go head-to-head via game sharing, and up to four players can play if they each have their own cartridge. You'll be able to play minigames as well as full songs, complete with packages containing score bonuses (and earthquakes) that drop from the screen.

The game's unique characters and cartoony visual style look right at home on the handheld. The bright colors and nicely animated dance moves come across well, even on the smaller screens. But the game won't look exactly the same--now that there's a 3D mode. That's right, the game will ship with 3D glasses, and you can enable the effect before any song. The 3D wasn't mind-blowing, and we found it difficult to discern which way the arrows were pointing (though we were playing from an odd angle), but it was kind of neat and something that children will likely enjoy.

Boogie was also announced for the PlayStation 2, but that version wasn't playable at the event. The game will ship for the Nintendo DS in the ever-vague "holiday 2007" window.

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