Beat’n Groovy

Dancing it’s way into the rythym game genre of the Xbox Live Arcade is Beat’n Groovy. Imagine if you took a Dancing Stage game and mashed it together with the notes down the screen format of Guitar Hero and then took away all the accessories and said “control this with a joypad”. Welcome to the game!

I had heard nothing about this title until I downloaded it tonight (the fact that I couldn’t find an page about this game until very recently should have warned me), so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. As is the norm with the Arcade titles, I took myself off into the Help & Options section to find out what the dickens I was meant to do. The game explained to me that notes would drop from the top of the screen and I had to press a controller button when the note passed a certain point. Simple. Just one, teeny weeny problem, though.

Playing these sorts of games with a standard joypad feels, well, crap. Imagine playing Guitar Hero without the guitar – what’s the point? Guitar Hero and any Dancemat title you can mention drag you in by giving you a peripheral that lets you connect with the game on a different level than if you just sit there and tediously press X or the Left D-Pad button to hit a note. Or just miss a note, more than likely. There are two modes to the game play – 3 or 5 button. Having played them both I can categorically state that the use of buttons in this game is pants. Some notes can be played with a choice of buttons, some with only one, and most can be got wrong because the notes seem to take so bloody long to come down the screen you kind of forget what you’re doing.

The songs (all nine of them), for me at least, are pretty dire as well. They kind of remind me of the ones you’d find on Dancing Stage (in fact, I think a few might be from the likes of DDR) but with all the life and soul sucked out of them – you unlock them as you play the game, but really you won’t be playing the game so some of them will stay greyed out forever.

Further exploration of the game’s main menu yields a faint glimmer of hope. Beat’n Groovy can also be played with the Vision Camera. Somehow, they’ve even managed to suck the fun out of something that had the potential to be a saving grace in this dire offering. You just, I kid you not, kind of stand there and move your hands over the relevant ring as a coloured note-ball reaches it. For long strings of notes which, under the normal “button” control system, would require multiple button presses you can simply stand there (albeit looking like someone who should be wearing a jacket the fastens up the back) with your hand over the ring. There’s no skill involved. Unless you count staying awake as a skill.

There’s an online battle mode – usual standard fare, play to get the highest score against an opponent. There’s unlockable characters which make no difference to the gameplay, just give you someone else to stare at and hate with your eyes. What I ideally want is to discover that this game actually works with either a guitar or dancemat peripheral so that I could give it a decent bash but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe there will be a patch, like Boom Boom rocket, which will enable the game to be played in a different way. For now, though, it will mainly reside in a dark corner of my hard-drive where even the likes of Frogger will poke it, mercilessly, with a stick before moving on to their own dark corner of the memory (you know the corner I mean – just be careful crossing the road).







One response to “Beat’n Groovy”

  1. Tony avatar

    It sounds apalling. When you said about the camera I was reminded of the funky dancing game in EyeToy Play on the PS2, but that actually worked and was fun, it just didn’t have many songs.

    Never mind!

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