A top-notch Nintendo Switch game you will likely have missed, can that be a thing? Breakdancing and hip-hop, not your thing?
Thankfully, you don’t need to know anything about break-dancing, about hip/hop/scratch to enjoy this game. If you have had even the slightest bit of fun with games in this genre before, you’re in for a real treat.
What genre is that, I hear you scream.
My apologies boys and girls, I was getting ahead of myself. Floor Kids is a rhythm action game, in the same vein as the likes of Parappa the Rapper, Space Channel 5, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and even Guitar Hero to name just a few!
It’s a genre that has been out of favour in recent years, it’s become once more a bit of a niche genre., which is surprising, given how much fun the genre can be.
Floor Kids is also exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.
If you own a Switch, I would wager that you probably missed this at launch. It launched on the 18th of December, a week before Christmas. Chances are that if your behaviour in any way resembles mine, you won’t be checking for new releases, you will be checking your bank statement and crying into that.
So on to the game!
Let’s get this out the way- Floor Kids is an awesome little game. Simple to pick up and play, with tons of depth underneath.
At first, I feared it would be a migraine-inducing list of tutorials. As it introduced the moves, I was worried it was all going to be too much to take in. It isn’t. Floor Kids is thankfully the epitome of ‘pick up and play.’
Basically, it consists of 4 different move-sets. These being:
TOPROCK – Standing
DOWNROCK – on the floor
POWER – spinning with continuous movement
FREEZE – motionless moves that strike a difficult pose
Within these 4 categories, you have a further 4 moves. That might sound confusing, but the moves are simple to pull off. There is an avalanche of moves to unlock as the game progresses. These are tied to particular characters, more characters unlock and your progress in the game.
The structure of the game is also a simple one. You start with one venue, in the venue you have a choice of tracks to choose from. How well you perform on each track gives crowns. What do crown mean? PRIZES!! Erm, no….. they unlock more venues, more dancers and moves unlock the better your score.
Each track gives you the opportunity to have a period of freestyling. You string your moves together however you see fit. Being repetitive or too dull with this leads to a low score. Thankfully, it really is a joy to play and the music is superlative (more about that in a bit).
The art style……. is dare I say – urban. Hand sketched characters, muted pastel colours, very simple animations. It all gels well. The character moves are simple, but they work well in showing you that you’re pulling off a move and they do a good job.
Bonus points can be had for pulling off a certain move when instructed and pulling off combos. My one gripe with Floor Kids was the fact that the game feels under-boiled when it comes to looking at a character’s combos and moves. These can only be looked at in your ‘Breakdeck’, that being a menu that you can’t access mid-dance. In fact, the whole roster of many many moves and characters could have done with a bit more time. It would have been great to see my personal stats with each dancer at a glance. None of this took away from my fun experience with the game, but having it fleshed out could have elevated this game to a masterpiece in its genre.
Each of the freestyle sections are broken up with more traditional rhythm action elements that will be more familiar to players of the genre. These involve tapping a button in time with the beat of the music.
The music. The music is by alternative hip-hop and Scratch artist Kid Koala. It’s authentic, it’s organic, it’s top notch. A perfect mating with the art style and gameplay. I found myself bopping away playing this game, a real joy and it’s put many a smile on my face when playing and will continue to do so.
Floor Kids is an authentic piece of gaming, it’s very well delivered and deserves to be in every Switch owners library.
Easy to pick up and play with a lot of content to unlock.
Music is absolutely spot on.
It actually all feels very authentic and organic.
Different character unlocks, moves and stats could have been further developed.
Published and developed by MERJ Media
Price – £15.99
I’d like to start with a brutal confession, a search party was required to locate the various components of my terminal Mario machine. A serious amount of time has elapsed since the release of Mario Kart 8 and this dust covered tablet and console had to be brought back to life.
So I guess the big question is what brought this mission on? The answer, is Affordable Space Adventures.
This ‘Ronseal’ titled release from KnapNok Games & Nifflas is a 2D space puzzle game released solely for the Wii U, and right from the off it’s obvious to see why.
All of the controls are handled by the tablet in one player mode and it is also possible to have 2 extra pilots join you using Wii motes, who then control certain actions of the ship which make you feel part of a working crew, as long as you can communicate and keep calm. The left and right sticks handle flying and your torchlight and the left and right shoulder buttons cover the ships scanner and flares. By the time you are done the whole gamepad will be assigned to mechanics integral to your advancement.
You start with an infomercial from a company called UExplore, who are offering you a once in a life time opportunity to explore and stake your claim in alien worlds, promising you the highest level of safety with 0% risk, how could this be turned down?
You land on planet Spectaculon and it’s safe to say UExplore’s safety record has taken a knock, communication has been lost and you find yourself alone on an alien land in hostile weather conditions in your rented craft which looks like a budget version of ‘Starbug’ from Red Dwarf.
This is where ASA makes probably the best use of the Wii U gamepad that I have experienced, your TV shows your spacecraft and the planet and the gamepad initially goes through the process of powering up the Small Crafts systems, propulsion engine, lights and thrust.
With the chugging petrol engine now on it’s possible to increase the crafts speed output, mass and stability, tapping the gamepad dials at different levels, but be careful not to raise them for too long or you could overload your delicate craft and disintegrate spectacularly in a small amount of time, and this management of systems is where the puzzle element begins.
After you grasp the basic action of movement and delicately controlling your vessel your ships scanners pick up the first sign of life, targeting displays a radius around the robotic looking alien which you assume is range as your Wii pad flashes and beeps showing limits on sound, heat and electricity.
After offering peace through a friendly handshake initially fails, it’s clear that a stealthy approach past this alien is the only way and will require careful management of the ships systems, being careful not to reach any of these levels as alerting the alien will end in aggressive action being taken, and as you’re equipped with flares as opposed to photon torpedo’s you won’t put up much of a fight, which is refreshing to have a space game where defence is the only form of offense.
As you progress more ship systems will open up and will be utilised along with the previous mechanics and all at a decent pace and relevant to your exploration through the linear levels, with the escalation of challenge increases at a good rate and there is no spike in difficulty as each puzzle encompasses what you’ve already learnt and it’s a case of multitasking with the dials and sliders and getting the balance right, and as with everything on ASA the balance is perfect.
The story as such is told through the loading screens between levels and is both charming and humorous, and in between the story the ships user manual is displayed, albeit not a great story it’s enough to keep you immersed in the experience before you fire up the engines to scope out your new surroundings. Graphically the game is both dark and very vivid and bright and works well with your torchlight beaming for you to feel your way around certain sections but ultimately this doesn’t have the wow factor of some Wii U titles. The sounds are clear and add atmosphere from the outside weather effects to the underwater acoustics and the system beeps and bops from the pad.
In all there are 38 levels for you to navigate in search of freedom, and it should roughly take between 5 – 7 hours to complete, there is also a training level if you find it too difficult and this also helps to get the kids involved. Priced at £16.99 I feel this is excellent as you will get plenty of bang for your buck. It’s an experience that every Wii U owner should have, a title that makes full use of the game pad, and is good fun in local co-op. My only concern would be the reasons to replay, the only one that comes to mind would be to show non Wii U owners what they’re missing.
Excellent use of the Wii U gamepad
Fun Co-op multiplayer
Limited scope for replay-ability.
Graphics are pretty but not ground-breaking
Score: 9 out of 10.