Go! Go! Break Steady Review

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Descriptive Text Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Little Boy Games


Platform: Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360

The All City Tournament is the place to be for would-be breakdancers, so that's where Hydro and his "All City Crew" are headed to break to the beat of DJ Scruffy and the Beatniks. Only by busting out perfectly to the rhythm and knocking Beatniks out of the nearby ring can the All City Crew reign supreme and win fabulous prizes.

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


Go! Go! Break SteadyGo! Go! Break Steady uses a breakdancing tournament to tie together two different genres – rhythm games and puzzle games. While the crossover can be entertaining, it feels forced because players switch from one type of game to the other. The two styles of play aren't fully comingled.

In fact, it plays a lot like alternating between Dance Dance Revolution (without the dance mat), and a puzzle game like Zuma or Magnetica. In Go! Go! Break Steady, you first match patterns and rhythms of button presses signaled on the screen. The better you match the rhythm, the more "beatniks" (icons) you get to add to a puzzle ring. The real goal is to eliminate all the beatniks in the puzzle ring (by matching at least three-of-a-kind) before time runs out. So winning Go! Go! Break Steady is just a matter of hitting buttons at the right time, and then quickly and efficiently playing the icon-matching puzzle game.

Go! Go! Break SteadyCertainly, Go! Go! Break Steady can be fun. The rhythm portion is complemented by breakdancing characters, and tends to up the difficulty ante by having button icons come at you in strange patterns, or adding multiple tiers to the puzzle ring of beatniks. But fundamentally, it felt like I was rapidly taking turns playing two different games, rather than one game that integrated both rhythm and puzzle elements. Because of the constant switch-off, I never found the zen-like trance that rhythm games create for me, nor the relaxing zone of concentration that puzzle games can induce. It was like someone poked me with a stick every few seconds.

The stylized graphics were well done, with endearing, cartoonish breakdancers serving as my on-screen avatar. The music was great and even nicely integrated my button presses. Likewise, the puzzle game was an effective implementation of a common puzzle format. But the constant switching between the two genres ended up being jarring in Go! Go! Break Steady rather than synergistic.

Go! Go! Break SteadyThe game is not hard to complete – it requires a little concentration because of the time limit, but isn't staggeringly difficult if you have a little rhythm in your soul – the real challenge is in achieving really high scores. Go! Go! Break Steady rewards perfect rhythm and massive combos with even more massive scores to post on the online leaderboards.

The main game mode is the All City Tournament in which you have to play through five songs for each of the All City Crew's six team members. It certainly contains all the core play available in the game, but you can also construct custom play lists in Challenge mode or see how long you can last in Endurance mode. In Endurance mode, beatniks just keep filling the puzzle ring (with more types of beatniks as time goes on), until they fill the circle and end the game. The breakdancing (rhythm part of the game) doesn't seem to get any harder, but the difficulty of the puzzle game continues to increase. There are also competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, but it's hard to find an Xbox Live match, so these are pretty much reserved for the times when you and a friend both want to play on the same console.

Go! Go! Break Steady isn't an unholy construct on the level of Frankenstein's Monster, pieced together from the parts of dead criminal games, but it is an awkward combination of two different, but decently executed, games. As such, there are many better options on Xbox Live Arcade for your 800 points ($10).

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on August 16, 2008 10:12 PM.

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