I have never, ever been a B-Boy in my life but what I have always been is a fan of the rhythm genre in games. While nothing can ever replace the pinnacle era of Guitar Hero, games outside of that peripheral genre like Lumines and Aaero still resonate with me in their own ways. Floor Kids from Merj Media is the latest entry into the genre, and is a totally unique one at that. Taking the flair and musical styles of breakdancing with a gameplay twist reminiscent of the Tony Hawk series, Floor Kids is a fun game that embraces creativity and style above all else. Across 24 tracks, players get to embrace funky tunes and even funkier beats, and it is super fun.
Again, as a fan of the genre, I was on board immediately once I caught wind of Floor Kids. Though I thought the concept and seemingly free-form gameplay may be hard to grasp, I had hoped my experiences with Tony Hawk, Dance Dance Revolution, and Guitar Hero would all have some kind of transition into my skills on the virtual dancefloor. Thankfully the controls give you a nice set of variable options that allow you to be creative without making it overwhelming. There are four basic move styles: Top Rock, Down Rock, Power, and Freeze. Top Rock is when you perform from a standing position, Down Rock is performing from the floor, Power moves are spin moves, and Freeze moves are solitary positions that can be held for a short amount of time. Each style of move offers 4 varied moves within the set, totaling for a combination of 16 moves per character. How you weave these together is where the creativity comes to play, which can also earn you more points if you know your way around the floor. Not only can you combo certain moves for characters, but the crowd will also request certain styles of moves to be performed. It’s also about keeping things fresh, which is an actual metric for how you score under the category “Flavor”.
Flavor is one of five scoring units that you will be graded on, joined by Funk, Flow, Fire, and Flyness. The five F’s will keep you on and off your toes, making you think outside of one realm. Funk is how well you keep up with the beat, Flow see’s how smoothly you transition into combos and remain active, and Fire is how well you respond to crowd requests (in addition to the fresh aspect of Flavor, where you should try new moves often.) Flyness actually measures another subset of your moves, which is advance techniques. In addition to the basic moves, you can actually do additional pieces on top of them. For instance, during Freeze’s you can jump, or during Top/Bottom Rock you can hold your position and do poses. These give you extra points and allow you to progress in this grading scale even further. There are also two breakdowns each song that have you stop actively dancing and instead, act in a quick-time-event of sorts where you must tap to the beat using meter on screen. These test your ability to stay on key and then let you rapidly hit buttons as fast as you can without the need for matching keys so you can earn a bit more score.
All of this can be experienced in multiplayer in addition to the solo career-style mode. All tracks and venues are present for the head to head dance-offs, and they are presented in a great way. I thought we would be going toe-to-toe at the same time, but true to real breakdance battles, it is turn-based. Someone starts, has their time, then makes way for the competitor to try their hand on the floor. This is done twice, with the quick-time breakdown following each session. It’s a fun way to get a friend involved, and while competitive, it is most certainly friendly. I found myself encouraging the other players joining me as opposed to actively outshine them. It is definitely a welcome addition.
With style being the name of the game, it is no surprise that they nailed it when it comes to having their own, unique look and sound. The scribble-doodle style graphics make the game feel so approachable and fun, making sure that creativity is the key focal point and reminding the player to never take themselves too seriously. The game is easily approachable by nature, never downing the player for failing and the graphical style only furthers that feeling. There are 8 unique characters, each with different stats, looks, and back stories that bring more of that Floor Kids flair out. The 20 plus tracks you get to play, produced by DJ Kid Koala, tie everything up. All sounds as it should, and there are some damn catchy tracks in the game (check out Pinballer for sure).
Floor Kids is unique, and one of the most easily approachable games to come out of 2017. With a great look and even better gameplay, fans of the music rhythm genre should definitely try this gem out. While I don’t think it has much lasting appeal outside of the base run through, I do think it is put together well. It looks, sounds, and runs great, and is just a really charming title. If you have the pep in your step and are ready to show the world your moves, break out the sneaks’ and get to poppin’!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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