Preview: The Black Eyed Peas Experience

I don’t know what has come over me. I dislike the Black Eyed Peas with such intensity it can almost be classified as a hobby. There aren’t enough hours in the day to make fun of, or the dude who plays Fergie (never seen in the same room at the same time as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m just saying), or apl-de-apl-de-apl-de-apl-de-ap, or the other guy with the board game name (Yahtzee? Scattergories? Balderdash? TABOO! That’s the one).

And yet—AND YET—iNiS and Ubisoft’s The Black Eyed Peas Experience is…oh god I can’t believe I’m writing this…so. much. fun.

I’m not even kidding. I have played a solid handful of dancing games (not as many as some, but enough), and this is the most enjoyable one yet. The graphics are sparkly and rich, the dances are easy to learn while still feeling like a challenge, even the music is oddly enjoyable—say what you will about Black Eyed Peas songs (and I’ve said a lot in my time), but they fit the context of a dancing game like a damn glove.

So how does this game stack up against Kinect’s other big dance title, Dance Central? Well, apart from the obvious issue of lacking variety in the music, it is just as good if not better. Being able to see a silhouette of the whole dance move in action, instead of just a static pose, makes picking up the moves a lot easier. The on-screen response to your participation is more obvious—rather than just having a body part light up red or green, if you don’t dance the move, neither does your avatar; but if you get it right, you match the Peas perfectly. Significant body parts (tips of fingers, feet, etc.) sparkle during certain dances to draw your attention to what should and shouldn’t be gyrating. And even the representation of the Peas themselves is impressive, with, Fergie, Appletini and Mousetrap all in their Sunday finest, dancing up a storm. They’re so lifelike you can almost see the pee running down Fergie’s leg.

But most importantly, the dances look and feel great. Obviously there’s no way you look as classy as the figures on screen, but the point is you feel like maybe you do. And that’s all I look for—not just in a game, but in life itself: the illusion of me looking good.

This game is an absolute surprise gem, and will also be released for the Nintendo Wii to boot. I look forward to November.