The Black Eyed Peas Experience is upon us, and you know what that means – time to lace up those dancing shoes…and um, well…hit up Wikipedia. Who are those other guys in the group? You know, the ones who aren’t Fergie and Will.i.am?
Actually, why hit up Wikipedia when you can get that all-important information from Saturday Night Live?
Glad we cleared that up.
In all seriousness, iNiS’ The Black Eyed Peas Experience is quite fun…under the right circumstances. Super big pro-tip: avoid the “Career” mode at all costs. After a rather enjoyable avatar customisation experience, where you can pick a virtual-you and change up their clothes and features…you get to choose a song to dance to, and then dance to it four times in a row.
Yep. Choosing “Let’s Get It Started” means you get to dance to it four times in a row. The first three dance sessions for the song are called “Steps 1-3”, and in each you get to learn one-third of the overall moves for the song. Once you’ve nailed those sessions, the fourth go is the whole song with all of the moves.
If you couldn’t tell from my tone, it’s teeth-pulling frustrating.
That’s especially so when you realise that the best thing about The Black Eyed Peas Experience is that it’s REALLY EASY to learn its dance moves. This is because the “next move” indicator at the top of the screen actually has an animation of the entire move, not just a static image like Dance Central. In addition to placing a Black Eyed Pea on screen, doing the moves that you have to mirror (like DC), The BEP Experience also has your avatar on-screen performing the moves that you LITERALLY have to perform. Don’t get it yet? Think of it this way: if Fergie raises her left arm on the screen, you have to move your right. If your avatar raises his left arm, he’s got his back to you, so you ALSO raise your left arm. With more complex moves, my brain freaks out and just shuts down when it comes to mirroring. That problem is eliminated when I can look at my avatar and copy him exactly, motion for motion.
Just like The Michael Jackson Experience, you can treat the game as a karaoke machine. The problem with this mode was that I couldn’t sing and dance to songs like I did with Jacko; Kinect refused to pick up my voice and forced me to use a Lips wireless microphone instead (FYI: I put in The MJ Experience just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy). If you have four people in your house, I guess it would be a bit more enjoyable to have two people singing and two people dancing. Alone, it gets a bit boring just sitting there on the couch warbling. That’s most likely because I don’t know BEP songs nearly as well as I do Michael Jackson ones, so signing becomes a bit of a chore.
That same problem is really the crux of the whole game: while I’m sure we all love a few choice BEP songs, I don’t think many of us would consider ourselves die-hard fans. This is a very niche title that caters to those who REALLY like the Black Eyed Peas. That’s a real shame, because the “Party” mode is great fun; no messing about, no practicing over and over, just dancing (and feeling like you’re doing it well, to boot!) to some BEP songs that you do enjoy. Trust me on this: from the track list, there’s bound to be a couple songs that you’ll like.
Overall, the game is very enjoyable if you approach it in the right way. The gameplay mechanics are very good; The BEP Experience’s core, applied to a selection of pop from various artists, would easily surpass Dance Central as my number one dancing game. The game is perfect for BEP fans (duh), or dance fanatics who just want a great Kinect experience. Ubisoft, iNiS — make a 2012 Top 20 Experience and you’ll easily get my cash. You’ll probably want to pick a better title than I just did, though.