But is it floorless?
I’ll go on record as saying that my knowledge of breakdancing is limited to Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo and whatever nonsense X-Factor puts out each year. I do, however, consider myself rather well versed when it comes to rhythm games (in spite of having no rhythm). I spent far too much time playing Rock Band and its ilk, putting numerous hours into Audiosurf, and I consider Gitaroo Man to be brilliantly mad. I’m always on the lookout for new, interesting rhythm action games, and I found myself immediately drawn to Floor Kids for its interesting art style and the fact that breakdancing games are rare at best.
The premise is simple! Go to different venues around the city and dance to different songs to earn crowns. Earning enough crowns unlocks new characters to play as and new venues to visit with a fresh set of tracks. Each character has their own dance moves and combos to pull off to earn higher scores, as well as different stats which lead to higher or lower point values for different dance styles. The venues have three different tracks, with five crowns to earn in each by earning a high enough score. I found progression very rapid, and I was able to unlock the next dancer and venue without having to replay any tracks (save for wanting to get a higher score for my own amusement).
Gameplay is also very simple, with dancing split into four styles: Toprock (dancing on your feet), Downrock (dancing on your back and such), Power (spins) and Freeze. Tapping any face button in time to the music does a Toprock move (a different move for each button). Pressing down on the left stick and tapping a button to the music performs a Downrock move. Spinning the left stick either way does a Power move, whilst holding the stick in a direction and holding a button does a Freeze. Moves can be modified with the shoulder buttons, tweaking spins or striking poses for extra points. Combining certain moves in order also nets you extra points (with each character having their own combos) as well as regularly performing different moves. Twice during each song there are sections in which you have to press buttons with specific rhythm, earning more points for greater accuracy. These are the only challenging parts of the song, really, as timings can get rather tricky in later songs.
I had fun playing the songs, but Floor Kids’ gameplay is a bit too simplistic. You find yourself following the same pattern of moves in each song, regardless of the track. There’s really no reason to switch characters save for seeing some different moves or combos (which all function the same way). It might have been nice if each venue had its own character you had to play as to have you learn different combos on the fly, only letting you select any character upon completing the track with a certain number of crowns. Why can you not create a character and unlock moves to add to their “Breakdeck” (move list) as the game progresses? There just isn’t much depth here.
Visually, the game is gorgeous. Each character has a distinct style, with brightly coloured clothing that makes them really stand out from the background. The backgrounds themselves are very detailed. featuring plenty of other characters (including ones you can unlock) as well as various happenings unrelated to your dancing. Subway trains speed past and people play on nearby arcade machines, meaning each environment is different and seems alive. The overall art style has a very hand-drawn and hand-coloured look to it which really makes everything pop, whilst the animations are excellent. I really can’t fault this aspect of the game. It’s genuinely something stunning.
The music, whilst not my genres of choice, is also very good. Every venue has its own sound over the three tracks, and whilst they aren’t ones that I found particularly memorable, they certainly fit the game world and its dance styles very well. Songs’ rhythms were fairly easy to follow for the most part, and it felt great getting dance moves to appear on the screen with the right timing. The most memorable parts of each song were the sections that demanded a specific rhythm. They were very catchy, sounded great and were a nice way to break up dancing sections with something demanding focus. It’s not music I would listen to myself, but if you’re into this sort of music then the original soundtrack may well be something to enjoy.
Also included in the package is a one-on-one multiplayer mode which is quite enjoyable. It plays very much like the main game, with each player getting to do two dancing segments in turn as well as the timing sections together. The non-dancing player can tap in time to the music to build up their “Burn meter”, which lets you attack the dancer and knock them over. This can be blocked with a well-timed shield, but might break their rhythm. All the songs and characters from the main game are available, and winners are decided based, unsurprisingly, on highest score. This was quite fun to play, but I wish the sessions were longer, or that you could set songs up to play back to back rather than having to head back to the menu. The simplicity of the game works really well here, though, as my four-year-old was able to play a couple of songs with me and have a good time doing it. I get the feeling that this is where I may spend a little bit of time every now and then.
Floor Kids is a good, albeit simplistic, game. In terms of accessibility, it’s absolutely great, being easy to get into and have a good time. I wish the single player had a bit more depth to it; creating your own dancer with their own moveset which you build up over the game could have been great fun rather than simply going from track to track. As it stands, it’s a fun game to play in short bursts here and there, particularly in multiplayer. If you’re in the market for a light and somewhat unique rhythm game, then you can do far worse than this.