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January 8, 2018 / Jett

Floor Kids Impressions

Floor Kids is a rhythm game about the art of breakdancing. Available on the Nintendo eShop, players will break it down to original music by DJ Kid Koala. Hip-hop video games are few and far between, but is this one worth trying based on its concept alone?

This is a rhythm game in which players control one of eight characters, each of whom have unique dance moves. You’ll dance to one of many songs in the game, performing moves by tapping to the beat, holding specific button combinations for stalls, or spinning the left analog stick for power moves. Unlike most titles in the genre, you’re not forced to follow a pre-set routine to mimic. Instead, you can string moves together in any order you like.

There are some clear pros to this approach. First and foremost, breakdancing is meant to be a free-flowing dance form that rewards creativity and improvisation. The open-ended nature of the gameplay is mindful of that. It’s cool to watch the animations of the different characters play out as you string together moves in any manner you choose. Backed by awesome music from Kid Koala, it’s a neat experience.

However, it also has some huge cons that hurt the gameplay experience. Due to how the game handles transitions between moves, I never felt like I was truly in control. When you input a new move, the game doesn’t transition into the new move until there’s a clean break in the animation. It keeps your dancer from looking uncoordinated, but it really makes you feel disconnected from the gameplay when your inputs aren’t immediately registered.

The other flaw in the open-ended game design is that it’s not particularly difficult or rewarding to gain a high score. Because there’s no set path, you can figure out one perfect routine that will earn you 5-stars on every song. On top of that, the simple act of performing moves makes the performing of dance moves to be trivial. Once I came to realize this, my motivation to play bottomed out.

Despite my adoration for the concept, look, and music of Floor Kids, its loose gameplay design greatly undermines its fun-factor. I understand why the designers and developers would make the game in such a way, as the open-ended scoring system better fits the spirit of freestyle breakdancing. I also get why the animation system doesn’t respond immediately to your inputs in order to make the dancers look great at all times. However, this, combined with the ease of performing moves makes for a game that is almost completely devoid of skill. In the end, I would rather watch a Floor Kids cartoon than play this.

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