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Red Bull BC One (DS) artwork

Red Bull BC One (DS) review

"Even if the simple gameplay were tweaked to its maximum amount of enjoyment, no link is established to the main attraction: breakdancing. Sure, if I refrain from moving the stylus, my tiny dancer will passively bob to a generic beat. And when I complete a shape, his silhouette in the background pulls off some random move in sync with his full figure up on the top screen. But I don't see how my triangles, pentagons, and dodecahedrons specifically translate into coin drops, belly swims, or airchairs. "

Red Bull BC One, the annual international individual breakdancing championships, generates enormous energy. Sixteen elite qualifiers gather from around the globe to show off their footwork, freezes, and power moves, but only one winner emerges from the single-elimination tournament. This DS software recognizes the competition's worldwide appeal by presenting a range of language options: English, Spanish, German, Italian, and French. But Red Bull BC One, the game, produces no such energy. Its straightforward connect-the-dots gameplay is completely divorced from the dynamic showmanship of breaking.

The game's self-described puzzle-oriented style starts with a smattering of dots on the touch screen. These points are different colors, and you're given roughly ten seconds to form as many shapes as you can by drawing lines between like objects without lifting the stylus. At first, there are only two types of points. In the end, it rises all the way to three varieties. Higher scores are awarded for larger shapes, with extra for connecting all homogeneous dots in a single polygon. Occasionally, you can pull in another bonus by only including a specified number of vertices. The small time frame actually makes it less interesting because it limits feasible tactics, especially in multiplayer (local multicard only). For later stages with groups in the teens, there's barely enough time to complete the biggest shapes, leaving no room for any real decision making.

A proper b-boy battle consists of a series of such screens; twelve in total with a minigame splitting the middle and capping the end. Those little breaks could have you tapping over the fast footprints of a dance pattern, coloring or tracing a tricky pose, or quickly drawing circles for a headspin. In addition to providing a respite, they're also an opportunity to inflate your score without the threat of losing. Any battle prematurely ends after three mistakes; these include connecting mismatched colors, treading over the same point twice, and eventually leaving a shape unfinished as time expires. The patterns aren't random; they're laid out the same every time you play a level. As congestion increases, though, these obstacles become slighty harder to avoid. Technically, you can also fail by finishing under your opponent's point threshold, with the final boss posting a cutoff of 50K. But that's a figure I obliterated on every single stage just by playing it safe. Given such minimal requirements, there's little suspense in the outcome.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't follow the structure of the actual tournament. Instead it sends your created competitor to challenge the fictional cream of different countries. Then you crash the championships to defeat the best of them again; there's a total of 36 battles. It further breaks from reality with its primitive, polygonal 3-D character models. Faces have no features, just sharp edges to project an aggressive attitude. A little more detail goes into the outfits, which you can alter along with body type. Fashion is a large part of b-boy culture, so it's great to slap on a backwards cap, wife-beater, and pull one pant leg up (either side!). The strangest selection has to be skin color, as it uses the same palette as the clothing. Your guy can really bleed the color of his crew.

Red Bull BC One just needs to hook the player within that same universe of devotion, but its simplistic gameplay blocks the connection. Sure, if I refrain from moving the stylus, my tiny dancer will passively bob to a generic beat, a rhythm that barely registers since it's not central to the task. And when I complete a shape, his silhouette in the background pulls off some random move in sync with his full figure up on the top screen. But I don't see how my triangles, pentagons, and dodecahedrons specifically translate into coin drops, belly swims, or airchairs. When the replay rolls, it's a loose collection of moves spliced together, not a cohesive routine for which I feel responsible. Upgrade the game's execution in every area, and this underlying flaw still kills this license.

woodhouse's avatar
Freelance review by Benjamin Woodhouse (October 06, 2008)

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Linkamoto posted October 09, 2008:

Ha! Interesting review. I had never even heard of this game before reading the review. Is it sold in the USA or am I just stupid? Anyways, I might play it just to see if it's as wretched as you make it sound, lol. Good review, though. You described connecting dots as well as anyone could. :)
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honestgamer posted October 09, 2008:

Did you not look at the game info in the column to the right of the review? This game was released in North America on September 16, 2008. There are links to buy it from and... I guess people just read the reviews and miss out on all the other awesome resources we provide. ;-;
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Linkamoto posted October 09, 2008:

I see that now, thanks.
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woodhouse posted October 09, 2008:

Thanks. At least you'll know what you're getting into if you decide to play it.
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EmP posted October 09, 2008:

mrmiyamoto -- not seen you around in a while.

Thanks for reviewing this Woodhouse. Now I don't have to.
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woodhouse posted October 09, 2008:

Haha, no problem.
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Linkamoto posted October 09, 2008:

Hey EmP, I'm surprised you remembered an insignificant guy like me. Nice overhaul to the site, when did that take effect?
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honestgamer posted October 09, 2008:

I remember you too, mrmiyamoto, and I hope we see you around here more often in the months ahead! The two-column design actually only happened a few weeks ago and is just a revision of the former three-column design, which I think was in effect the last time you posted. The change seems to have been for the best. People love having more space for the main column and I like the look myself (plus it gives nice exposure to our review content that people might have forgotten about).
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Linkamoto posted October 09, 2008:

Well thanks, Honestgamer. The reason I haven't been around much is because I've been wrapped up in an online shooter that shall remain unnamed. Needless to say, those online games really suck you in, even while they essentially give nothing back to you (outside of camaraderie with a number of folks, of course). So anyways, I'm giving the unnamed game up and jumping back into the world of single player games, the world that rewards you with different styles and modes of enjoyment. LOL
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henwib posted November 17, 2008:

This break dancing game challenges players to draw increasingly complex geometric shapes to bust out increasingly fresh dance moves.
Donít be fooled by the simple graphics (the graphics donít matter in this game) the gameplay is great.
For me itís an elaborate version of the traditional dot-dot paper and pen game which translates onto the DS platform very well, as you can imagine. I reccomend this to anyone who has time to burn on transport as each round is short and sweet.

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