Check yourself before I wreck this game.
Amazingly, the world of competitive break dancing can now be enjoyed via connect-the-dots on the DS, and here I thought it was all just baggy pants and attitude. To say that Red Bull BC One betrays the lifestyle it purports to represent would be an understatement. This dull and perplexing musical-puzzle game falls flat on its ass to a resounding chorus of boos.
[image1]Red Bull BC One is the name of an actual international break dancing competition, but you wouldn’t know it from this game’s presentation. A short, grainy video before the title screen shows you some snippets of action, which is never recreated in the game itself. Instead, your focus is on the bottom touch screen where you have to play agonizing bouts of connect-the-dots for 5-10 seconds at a time, while a polygonal dancer makes unrelated moves on the top screen.
It’s impossible to enjoy the actual dancing for even a second because the lower screen demands that you pay full attention to the abstract dots and lines. I found myself making up names for the dance moves I imagined were being performed—The Twisty Chicken, The Mackin’ Grandma—because otherwise, these moves could only be described with names like The Square, The Triangle, and The Hexagon.
It’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that like breakdancing, the timed versions of connect-the-dots found in Red Bull BC One require a combination of both speed and precision. A monkey juggling bananas on a unicycle would also require speed and precision, and it would have made about as much sense to throw that into this game as well.
[image2]Think about it – Red Bull BC One manages to suck the fun out of connect the dots. You’re not tracing an actual image – just simple polygons, over and over again. The dancers you "compete against" are also devoid of personality, except for a splash of spiky red hair or a backwards baseball cap. With little to go on besides a first name, and some generic "trash talk" that serves only as filler, these dancers are totally lifeless.
In each of the seven cookie-cutter locations around the world (I never knew France could look so much like Korea could look so much like New York could look so much like…), you’ll face off against four of these bland punks. An eighth location, the Red Bull BC One competition, requires you to fight eight battles, but at least by this point, the simple shapes have become clustered closer together, which provides a slight bit of challenge.
A typical round will consist of a couple of minutes of shape-tracing, with a few additional mini-games scattered throughout. These mini-games include tapping a highlighted portion of the screen, flicking the stylus in one direction, or filling in a dancer’s outline with spray paint. These rainy-day activities were apparently designed for children or breakdancers who have fallen on their heads too many times.
[image3]The one and only saving grace in this devastatingly simple game is the music. The scratches and beats that permeate every second of this game are actually enjoyable, even if nothing exists to sync together the audio and gameplay besides your own wild imagination. You could tap along to the music for the hell of it, but your actions don’t influence the soundtrack at all.
Once you beat the main game, you can replay the levels for a higher score and unlock a few bonus mini-games. Several of these are not worth the effort, however, and the main game is a chore to replay. Not even the character customization is worth playing with more than once, since the plain-looking styles of these blocky figures varies so little.
Instead of a timing-based rhythm game, which has worked well in the past for DS music games like Elite Beat Agents, Red Bull BC One went down the most shallow route possible. The result is an utter time-waster, with decent music that wont make you forget that you’re playing a less-amusing version of kindergarten busywork. Do yourself a favor—just watch YouTube clips of some real B-boys dancing, and while they’re dancing, go ahead and draw basic geometric shapes in MS Paint if you want – either way, you’ll spare yourself the pain of having to play this ridiculous game.