- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher/Developer: Merj Media
- Number of Players: 1-2 (Local)
One of the true joys of being a Switch owner this year is getting to experience the wide variety of games available. Indie games in particular have opened up plenty of experiences, both familiar and new. Floor Kids definitely takes the crown for fresh new experiences. Being a mix of rhythm games and stuff like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Floor Kids is able to combine the two genres in a beautiful and fluid package.
Gameplay: Floor Kids is one of those games that you can pick up, get right into, and have a great time. As the game goes on, however, you will need to build on what you have learned and consistently improve your skills to see the end. The game never comes off as frustrating but it does reward you for paying attention and learning all the moves by offering score boosting combos and more advanced moves.
There are eight locations to dance in, each boasting three original Kid Koala songs, and dancing during each song awards you 1-5 “crowns”. As you earn crowns, you unlock the other venues. There are also eight characters, but you don’t have immediate access to all of them. You pick one of the 8 dancers as your starting character, each with their own look and sets of moves, and the others will have to be unlocked.
The game uses a card system to mark who you have unlocked as well as how many of the individual character moves you have performed. Unlocked characters will randomly appear in the audience and if your performance is three crowns or above, you get one of four cards needed to unlock them. If your performance is especially good with lots of combos you might get more than one card. You also have a crowd watching you at each venue. They will shout out requests from time to time for a certain kind of move. If you complete that move within a time limit you bet a score bonus, so watch out for requests!
There is also a multiplayer mode where two dancers face off taking turns dancing while the other tries to sabotage your performance. As one player does their moves, the other taps the buttons to the beat to fill up a burn meter. Once the meter is full, a fireball can be launched that knocks the dancer down flat and takes precious time away from scoring. The dancer can block by pressing L+R to form a shield for a split second but timing is crucial. Adding this gameplay element in, along with trying to combo moves and it takes some serious skill.
Controls: The control scheme is truly where the game shines. Each character has 16 moves and these are divided into four categories;
- Toprock, which are standing moves. These four moves are performed by simply hitting each individual face button.
- Downrock, which are floor moves. These four moves are done by press down on the control stick as you tap each of the face buttons.
- Power, which are spin moves. These moves are done by rotating the control stick either clockwise or counter-clockwise then you can change them by hitting the R button in addition to the rotating of the control stick.
- Freeze, which are elaborate handstand-like moves. These moves are done by pushing the control stick in the same direction as the corresponding face button. For example: for one move you would push up on the stick while hitting the x button or pushing left while pushing y. You can hold these moves for more points but don’t take too long as you can fall over and mess up your flow or score.
Each character’s moves are slightly different despite using the same control scheme. They vary in speed and execution and you will have to learn their timing to be truly effective.
In the middle and end of each song there are also rhythm sections where you have to tap to the beat then speed tap as fast as you can. These start off pretty simple in the first venue but it does not take long for the rhythms to become more complex and tougher to hit properly.
Graphics: The game features a very unique art style featuring colorful scratchy pencil like visuals with fantastic character designs. The animation of the game is truly top notch and it flows beautifully from move to move. It’s as smooth as butter and it truly is a joy to watch. Only once or twice did I see any stutter between moves but it was very minor. The first time you see it in motion you can’t help but be mesmerized.
Music/Sound: Featuring over 30 new tracks from alternative hip hop artist Kid Koala, the games style and overall feel is dictated by the super catchy beats. You will be hearing these songs a lot as you unlock crowns, try to beat scores, and out dance your friends and they never get old. Sometimes I would replay venues just to hear certain songs. The soundtrack of Floor Kids is truly refreshing.
Floor Kids Review Summary: Mixing two technical genres like rhythm and trick style games could have been a disaster. Thankfully the developers managed to perfectly marry the two styles into a unique gameplay experience. The great animation and fantastic beats will certainly draw you in, but it’s the addictive gameplay that will keep you coming back. I give Floor Kids my highest recommendation!
- Amazing style and animation
- 30+ great cuts by Kid Koala
- Buttery-smooth gameplay
- Just as much fun to watch as play
- Easy to pick up, difficult to master
- A couple of very minor performance issues
- My son keeps beating the pants off of me
- OK, seriously, I’m having trouble coming up with cons
Disclaimer: A digital copy of the game was provided by Merj Media for review purposes.