Michael Jackson The Experience 3D – Review

Title: Michael Jackson The Experience 3D
Genre: Rhythm action
System: 3DS
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft

Michael Jackson The Experience 3D is a rhythm action game, where you slide, tap, flick and swish the stylus on the 3DS’ touch screen in time to the music. Not having played a game like this before on DS or 3DS, I was very interested to give this game a go; particularly as a Michael Jackson fan.

The game features 15 music ‘videos’, where you control Michael’s dance moves. All of the favourites are there, including Thriller, Beat It, Black or White, Speed Demon and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, as well as the more recent Hollywood Tonight from the album Michael, which was released after his death. It’s a good selection of tracks, with enough variation between each which means different combinations of moves to perform in each. They are full tracks too, not cut down ones like you get on Just Dance for example, so, as a fan, I found it a good, interactive, way to enjoy Jacko’s music.

Michael Jackson The Experience 3D - Review

Michael Jackson The Experience 3D - Dancing to Speed Demon with a rabbit

Each song plays out in the form of a simplified version of the song’s video. Consisting mostly of a fairly blocky but decent enough graphic of Michael Jackson dancing in front of one key scene from each video, they do also include different amounts of CG recreations of key scenes from those videos too, usually at the beginning and end, and sometimes in the middle of songs, which give you a little break from play. These segments are where the 3D is most effective in the game; I was particularly impressed with the Thriller video graphics as well as a rather amusing recreation of a young Macaulay Culkin in the rap part of Black or White.

Throughout the song you are required to tap or flick the stylus in a straight line as well as in a semi-circle or full circle in time with the indications on screen and the music of course. On Rookie mode this is fairly easy, but select Normal or Expert, once these options are unlocked with enough points, and you’ll be tapping and flicking the stylus all over the screen constantly. It can get a little confusing at times, with so much going on, but I was impressed with how doing these simple movements ‘matched’ the music and on-screen moves that were being performed. And I was also pleased to note that this is first game I’ve used the stylus in game for controls on the 3DS.

If you can perform these ‘moves’ in time well enough as you play, you’ll clock up points and combos, which means better scores. Each song includes Freestyle elements where you can perform any of the moves in your own sequence to get bonus points too. The Medium and Expert difficulty levels means more moves to perform (and miss!) and more points to gain too; get good enough scores and you’ll unlock extra elements of the original music video for the next time you play, trophies and outfits for Michael to wear in game. Unlock Gloves and you can equip Michael with them before you play to get even higher scores. It’s all about the points!

Obviously an important factor in this type of game, I was pleased to hear that the music quality, as well as the sound effects in the menus, is good. Music is not something you can really appreciate with the 3DS’ rather lame speakers, I decided to plug in a pair of headphones to my 3DS for the first time since owning it too. I noticed the compression on the quality, but was still very impressed.

Michael Jackson The Experience 3D - Review

The required moves appear around the edge of the screen

This is a good game, better than I was expecting, that is fun to play for a while. If you like to work for high scores and to unlock stuff, you’ll get good replay value from it too. Otherwise, once you’ve had a few goes on each song and that initial appeal has worn off you may not get much out of it. Multi-player would have been nice to extend the longevity and, whilst the selection of songs is good, it could always be better, considering the vast catalogue of songs. Sure, the size of the game cartridge limits the number of songs, but it’s the perfect example of a game that would benefit from DLC.

My recommendation, if your a Michael Jackson fan, is to get it, especially as it’s available online for less than £10. If you’re not, it’s a great example of a rhythm action game if you like that sort of thing, but the minimal selection of songs may not be for you.

Wes’ score: 7/10

2nd Opinion: Katy
Fun rhythm game for fans of MJ, with a great recreation of the Thriller video. However, if you’re not a total devotee of the King of Pop, fish Elite Beat Agents [DS] out of the bargain bins first. 6/10

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