Shake What Your Mama Gave You

On paper Elite Beat Agents looks ridiculous and not-at-all fun.  You are a part of a top secret government agency.  How do you fight to save truth, justice and the American way?  Not by solving mysteries or catching the bad guy, but by dancing.  And how do you make your onscreen agent dance?  By tapping circles and drawing lines with your stylus.  Wow.  Good times.

Don’t let the description fool you, though.  Elite Beat Agents is an addictive, challenging and, most importantly, fun rhythm game.  The moment I started the helpful tutorial, I knew I was in for something different.  The scenes setting up each mission flash across both of the screens in comic book-esque panels and with a similar art style.  The mission storylines are funny and mostly ridiculous, with the exception of one story about a little girl’s dad who died, which is sort of a downer.  The music that accompanies the tales is excellent, primarily poppy fair.  My personal favorites are a ninja car designer (“Canned Heat”) and a thinly disguised reference to the Hilton sisters (“Material Girl”).  (Nintendo has a fun, albeit biased, opinion of the stories and the game in general).

The game grows steadily in difficulty, so I never really had a frustrating, “I cannot do this” moment.  Also, the songs are so great that even if I did do a bad job on a level, I didn’t mind replaying for a higher score.  You don’t even have to watch the mission set-up again since there is a skip option (although they’re so entertaining, I watched them a few times).

Great music, graphics and plots aside, the crux of all rhythm games is how well what you’re doing with your stylus (or controller or guitar) syncs up with the music.  The good news here is that the music and game play completely jive.  I found myself tapping my foot to keep the beat and bouncing along to the tunes.  And here lies the only downside to this game.  I had purchased this title mainly as a way to listen to music and play a video game at work, but since I can’t seem to play this game without gyrating (I won’t call it dancing), I have to keep Elite Beat Agents at home, which is a shame because up to four people can play together over Wifi.  Oh the times we could have.

While I can’t recommend the multiplayer since I haven’t tried it, I can say that if you’re looking for a solo rocking good time, get Elite Beat Agents

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