Red Bull BC One is large breakdancing championship in which sixteen b-boys match against each other to see who is the best. It is also a Nintendo DS game about breakdancing and connect-the-dots.
I'm not really sure where to go from there. Normally I'd talk about breakdancing. Unfortunately, the experience I have with this form of expression is limited to commercials for movies about the craze. I'm not even entirely sure if that hyphen should be in between 'break' and 'dancing'. But when I got this game, it was up to me to figure out what was going on in the world of 'b-boys' and 'hip beats', as the kids say.
Luckily, aside from the premise, Red Bull BC One doesn't actually have anything to do with breakdancing. Yes, this confused me a little. There I was, cap tilted to the side, brand-name clothing strewn across me, ready to be immersed in a world, but this was not what I was presented with. Let me explain.
When you begin, you're prompted to create a character. This includes customization of the face, hair, clothing, even skin tone (which ranges from plain white to bright green, for whatever reason). Then you're given the option of a tutorial - which I recommend - and begin. Each match pits you against a fellow b-boy, in a contest to see who can get the most points. You're given a set number of turns in which to do this, and a certain amount of turn in which to pull off moves.
At the beginning of each turn, a number of coloured dots appear on the touch screen. They usually appear in groups of two or three colors, often interspersed with each other. To get points, you need to connect the dots of similar colors without running either into dots of different colors or dots that you've already selected. Once a pattern is formed, you receive points. Hit a dot that you're not allowed to, however, and you lose one of your three lives. Lose all three and you're out.
Create a pattern that involves all the dots of a particular color, and you'll get a perfect, which gives you bonuses to your score. But even if you've made patterns using all the dots on the screen, you can create more patterns to add to your score. Just watch out that you don't make a mistake. When you unlock 'Pro Mode', having your turn end with a still-unfinished pattern also means that you lose your life. Once the match ends, if you have enough points, you win.
That's not all, though. Each match has a few minigames interspersed between the rounds to break them up. These games are pretty simple tasks that result in quick reflexes and a quicker stylus, such as filling in a white silhouette using spray paint, connecting dots in order to form an outline around a picture, or even just spinning a circle back and forth as the game prompts you. They're not especially difficult, but the points they give you do help.
So, notice through all of my description, through the dots and the minigames, that I've yet to mention breakdancing at all. Yes, the minigames have silhouettes of breakdancers, and as you connect the dots, you see your customized model dancing in the background, but it doesn't really make a difference. There's nothing wrong with the mechanics themselves; in fact, I found them interesting to use, something I hadn't seen before. It was just a question of: why? When you're dealing with a name-brand sponsored event such as the Red Bull BC One, why would you settle with game mechanics that are so detached from the actual act of breakdancing?
Regardless, there are a number of gameplay modes for you to practice your skills in. The first, Career mode, is the most prominent and is how you unlock various clothing options and minigames. In it, you'll go to different venues across the world to beat other breakdancers. After four matches, you'll move on to another location. In Free mode, you can replay any match from your Career in order to improve its score and unlock more character customization options. You can also replay minigames and go through the tutorial if you so desire. If you want, you can also battle someone else who owns the game in wireless multiplayer.
The graphics aren't too impressive to look at, and since you'll be staring at a series of dots for the majority of the game, they don't matter anyway. The audio is the part that surprises me. In a game about expressing yourself rhythmically to music, it's questionable why the music is so drab. There aren't any noteworthy tunes or beats in this game; each of the rhythms that play in the backgrounds sound similar to each other.
Overall, while the connect-the-dots mechanic in this game is decent enough, I'm not really sure if it warrants an entire game based around it. Selling the entire game around this one mechanic makes it feel a little repetitive, and neither the clothing customization nor the minigames do enough to deepen the experience. When it comes to video games about breakdancing, there isn't exactly much choice, but Red Bull BC One is just not the game to begin a trend.