When you think about gaming's history with breakdancing, only one game of note comes to mind -- B-Boy, a 12-year-old PS2 game. It's a bit of a shame, really, as this expressive form of dance slots rather nicely into the framework of a rhythm game. Floor Kids is the latest attempt to marry breaking with gaming, and it does so with some degree of success. However, despite the varied nature of the dance, the title quite quickly becomes repetitive.
With no real story to speak of, the game's main mode sees you throwing down at various locations in order to unlock more venues and build up your crew of dancers. Each place is threaded together with some abstract conceptual jargon about finding the flow and sharing your energy, which should tell you all you need to know about the sort of vibe the game is shooting for. After earning enough crowns from each song, you can move onto the next set until you eventually perform at a world peace summit, obviously.
The main attraction here is the music, and how you can move to it. Each character has their own set of moves, which are broken down into four categories: toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes. As each of the tunes play out, you need to keep moving in time to the beat, but it's also important to add as much variety to your dance as you can. The controls are fairly straightforward, but there's always enough to think about that there's a degree of skill involved in getting everything right.
You'll always start breaking in your character's toprock stance. Tapping any of the face buttons in time with the music will perform one of the four moves in that category. Flick the left stick down to enter downrock, where the face buttons will produce four more moves. Power moves are performed by rotating the left stick in either direction, and holding R1 while you do will provide alternatives. To do a freeze, hold a face button and the left stick in the corresponding direction -- triangle and up, for example. You simply need to keep the rhythm going and ensure you're changing up your dance as the song plays out.
At the halfway point and the very end of each tune, a chorus section will come into play. Here, you need to match notes to the beat, followed by a sequence of button mashing. Each song has a different chorus, and completing them with few or no mistakes can generate big bonus points. You can also get bonuses for performing dance moves requested from the crowd. Your eventual score is broken down into various sections that are somewhat ambiguous. Essentially, you're scored on variety, rhythm, and flow -- not falling over, or leaving big gaps in your routine. The breakdancing system is enjoyable to use and fun to watch, thanks to the sketchy, hand drawn art style. There's a degree of freedom as to how you dance that will keep you coming back to try and improve your score.
However, there are a couple of things that stop the game from being more than a curiosity. The music, some of which is great, is all the same tempo, and every song has those two chorus segments. While the tunes themselves are distinct, it ultimately feels like you're playing the same one over and over again. Add to this the fact that you can pull off any move in the game with the same inputs, regardless of the character, and it quite quickly begins to falter. Each dancer has differing stats and unique movesets, but once you're confident with how the game plays, it doesn't really matter who you pick -- it's all the same.
A local two-player versus mode is a good inclusion that's a fun alternative. You take turns to throw some shapes for a few bars, and when you're not dancing, you can taunt in order to build up a Burn meter. Once full, you can fire a burn at your opponent, and if they fail to block it, they'll crash to the floor. It's an entertaining mode, but it suffers from the same fundamental problems as the main game; with no real change in difficulty, it's unlikely to hold your attention.
Floor Kids is a stylish and fun breakdancing title, with an intuitive control scheme and unique look and feel. There's a good chance you'll enjoy its scribbly presentation and Kid Koala's tracks, but the game unfortunately comes apart after a few hours of play. With no real increase in challenge, repetitive music, and lack of variety in the cast of characters, there's little reason to keep playing once you get to grips with it. There's plenty to like here, but there's just not quite enough of a game here to keep most engaged in its fun, freeform gameplay.