This isn’t a disaster. The note matching and puzzle elements both work well, and the game is quite addictive. The main single-player mode features six characters, each with five tracks to get through, and as you move through characters, scenarios and difficulty levels the game throws in some tricky sequences and some nasty ‘chords’ (where you need to press two buttons simultaneously) and trigger or D-pad buttons. There’s not an awful lot of variety to the gameplay, but there is a sense of progression and a meaty challenge. Plus, when the main competition is over, there’s still an endurance mode (survive for as long as you can before the beatniks get you) and multiplayer modes, though sadly a lack of any games running prevented me from checking these out.
The visuals, meanwhile, do a great job of turning some not really all that cool when you think about it gameplay concepts into something fun, funky and appealing. The backgrounds are simple, but the dancers are full of character and well animated, and even the DJs have a bit of personality. As with the best Flash games (which Go! Go! Break Steady sometimes resembles) it’s a fine example of how some quality illustration and visual nouse can make up for a lack of technical wizardry.
Go! Go! Break Steady is an enjoyable Live Arcade title and a refreshing change from the usual diet of retro shooters and puzzle games on the service. Microsoft often likes to waffle on about how its casual games can appeal to a wider audience outside the 360’s hardcore shooter, RPG and racing game-obsessed fanbase, and this game seems ideal for that and may go down well with the post-pub gaming crowd.
All the same, it still feels rather slight and while we can expect some song DLC to extend its lifespan, I can’t see that helping expand the game’s limited long-term appeal that much. After all, the music isn’t really the point as it is with, say, Guitar Hero anyway. Given the low price, you could do much worse than splash out on Go! Go! Break Steady and enjoy an evening or two of entertainment with your friends, but it’s not quite an essential Arcade hit.
A quirky and engaging mix of rhythm action and puzzle gameplay with some nice stylised graphics – it’s just a little too slight to be a must-have Arcade download.