As my Switch library’s grown I started to feel like something was missing. Every one of my favorite genres was represented in some way except for one crucial piece: a rhythm game. There were options, sure — and nothing against them — but it wasn’t until Floor Kids threw down its boombox and introduced itself at the last Nindies showcase that I knew I had a winner. Doubly so now that I’ve hit the streets and kicked to the beats for a fun, no-stress music based offering I can take wherever the music takes me.

Make yourself seen and heard

Style and flow’s the name of the game here, emphasized first and foremost by the sketched out visuals. Animator and illustrator JonJon manages to make these simple characters shine, giving them personality and flair with the visuals alone. The story is simple, having you assemble a crew of dancers by hitting various city spots and impressing the crowds. As you play, you’ll pull off different dance moves with button and stick combinations. Your score goes up by doing well, rewarding players for tapping to the beat, performing character-specific combos and pulling off certain types of moves in response to crowd callouts.

Even when you play the same song again, callouts might be different meaning you gotta think on your feet to pull off the best performance. The fact there’s no one, single way to dance through a song elevates the game considerably and makes for something I wanted to refine. Developing routines for a given song both for the highest score and biggest sense of style gives plenty of replayability for those won over, though if you’re just here to “finish” the game you might be missing the point.

Represent and show ‘em what you got

The game’s built itself on the ideas of bringing your skills, building your crew and finding your style. Even with the story being a fun way to unlock everything, where those concepts come to life is in multiplayer. Dance battles make almost everything better, and Floor Kids manages to continue that trend. Players will take turns stepping throughout a single song, though the player not currently dancing has a chance to dis and burn their rival both for bonus points and to throw off their groove. It’s a simple addition but it keeps players involved even when they aren’t kickin’ it themselves.

It’s in this mode that Floor Kids reaches its real potential. Existing somewhere between a rhythm and fighting game, it combines these genres with all the highlighted presentation to create a real delight. Even with characters to unlock and songs to learn, the game can feel somewhat shallow once all’s said and done. The replayability that comes from being able to face off (and show off) has taken what would’ve been a fun couple of hours into a must-play during get togethers with friends.

Gotta find the beat again when your misstep

My greatest criticism here is that while visually the moves I perform are distinct, my choice of technique never really felt impactful. For combos, predetermined for each of the game’s characters, sure. But beyond these three or four move-long strings there was no real rhyme or reason. There are stat lines for the characters that lead to them specializing in certain types of moves over others, but even this felt somewhat minimal.

Arguably, this allows a greater sense of freedom when it comes to playing, which I can respect, but the minimal amount of feedback I was getting lead to some moments when I ended up zoning out a little. Luckily, the animations and music always managed to quickly snap me back in during these moments.

 

 
That said, there wasn’t a whole lot to differentiate one song from another as far as gameplay goes. Songs don’t really get harder, score thresholds just get higher and expect you to familiarize yourself with some of the extra techniques you wouldn’t be aware of if you don’t check the menus. Once I discovered these and put them into practice, it opened up a few more options while playing and had some new animations attached, but didn’t exactly shape up the gameplay experience.

Rise up with your crew, never stop being you

These few flaws aside, Floor Kids is everything I wanted it to be. With a style and rhythm all its own, it manages to give you the moves to express yourself on the dance floor while pushing you to craft a stylish set that flows just as strongly as its tailor-made soundtrack. The buttery smooth animation and iconic visuals tie this mix all together, making it easy to convince friends to join your crew and dance it out in multiplayer. The presentation is one of my favorites in the eShop, and with just a little tightening I feel the gameplay can rise up, back up that swagger, and truly find itself.

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8.0
  • Fantastic presentation from both Jonjon’s art and animation and Kid Koala’s sound work
  • Easy to understand gameplay that offers players a means of self expression without much hassle
  • Really lends itself to multiplayer, giving a fighting game-like identity to the rhythm experience
  • Low sense of feedback during a song, making it tough to know just how solid you are
  • Gameplay itself can come off as a little shallow, especially if you binge through Story mode

System: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: December 7, 2017

Categories: Music, Action, Sports, Multiplayer

Publisher: MERJ Media

Developer: MERJ Media

Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg