Release Date: December 7th, 2017 (Switch), May 16th, 2018 (Windows)
Platform: Windows, Switch (Played on Windows)
Developer: MERJ Media
Publisher: MERJ Media
Have you ever wanted to take to the streets and express yourself through break dancing? If so then Floor Kids has you covered. Developed by MERJ Media, Floor Kids is a stylish rhythm game where players chain together dance moves to funky beats. The premise is simple: you press various combinations of buttons in time with the beat to score points. Doing this consistently, while smoothly transitioning into other moves, or performing combos results in a higher score. While not an overly deep game, Floor Kids is genuinely satisfying to master and incredibly enjoyable.
What is immediately clear from the moment Floor Kids starts is how MERJ nailed the aesthetic of the game. The art-style makes many of the game’s elements look like roughly sketched doodles giving the game a distinct visual flair. Each character looks like a doodle, so the messy appearance of each character feels in line with the game’s tone. Additionally, the palette is vibrant enough to give visual clarity to everything on the screen, thus players can watch quite a show as they chain combos together. It may not be for everyone, but I found Floor Kids’ visuals to be both a marvel to look at and effective within the context of the game.
The music also matches the tone of Floor Kids. The score, written and produced by Kid Koala, features tracks with scratching, and various music samples to tie everything together. There is a strong 80s vibe to the music that is reminiscent of the street culture that originally brought breakdancing into the mainstream eye. Across twenty-four different tracks, the music never gets repetitive as there is enough variety for each song to sound unique. Players will also never get lost in the rhythm of a song as each has a clear bassline to follow meaning far more of the emphasis is put on which moves you want to do rather than trying to emulate a complicated rhythm. Through the various artistic elements of Floor Kids, a very strong connection can be made to the culture that inspired the game, which makes the aesthetic feel perfect.
The other big win Floor Kids has going for it is how simple it is to learn. Tapping each of the four face buttons on the controller will perform a different move and combining this with directional inputs and the trigger performs alternative moves. Flairs can also be done by altering the standard inputs so your character performs specials poses and moves for additional points. Controls are the same across all characters, so once you have a handle on the basics trying out new dancers is relatively easy. The simplicity of the controls jettisons players right into the action and gives the game an excellent sense of pace. It also allows players to focus on perfecting transitions, combos, and flares for the best possible score as opposed to fiddling for hours learning the core mechanics. Floor Kids is very much a game that is easy to pick up, and satisfying to master.
While the simplicity makes Floor Kids approachable, it comes at the cost of depth. Once players come to terms with the basic mechanics of Floor Kids and learn all of a character’s combos there isn’t much nuance to continually challenge the player. While each character has their proficiency at different types of maneuvers, there really isn’t that much difference between playing each of them. It makes Floor Kids feel like a somewhat shallow experience as hitting a skill plateau within it doesn’t take much effort from the player. This is especially noticeable when trying to achieve a five-star score on every song, which only requires a score of ten thousand. Once players learn how to consistently hit this score milestone it doesn’t feel like there is anything left to learn, which is especially true thanks to an absence of online leader boards. I would have preferred if there was deeper mechanics to master as I’d developed past the basic techniques to push me even further.
I also found Floor Kids a little light on content. As mentioned, there are only twenty-four tracks, and the eight playable dancers are similar enough that they don’t add a tremendous amount of variety to the game. While striving for better scores can lead to some replay value, the lack of depth means you’re likely to rip through Floor Kids rather quickly. I wasn’t bothered by this so much, but given the asking price for the game, I thought it prudent to mention. For reference, my total playtime is just under four hours, and I have one hundred percent of the game’s achievements on Steam.
Despite the lack of depth and content, I still believe Floor Kids is worth a look, especially for fans of rhythm games. The aesthetic truly captures the street culture that led to the inception of breakdancing, and the simplicity of the game makes it great for short fun bursts of play. It won’t set your world on fire, but Floor Kids is a vibrant game that is immensely fun to play and one I’d most certainly recommend.