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Russian Dancing Men Review

By , on October 31, 2011


Russian Dancing Men
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Classic rhythm gameplay for the iOS.
  • Fun remixes of Weebl's-Stuff song content.
  • Easy to pick up, hard to master.

CONS

  • Fails to build upon the Vib-Ribbon concept.
  • Limited content; difficulty levels only add so much variety.
  • Slow downs can feel out of place on many songs (some do feel fine though).

VERDICT

Russian Dancing Men revisits a style of rhythm game pioneered by Masaya Matsuura at the turn of the century, pairing simple controls with the hyper-fun and cheery songs of the ever-popular Weebl's-Stuff.


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In 1999 Japanese developer and musician Masay Matsuura, along with his company NanaOn-Sha, released Vib-Ribbon upon the world. While not garnering nearly the same attention as previous releases PaRappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy, it carved a niche for itself thanks to its unique approach to rhythm gaming - giving players obstacles timed to music to navigate via a semi-intuitive control scheme.

Its lukewarm reception was followed up with relative silence in the rhythm game sphere as others sought to replicate games like Guitar Hero instead, but SmashMouth Games along with Weebl's-Stuff have revived the classic formula for their game Russian Dancing Men.

Themed upon the song and animation of the same name, you play as a group of dancers seeking food and then trying to make their way back home by navigating dangerous courses of hazards in time to music. Being associated with Weebl's-Stuff, this means classics like Kenya, Badgers and Amazing Horse get a new lease on life as well thanks to extended remixes for the sake of the game.

Instead of simply jamming a single button or two in blind repetition of the sequence presented to you, hazards such as pits, spikes and loops need to be avoided by pressing the correct combination of buttons. With eight types of hazards and four buttons, it's easy to get finger-tied in the heat of the moment, but it's at least two short of Vib-Ribbon's 10 combinations, adding some approachability to the gameplay.

And that's really all that's on offer - aside from the admittedly amusing animated interludes involving the Russian Dancing Men, once you're done with the difficulty you're on all you have is a new difficulty (and a marginally higher challenge) to conquer unless you're a die-hard score hunter after online leader board dominance.

Russian Dancing Men is a game made by and for fans of Weebl's-Stuff and if you love the classic songs then you'll get a serious kick out of completing this game. However, whether or not the game survives in the long-term is up to how future content is released and if a price tag is attached, for how much.

Screenshots

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