‘Floor Kids’ helps you achieve your break-dancing dreams

Andrew Shermoen

Games, both virtual and analog, allow us to step into worlds and roles that never would have been possible for us before. They allow us to achieve our wildest dreams. Now your wildest dream is break dancing.

You play as an up and coming break dancing star on the sidewalks of New York City. In your quest to become one with the rhythm of the world you travel the city and perform at different venues to garner the appreciation of your peers and gather a team of break dancers to increase your street cred. Along the way you’ll learn how to unlock the movesets of your break dancing brothers and sisters and learn new techniques to go Beast Mode on every song you come across.

The controls of “Floor Kids” are pretty simple to handle, but with mastery of more “difficult” techniques you can really send your score soaring. The game is rhythm-based at heart, and the controls reflect that. Mainly you’ll be pressing buttons in time with a multitude of different tracks. Pressing the button at the right moment gets you more points in the Funk category of your score. The buttons also correspond to different moves your character performs. When standing your character performs top rock moves which you can change based on the buttons you press. Each of the four buttons corresponds to a different move. Pushing down on the left analog stick switches to downrock which also has four different moves depending on the button of choice. Power moves (like headspins or flares) are actually executed by rotating the left analog stick clockwise or counter. Holding down the R-trigger will also perform a different power move, making four of them. Freezes are done by holding your stick in a certain direction in tandem with holding down the button that also is in that direction. This means there are a total of 16 unique moves for your eight different playable characters. All this is to highlight the immense labor and love that went into this game’s animation.

In addition to their 16 specific moves, each character also has four specific combos that award points if you string together moves in succession. Pulling this off also causes a more fluid animation, so it’s also pleasant to watch. Characters all have different combos and their skills in the four move categories differ as well. This may determine the kind of character you like to play and what suits you which adds for an additional splash to the game.

“Floor Kids” has a fantastically charming art-style and its animations capture the chaotic ballet of street-dance in a really effective way. Despite the cartoon look, minimalist design of the characters, the movements they make feel like they’re actually dancing and pulling off really tricky moves. The gameplay in general is just fun and looks fantastic.

There’s something so inspired in choosing to match the head spin move to the player needing to rotate their joystick. The game would be great at a party with a willing audience, because the controls are really simple, but it’s also great for people really looking to see how high they make their score go.

The scores are dished out based on how well you perform. Funk is awarded if you keep the beat with button presses and if you’re able to hit notes accurately during the chorus sections of the songs which operate like a more traditional rhythm game. Flavor is awarded for using all of your 16 moves, but also throwing more advanced moves like flips, poses, taunts, strobes and hops. Flow is awarded for not falling, stopping and for linking combos together. Fire points are awarded for responding to crowd requests and executing these requests before time runs out. Finally, you’re awarded Flyness points for pulling off intricate moves that also corresponds to flavor.

The game also is bursting with flair in terms of its great tracks. Every piece of music is completely unique and they were produced and created by Kid Koala. Whose poppy and energetic style always makes for a fun listen while you’re controlling your character and having them dance to the beat. Koala also puts a bit more focus on the specific songs he includes. The game features different settings that your character can dance at, and the music often matches that location. The Grocery Store features more relaxed tracks with somewhat muzak-inspired sounds while The Arcade has more chiptune-esque songs. This matching of music to mood really makes the experience fun.

The mechanics and competitive spirit of “Floor Kids” is enough to say it’s worth a purchase especially if you enjoy rhythm games and want something with a bit more style and sparkle to it, or if you want something nice to spark up your party-game cred. Not to mention it’s one of those games that is perfect on the Switch cause you can pick it up and play a quick two minute game. All that aside, the actual bulk of things you can do in “Floor Kids” is quite limited. The game itself has fifteen different venues for you to go to with three songs at each venue. The songs do change in terms of tempo and the beat you have to follow, and the chorus section where you have to land specific button presses is different every time, but the actual things you need to do to get easy five stars on every song becomes apparent after only a few hours of playing.

The game is never completely direct about how to do more advanced techniques, but picking them up is pretty easy, and even completely ignoring them doesn’t hurt your chances at mastering the game’s controls. Soon enough you’ll find yourself getting five stars on every song, and then the single player portion of the game will be completely done. This is especially easy if you memorize the combos of one character or a group of them and then only use them in the game. You’ll get so good at how that character operates that many times you may get five stars on your first or second try.

This isn’t to say that “Floor Kids” is a game in need of a spike, but the actual core gameplay of the single player will become very repetitive quickly. Branching narratives, only allowing certain characters to perform at certain venues, including a progression system, creating more unlocks or even making head to head battles with AI would have fleshed out the game a lot more, and would have provided you with more things to do.

Even after you’ve finished the single player though, you still have multiplayer which is great for parties. The multiplayer is in need of a few different modes, but for the most part its main focus of switching between the two players and then both doing the chorus not only works thematically but mechanically.

“Floor Kids” is a very good game. One with really impressive controls that adds something different and new to the rhythm game genre. If it had just had more meat on its bones it would have been such a fantastic meal. Sadly, as well as it works and as fun as it is the game does quickly get too repetitive and doesn’t have enough to really dive into.

All in all, “Floor Kids” is a jam that just needs a bit more funk to make it a bop. If it sounds like something you’d enjoy then it definitely is, but for those not into the rhythm game scene it may not be your jam.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars