Somewhere in Japan there is a room with a few devkits, stacks of CDs, and a lot of pot. It has to be true—there is no other reason for a game like Osu! Tatakae! Ouedan to come into existence. The game gained a large following in Japan as well as cult status among importers in the US. Now we finally have our own version: Elite Beat Agents. Just in case this game is new to you, let me break down what is going on here.
We live in a world with many problems. Trying to hook up with that cheerleader, trying to get a pregnant lady to the hospital on time, trying to find treasure in the sea… we deal with these and other issues every day. What we don't realize is that for those of us who need a little more help, there is a group of brave men called the Elite Beat Agents who watch over the world and come to the aid of those who need them the most. With a little song, a little dance, and a lot of energy, they help regular people like you or me finish our daily tasks. Led by Commander Kahn, who sends them out with a cry of "Agents are go!", they make sure that the world is safe and happy.
It really is that crazy. They're basically male cheerleaders, and in fact the Japanese name translates into "All right! Fight! Cheer Squad." Where do you come in? Well, you help the Elite Beat Agents cheer on their clients by tapping the screen along to the music. Numbered dots pop up on screen, surrounded by a tightening circle. When the circle touches the outside of the dot, you tap it. There are some bits where you have to rub a line or curve in time with the music, but it's mostly tapping. This may sound easy, but let me assure you it gets very challenging, very quickly. This is one of those games you'll need to spend hours practicing before you achieve mastery.
Luckily the graphics are bright and attractive, and while the soundtrack is rather hit or miss, the routines you have to perform along with the songs are always fun. YMCA, in particular, is a blast. So is Walkie Talkie Man, although that song drives me up a wall. The ministories you find in each level are always insane and fun to watch.
Elite Beat Agents has a high level of goofiness to it, but that can be a good thing. It's impossible to take Elite Beat Agents seriously, and it'll always leave you smiling.
Some may be turned off by the difficulty, and you will have to practice a lot of these songs multiple times before you become skilled but for those of us who don't mind a good challenge there is a lot to like here. I'm hoping for a sequel with a slightly stronger tracklist. That said, this is a great portable rhythm game for fans looking for something new and different. Agents are go, indeed.
Price: $34.99 (shop for this game)
Publisher and Developer: Nintendo of America
ESRB Rating: Everyone (10)
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