Highstreet5 Review: Dance up a Storm
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
When it comes to rhythm games, you never really get to see anything new because the game's practically just you listening to music and letting your fingers do the tapping. It's just a skill based game that leaves too little for the imagination of developers to well, develop. This is of course based on the rhythm games I have played as a reviewer and an avid MMOR player. However, Highstreet5, Snail Game's rhythm game goes out of the box and provides rhythm players with something more than just finger tapping goodness.
Upon starting your game in Highstreet5 you are immediately introduced into one of the game features the game has, your home. Yes, that's right you have your own home in the game that you can furnish and hang around at.
You are then introduced to the numerous game features you'll be immersing yourself into. Practically you are going through the usual tutorial stage of the game, but the truth is everything's pretty much self-explanatory as long as you give time to explore the game.
As I began my Highstreet5 experience the one thing that's pretty much prevalent in the game (aside from the rhythm competition part) is the game promotes socializing and well, dating. I personally think this is the main reason for keeping people from playing-- aside from the customization (which will be discussed later on) features the game has.
The game practically reeks of "online dating" where a lot of items, modes and even areas cater to the various social gathering points in real life. You have clubs, parks, malls as areas to mill around, socialize and dance (of course you can't really dance at malls in real life but that's not the point). I think the game tries to make an online equivalent of these places to give players more than playing to the tune of songs the game has.
If the game's gameplay is rooted on rhythm, dancing and music, I say that the game's socializing feature's is it's better half. If you grow tired of dancing to music-- you can just pretty much lounge around and be with your friends which the game does provide wonderfully.
The thing about socializing is that you also have to look good when you do. Highstreet5 provides an answer to that by having a very-- fluffy set of clothes for women, and a myriad of cloth designs for men. The game also provides different accessories ranging from shades, caps to motorcycles and wings, yes wings.
The customization choices pretty much show the fashion sense the game has. The game adopts the pretty boy/pretty girl look with the emphasis of looking beautiful for both men and women.
The choice of music in Highstreet5 is pretty varied. You have modern pop songs from both the east and west, with eastern songs hailing from japan, korea and china. The variety of songs can really be pump you blood or curl you to bed. It covers almost all the commercial tastes any player can have save for metal and rock.
The other game feature Highstreet5 has is you can dedicate a song for someone on the same area you are in. May it be your "partner" or someone you are flirting with, you can just go to the DJ NPC and make arrangements for the song, much like in real life clubs (though of course you have to pay the dj in clubs to make sure he plays your song). This nifty game feature will remind you that this game is not just about rhythm and dance but also socializing and getting yourself a "partner" in the cheesiest, clubbiest way.
So aside from the game's music, the dances itself do promote the search for a partner. The dance modes in Highstreet5 vary from solo, to group to partners. What I liked about the game is that unlike in other rhythm and dance games you can dance almost anywhere you want in the place you are in. Exploration and dancing are pretty much intertwined that you can just walk around the dance area and either chat or mingle with the other dancers around you.
The dances in the game are pretty much the usual set of moves you can see in real life dancing and other games of the same genre. However, Highstreet5 has the stunts mechanic in place where you get to do your own set of pretty awesome dance moves that would boost your score.
The game does stay true to the socialize factor of the gameplay because the game encourages you to dance with a partner. Even the community itself is littered with players looking for couples to compete with.
What I liked about Highstreet5 is that you have a lot of areas you can visit and walk through. It's not like the older rhythm and dance games where you are only restricted to rooms and dance battling with other people.
I liked that the game allows you to free roam because it gives you something else to do. This is the thing that other games of the same type lack. Highstreet5 is in fact a world in its own and these lounges help the game have that feel.
Overall, I like Highstreet5 and the apparent move to go outside of the box with rhythm and dance games. It has everything you could ask for in terms of socializing and dancing. It's a pretty good alternative for real life clubbing in the off chance you can't either go out or you are underaged but then caution must be given specially because this is the internet so anybody can be behind the character you are "socializing" with.
The only gripe I have with the game is that it is too feminine or rather too metrosexual-ish that the hardcore gamer in me still finds it hard to accept the fact that guys can be equipped with beautiful wings. I know I may sound a douche, but the game's characters and the customizations are just too beautiful to my liking. The game does appeal more to the ladies and those who are into fashion and all so I guess this game is pretty off limits for guys who like their characters beefy and bulky.
It has free roam.
You can dress up your characters.
Has all the socializing features anyone needs.
The game may be too feminine for hardcore gamers.
The interface is pretty cluttered during performances.
Camera angles can be pretty awkward once you start dancing.