Even with a series of video tutorials, B-Boy has a hefty learning curve. The unintuitive menu system forces you to dig deeply to locate help and extra videos to further explain the game. Initially, gameplay feels unnecessarily complicated, and frantically hammering out button combos with limited success will be the norm until you get up to speed. However, busting out expert moves further along in the game is extremely satisfying. You'll start with only a handful of tricks, but there are tons of new moves to unlock and upgrade as you beat opponents and build your reputation.
Real-life breakdancing is intrinsically fun to witness, and B-Boy's realism accurately portrays the art form's dynamic energy and poetic movement. Thanks to extensive motion-capturing of tricks pulled off by some of the best B-boys in the scene, the animations are tight and believable. A solid range of infectious hip hop and funk tracks, from the likes of Cypress Hill, the Black Eyed Peas and the Alkaholiks, among many more, further enhance the vibe.
Slick music and awesome dance moves don't entirely make up for the game's weaker aspects, however. Most areas of B-Boy are riddled with chugging load times that wear away at one's patience. Even switching between menus has an irritating lag. This nuisance increases exponentially when it comes to actually waiting for matches to initiate. The matches themselves are often so brief that it's hard to justify the wait - individual battles typically clock in at a little under two minutes, tops, with half of that time spent waiting for your opponent to finish up. Also, even with slightly different challenge and tournament matches, the core elements of battle are mostly the same throughout, and the gameplay starts to get repetitious over time. Without tons of moves and audio tracks to unlock, it would be hard to muster the incentive to delve deeper into the game.
B-Boy captures the essence of breakdancing culture with style and flair. At the same time, it explores welcome new turf in the rhyme game genre. The game is not without its issues, yet it manages to float by on personality and some interesting gameplay ideas. It's enough to pique the interest of players looking for something a bit different, and the authentic presentation is potent enough to satisfy long-time hip hop fans.
Bottom Line: B-Boy is a cool title hampered by a few technical and design problems. Still, it's hard to resist throwing down some funky tricks.
Recommendation: Try it. B-Boy is a commendable and authentic handheld breakdancing experience.
Nathan Meunier is a robot made of meat. He's also a freelance writer with an unhealthy videogame obsession.