GLX reviews Nightclub City: DJ Rivals.
Publisher/ Developer - Booyah!
Free, social games with in-app purchases are a dime a dozen on the app store. Most of them involve managing various places from an exotic locale to a store. Nightclub City: DJ Rivals is different in that combines GPS with a single-player game. Is Nightclub City: DJ Rivals a banger?
The heart of the game is Adventure mode. In it, the player plays an anonymous DJ that must stop Bland Corp from ruining the DJ circuit. The story is told through cut-scenes which look fantastic; but they only serve as an excuse to set up various missions and not as an engaging narrative. There are 4 chapters to the order to get to these bosses, players have to complete various tasks. These range from simply to defeating opponents to getting special items by battling in certain environments. The special items are used to form collections. Once a collection is completed, they can be redeemed for xp, cash and an attack or a turntable. Outside of collections, attacks and turntables can be collected by purchasing them with cash or ice.
Ice is the in-game currency that can be bought via in-app purchase. Besides getting items to boost a character, they can also be used to improve various attributes (ex: health and attack), replenish depleted energy and provide security from other players. While it's not mandatory to get ice, it will affect the game later on in the game. Though xp, attributes and items can be obttained without ice, there will be moments when players will be forced to keep playing extensively for more cash, but without any immediate success. Ice provides an alternative method to keep the game moving at a steady pace, along with getting hard to purchase items. Even though Ice can be obtained by leveling up and downloading various apps, it's still annoying to got out of the way to obtain it. On top of that, if a player opts out of actively seeking ice, their chances of fairing well in Arena mode are non-existent.
Arena mode is the multi-player portion of the game. Players are able to choose various opponents that are within their level range; though other players can fight, indirectly. There's no way to befriend other players, which is major setback; also, players that heavily use ice can decimate other players. It makes the game's difficulty uneven, especially considering the fact that Arena matches are essential to completing the game. The enemy AI is solid, though it can be cheap.
The action in DJ Rivals consist of turn-based battles. Players attack using moves that consist of button touches, button holds and turntable scratching. The major flaw of the combat system is that it's not rhythm-based. That means that all of the combat elements are not timed to an individual track. I can understand why Booyah! went with this. After all, this is a casual game. Still, for a game that is centered around music, it's a shame that the combat could not compliment the music. This leaves the turntable as nothing more than a prop. The attacks are easy at first, but become more difficult to execute over time. Though it's nice to have a progression in difficult, some of them can be too difficult to perform. Also, missing a tap, a hold and/ or a scratch will negatively affect the effectiveness of the attack. It would help if Booyah! had added a system that could help players get a good idea of what the attacks would be like if x number of icons were missed.
The graphics in the game are decent; the world of DJ Rivals is cartoonish. There are plenty of clothing and accessory styles for character customization, but the character designs for the villains are weak. Not to say that they are sore on the eyes, but do not feel inspired. Nothing to complain about, on the performance end.
Booyah! boasts that the game has 10 hit songs, but I have not heard of any of the groups before playing this game. The licensed music is a mixed bag with some nice additions by Defeat and LBCK. The main problem with the licensed music is that each song is cut down to 30 second clips and looped during battles. I understand that the game is for casual gamers and that the battles are not intended to be long; but there are only so many times that I can take, "I want to see your tan lines/ Show me yours; I'll show you mine." Another problem is that the sound quality of the music will drop at random moments. Outside of that, the Booyah!'s original sound work is average fare.
Nighclub City: DJ Rivals is an original, but flawed game. Without the game's business model, this game could be something. Unfortunately, the game's design will keep this from greatness.
5.2* out of 10*
Written or Contributed by: GLX
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About the Author - GLX
For years, GLX has been writing on-and-off for The Outhousers covering comics, video games and comics - among other things. He currently resides in The South. Yes, that's capitalized, and, no, that doesn't mean it's a place full of sunshine and butterflies.
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