Michael Jackson The Experience HD Review
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Michael Jackson The Experience HD Review

Our Review by Dan Lee on December 7th, 2011
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BEAT IT
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MJ hits the iPad in this rhythm game.

Developer: Ubisoft
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

When done right, with good music and well-designed routines, rhythm games can be wondrously addictive no matter what platform they are released on. Despite being on consoles for some time now, Ubisoft has decided to take the plunge and bring Michael Jackson The Experience HD to the iPad.

As one might expect from a game in the rhythm genre, the idea is to follow on-screen instructions as closely as possible, so that points can be earned. These points are totalled at the end of a routine, and the player is then assigned a rank based on how well they have done. If the player has a Game Center account, scores will also be uploaded to that and compared against people around the world.

From the start, the player is treated to some high production values. The Michael Jackson character model is well detailed, and the animation is smooth. Throughout a routine, there are also clips from the relevant music video, although these have been rendered using CGI. They still look good, though.

When listened to through a decent set of headphones, the sound in Michael Jackson The Experience HD is absolutely fantastic. Fans will get a little shiver down their spine when the introduction to 'Beat It' kicks in, and all the songs provided are crystal clear.

Unfortunately "all the songs provided" amount to a rather miserly four: Beat It, Smooth Criminal, Speed Demon and Blood on the Dance Floor. There are some additional ones displayed in the menu, such as Billie Jean, but they have to be purchased at $1.99 each. More songs will also be made available at a later date. I understand why such a small number of songs have been provided, but it does dent replay value quite significantly unless the player is willing to pay for additional content.

The routines themselves have been well designed, requiring the player to swipe and tap out various patterns in time to the music. There are also three difficulty levels, with the hardest requiring Jedi-like reflexes to master. Unfortunately, there were a few occasions where the game didn't correctly recognise the move I had traced on the screen.

Michael Jackson The Experience HD is a really enjoyable rhythm game, with some great visuals and stunning sound. Saying that, unless the player is willing to buy additional songs the entire game can be over in well under an hour, and that includes repeat plays to boost high scores. Game Center achievements do add longevity, but again some are tied to songs that need to be purchased.


iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Michael Jackson The Experience HD screenshot 1 Michael Jackson The Experience HD screenshot 2 Michael Jackson The Experience HD screenshot 3 Michael Jackson The Experience HD screenshot 4
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