App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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With an App Store price of $6, you probably wouldn't expect for Giant Dancing Plushies to have a bunch of currencies and meters in it. I certainly wasn't expecting it, but that's not a bad thing. This playful rhythm game about smashing vehicles as a giant teddy bear is designed to to be a pretty chill time you can hop into over and over again while being rewarded for it.
Giant Dancing Plushies is a game where you control building-sized stuffed animals as they strut down the street, destroying cars, tanks, and more. You can move these giant animals one step at a time, but the game challenges you to do it to the beat of either the in-game soundtrack or whatever music you might be listening to at the time.
Your goal in Giant Dancing Plushies isn't to get as far as possible or make it through a song, but rather to complete a mini-challenge like "destroy 5 tanks" or "pick up 10 coins" before being beamed up on a UFO to collect rewards that can unlock new skins, powers, modes, etc. These sessions are super short, meaning that you'll only have to be honed in on any given play session for a minute or two at most.
Stomp to the beat
Some of Giant Dancing Plushies's challenge comes from manuevering your plushie to the beat, but the difficulty of the game centers more around dodging tank fire and avoiding civilian casualties while trying to pick up as many collectibles as possible. Since the game can take in virtually any audio input, your step timing is only reflective of the basic beat of a song, so it's nice that there are other factors complicating and creating challenge beyond nailing your step timing.
When I say that Giant Dancing Plushies can take any audio to play with, I really mean it. The game doesn't have to connect to any music streaming services, look at your music library, or anything like that to let you play. The game simply listens for audio and interprets the beat from there. It even works on music that isn't playing on the device you're using to play, which is neat.
The gameplay of Giant Dancing Plushies isn't all that complicated, but it doesn't feel like it needs to be. It also helps that the entire conceit is goofy, cute, and charming in all the right ways, and affords plenty of opportunities to switch the visuals and gameplay as you go.
Most of these opportunities emerge in the form of unlocks that you have to grind experience, coins, and candies for. This definitely makes the game feel kind of like a free-to-play title. Don't be fooled, though, the flow of collectibles and unlocks moves so freely it never feels like a gating mechanic. Instead, these systems feel like a way to casually work toward something while enjoying music in a fun, new way.
The bottom line
The magic of Giant Dancing Plushies doesn't come from its challenge or level design, but rather in the freedom it grants you. You can throw any music at it and it creates a fun little challenge set to the beat of it. This makes it well worth the price of admission, currencies and all.