We were a bit surprised to find the Touch Generations logo on the front of Elite Beat Agents. There’s no mistaking that it’s a simplified title, but a slightly camp cheerleading game starring blokes in sharp suits is a far cry from the other Touch Generation games. Still, it takes all sorts. And the Elite Beat Agents aren’t actually cheerleaders per se: they’re a trio of dancers who turn up at domestic disasters to turn the situations around via the media of music and rhythm.
Or rather, they dance and you provide the rhythm. Just three actions are required: tapping on numbered icons, rolling a ball around a track, and spinning a disc as fast as you can. All with good timing and in the correct order, of course. Miss too many and the agents start to lose their cool, and ultimately your grade at the end of the level will suffer.
Packed full of humorous visual jokes, the artwork is brilliant throughout, and the storylines are suitably daft. One involves Leonardo Da Vinci trying to impress Mona Lisa in order to paint her picture; another sees two female celebrities washed up on a desert island, taming the wild animals with their charm and looks.
Each mission is accompanied by a licensed music track. Jamiroquai’s Canned Heat blares out as a ninja tries to find stolen blueprints for a new model of car, and a pirate in desperate need of treasure is helped along by the sounds of the Village People. Avril Lavigne, Madonna, Queen and Destiny’s Child feature too. It’s a right old proverbial mix tape.
You’re free to attempt missions in any order you fancy, via a 3D globe navigated with the stylus. Trying to get higher scores on already completed missions is the biggest draw, unless you really want to hear YMCA over and over again. The music doesn’t feature the original artists but the sound-a-likes are pretty good.
It’s worth pointing out that the Japanese version of the game – import favourite Ouendan – featured J-Pop tracks and different stories. They’ve totally overhauled it, in other words. For better or worse we can’t say, but we’re sure that everybody will have their own opinion. And if you didn’t play the original then you won’t know what you may or may not be missing.