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Michael Jackson: The Experience HD Review

Celebrity based rhythm games are a dime a dozen these days; whether it be the excellent The Beatles: Rock Band or the mediocre Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, we’ve seen a multitude of various celebrity based spin-offs come and go through the genre. Earlier this year we had the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, appearing in his very own dancing game on consoles across the globe. Now Michael Jackson: The Experience is serving up a rhythm game on the iOS platform for fans, the question is can it deliver an experience worthy of the king?

Gesture based rhythm – We’ve seen rhythm based games on iOS before, but Michael Jackson: The Experience does things a little differently. Rather than simply tapping or swiping in rhythm with visual cues, MJ:TE has you performing specified gestures in beat with the tunes. It’s quite simple to learn, but can be complex in execution, particularly when you ramp up the difficulty level. Once you have a handle on the different gestures, the “freestyle” section of each tune becomes a whole lot of fun as you choreograph your very own Michael Jackson performance. DISCLAIMER: *Moonwalk not included in said performance.

Great recreation of Jackson’s iconic videos – Throughout his career, Michael Jackson not only created some of the most iconic pop music of all time, but he also sparked the video clip phenomenon that has become a staple of the music industry today. MJ:TE does a great way of re-creating those iconic clips in an interactive format, allowing the player to dance their way through the sets and locations of Smooth Criminal, Beat It and many other MJ hits.

Banging soundtrack – It’s Michael Jackson, how much more convincing do you need? MJ:TE has a damn good soundtrack, full of hits that will keep you entertained throughout the journey.

Push those in-app purchases – There is a difference between in-app purchases to extend the life of your game, and in-app purchases that make the game worthwhile to begin with. MJ:TE ships with only 4 tracks, and only two of those are from the “golden era”. Each subsequent track will set you back $1.99, which is a bit of a kick in the guts after parting with $4.99 for the initial purchase. More songs are on the way, but we’re a little disappointed by the slim offering on release.

No online leaderboards – MJ:TE is all about obtaining that high score, however there are no online leaderboards, despite Game Centre integration. A game like this simply demands some form of competitive play with friends (or enemies), so hopefully the developers throw in some form of competition in future updates.

Michael Jackson: The Experience has a banging soundtrack that faithfully re-creates some of Jackson’s finest video clips. Unfortunately to enjoy the entire Michael Jackson experience, you’ll also have to part way with a tonne of cash, as the initial purchase only includes four tracks. It’s a fairly novel take on the rhythm genre, and Jackson fans are certain to enjoy the gameplay. However there are better rhythm games out there that will give you true value for money, so proceed with caution.