Hands-on with Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience


Hands-on with Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience

Ubisoft announced last week that The King of Pop was shuffling onto iPad in the form of Michael Jackson: The Experience.

Music licensing challenges might push it out to an early 2012 launch, but Ubisoft still gave us a chance to boogie on down to some of Jacko's hits on Apple's tablet recently.

Beat it… with your fingers

Michael Jackson: The Experience turns you into the star of MJ’s most popular videos. It is a rhythm-action game, like its home console brother, but on iPad, you use your touchscreen to kick out the moves.

In a similar vein to Tap Tap Revenge 3, you have to wait for the icons to sync up properly to execute the step.

Overlaying circles require a tap, while curvy lines demand a sweeping motion. There are more advanced techniques, too, including one where you tilt the iPad to make Michael spin.

Video stars

The controls and timing felt fine, but what really shined here were the visuals. Ubisoft skipped the CGI and painstakingly recreated MJ’s videos in-game.

Remember that scene in 'Beat It' when the protagonists pull out knives and perform a dance number? The whole one-minute scene is recreated here and, based on our old-man memories, seemed accurate to a tee.

The manner in which these visuals are incorporated into the game is even more impressive. Build up a combo and more and more details from the original video appear in the background, e.g. the leaning dancers in 'Smooth Criminal'.

Ubisoft says there are five combo levels, and, of course, screwing up along the way strips the video back down to solo Michael.

Don’t stop ‘til you get enough

The multiple difficulty levels, tons of unlockables, and easy controls mean Michael Jackson: The Experience should be fun for all ages.

Ubisoft will include 15 songs at launch ('The Way You Make Me Feel', 'Smooth Criminal', and 'Beat It' were playable during my hands-on), and we look forward to having more time with The Gloved One later this year.

PSP version pictured above.