Streetkix Freestyle’s repetitive nature makes the game boring only a few hours after you’ve started playing it.
Over the years, the video game industry has seen the release of numerous rhythm games. Titles like Parappa The Rapper, Patapon, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Donkey Konga and Elite Beat Agents might have changed our beloved industry forever, but how often can you say you’ve played a rhythm game that uses freestyle soccer as an inspiration? Streetkix Freestyle tries to fill a void in the previously nonexistent sub-genre. Unfortunately, Streetkix Freestyle’s repetitive nature makes the game boring only a few hours after you’ve started playing it.
In Streetkix Freestyle, your main objective is to master freestyle moves to defeat challengers and become one of the best soccer players in the world. The game puts you in the shoes of a kid named Leozinho, an orphan who’s a fan of freestyle soccer. During an altercation with a local gang, Leo is rescued by an unknown man who eventually becomes his mentor by teaching Leo the art of freestyle soccer.
Although disguised as a game about soccer, Streetkix Freestyle is a traditional rhythm game. Basically, you can challenge people in the streets to a duel of freestyle soccer. Once they accept, you need to push a series of buttons as they appear on the screen and if you do this correctly, you perform flashy freestyle moves and accrue hundreds of points. After each batch of button presses, you need to select one of the four face buttons to continue making moves. As in most rhythm games, performing new moves is encouraged with extra points and repeating the same tricks over and over is punished with the same amount of points.
When you defeat a challenger, he or she will teach you a new move which you can use against other opponents. Each neighborhood has a theme and each of those themes represents a style of music, like hip-hop, heavy metal, J-pop and so on. When you defeat the leader of each neighborhood, you acquire a new ball (which let’s you perform special tricks) and a new shirt.
Completing a series of moves without making a mistake fills up a meter that lets you pull of a special trick. Usually, these represent an attack that hinders the enemy’s progress. Alternatively, if enemies have a full bar, not only can they dodge your special, but they can also counter-attack with a special of their own. Nevertheless, seldom do enemies pose a serious threat and at no point during the game I found myself struggling to defeat challengers.
But while Streetkix Freestyle combines two dissimilar concepts to create something new, the result is poor to say the least. The structure of the game’s always the same: you unlock a new area, explore it, meet new challengers, challenge them to a duel and when you beat them, he or she will teach you a trick you can use to defeat the leader. And then you repeat the process in a new area. A few minigames here and there try to inject the game with more energy, but there aren’t enough of them to make it feel varied.
On top of that, the music is mediocre and forgettable. Also, some levels suffer from framerate issues and since this is a rhythm game, this problem in particular is almost unforgivable. You’ll have a hard time pushing buttons when necessary due to the erratic framerate. But that’s not all. The camera behaves erratically, there are long loading times between challenges and on one particular occasion, one of my rivals was invisible. Needless to say, Streetkix Freestyle is rough around the edges.
In the end, Streetkix Freestyle has some unconventional ideas, but some serious problems prevent the game from taking off. If you want to play good rhythm games on the PSP, the portable console’s large catalog offers a variety of games that fall under that category, including Patapon, Parappa The Rapper and Rock Band: Unplugged, to name but a few. Unfortunately, Streetkix Freestyle isn’t in the same league as the aforementioned classics.