DJ Star DS
There was a time when being a DJ was a lot easier than it is now, all you had to do was play some records and provide a bit of inane chatter to fill the space between them. Things are different now, with all the mixing and scratching and whatnot a DJ can go on to be as revered as a real musician. And, as music games are all the rage at the moment, it’s no surprise that they’re now making games out of being a DJ.
You play the titular role of DJ Star, but at the beginning you aren’t a star, you’re not even a DJ, you start off waiting in line to get in to a dance club. As you near the front of the queue you spot the clubs DJ arriving in his flash car with all his bling, and after being refused entry to the club head off home. En route something catches your eye is a shop, some record decks, and without a second thought you buy them and take them home to DJ your own private party. This is your big chance, impress here and you can go on to bigger things, parties, clubs, the sky is the limit. Along your way you can pick up better decks with more features, and expand your vinyl collection, and you’ll need them to get the crowds dancing in the big clubs.
The actual gameplay is pretty straightforward. You man the decks and keep the party going, all interaction with other characters to advance your career is all done through cut scenes. The touch screen of your DS is transformed in to your decks. To start with they’re pretty basic, just turntables and a slider to fade in or out, and a speed control on the decks. These work exactly as they would in real life, your record collection is represented by an icon, which you just touch, select, then drag the disc to the turntable. From there just use the controls on the turntables by touching them and sliding knobs, lift and move the arm to where you require on the record, even scratch a bit. As you progress through the game more knobs and buttons are added to your turntable, but it it all remains pretty straightforward.
Mini-games are also thrown in to the mix as you go along. These serve to keep up atmosphere and fun levels at the party or club, which keeps people dancing, but they can be a distraction from your tunes. To progress all you have to do is get a certain number of people dancing for a set amount of time, to start with it’s nice and easy, but as the venues increase in size, so do the amount of dancers you need. Once you make it to Ibiza you will need some serious skills to get enough people on the dancefloor to go any further. The difficulty curve does get pretty steep in the last few venues, and you’ll have to do some serious juggling between the decks and mini games to attain superstardom. That’s about it for the games career mode, and to be honest it’s not the longest game, but you can go back and replay the venues. Plus it’s quite good fun to just mess around with mixing the tunes in practice mode, but there’s also one more game mode for the real DJ fan, make your own tunes.
Yes, on top of the game’s forty tunes you can make your own from a selection of a couple of hundred samples at your disposal. It’s all very simple to make your own tunes too, you are given a timeline with five channels which you can slot your samples in to. With a wide range of samples, from guitar and keyboards through to voice samples and sound effects, it is possible to create some pretty professional sounding tunes.
In fact the music is the game’s strong point, with forty distinct – and recognizable – tunes at your fingertips to mix and scratch to your heart’s content. If you plugged your DS into an amplifier you could throw your own dance party. If you don’t have an amplifier at your disposal though you will definitely be wanting some headphones to play the game to appreciate the effort that has gone in to the music. It’s quite amazing really how they’ve managed to fit in so many tunes of such quality on to a DS cartridge; Game Life are to be commended for it.
If you are in to the clubbing scene at all, or have any aspirations towards being a DJ you’ll definitely find this game worth picking up. The career mode could be finished in a day or so if you are good enough, but it’s got plenty of replay value, not just to rack up scores, but to make music. Activision have DJ Hero on the way, but if you can’t wait for it, or don’t have access to a console to play it on, then this is a great alternative.