REVIEW: DJ PAULY D – BEAT THAT BOARDWALK
Yes, that’s right; DJ Pauly D of the hit MTV show “Jersey Shore” is now available for download from either the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace. MEDL Mobile delivers this guido-tastic romp across the Jersey boardwalk for a low $.99, and an unlockable Italy level for another $.99.
MEDL’s signature 8-bit retro design, along with some Jersey flair, will soon have you fist-pumping and shouting- “Yeeeaaah Buddy.”
Beat the Boardwalk hides addicting gameplay behind a basic play scheme. The player assumes the role of a tan, fist-pumping Pauly D for a “normal” trek across the Jersey boardwalk. There are three touch-screen buttons: up, down and jump. With these buttons, the player will guide Pauly D along his journey. Moving from left-to-right, Pauly D must avoid obstacles like “Bros” and “Grenades” while collecting power-ups, like chains and “hotties”. The player’s end goal is to get the highest score possible.
Along the way, Pauly D can enter four different stores, each with their own effects. When Pauly D enters the Gym, he temporarily because invincible. If the player runs into an enemy, they will suffer a point reduction, but they can continue their journey. Next is the Laundry where our favorite guido receives a point-bonus and a change of threads. Last, and most interesting, is the Tan level mechanic in the game. When the game begins, Pauly D has a full Tan meter and as the journey continues, the Tan meter slowly goes down. If the Tan meter reach zero, Pauly D faints! The only solution? Hit up the tanning beds at the Tan stores along the way. It’s an interesting second level of game play that not only adds to the game’s theme, but to the gameplay itself. If the player can string together a combination of Gym, Tan and Laundry, in that order, their effort will be awarded with a “Guido Streak.”
Mechanically, the game delivers most of what it promises. There are points where the controls feel, for lack of a better term, “slippery,” and this lack of precision at crucial moments can be frustrating. Once the player gets a firm grip on the button sensitivity, they can spend more time sightseeing on the boardwalks, a welcome salvation from having to visit it in person.
Game Mechanics Score 3.8 / 5
Ambiance is a large part of what makes Beat the Boardwalk such an enjoyable time. The boardwalk’s background randomly recycles as Pauly D passes by, but this in no way draws from the setting itself. It is the smaller additions in which the game truly shines. Throughout his journey, Pauly D encounters not only the Gym, Tan and Laundry shops, but also the unique Beat City. After entering a Beat City, the player can change around the soundtrack. The Beat City option is a pleasing level of detail not attended to in most games.
Among the list of other details is a nighttime mode that engages after the player has been in a level for so long. The screen dims and most of the brightness come from the streetlamps along the boardwalk. The other appreciable details revolve around the 8-bit Pauly D. When he enters the Laundry, he will always reappear with clothing of new colors. Also, when it comes to the Tan mechanic, the player can actually see Pauly D’s skin lightening on screen. He even begins each level by pumping his little 8-bit fist.
Ambiance Score 4.2 / 5
At the eye’s first pass, it could be easy to think that this game is a gimmick to capitalize on the success of Pauly D and Jersey Shore. However, after having this game in hand for more than five-minutes, any player can appreciate the solid game behind the name. Taking the foundation of the game and adding the Jersey Shore theme on top of it, combines into one pleasurable gaming experience. The “guido” stereotype is currently prolific throughout popular culture, and this game does not take advantage of it, so much as approach it with a tongue in its cheeks. Somehow the designers have made getting tans and avoiding grenades a fresh experience without becoming insulting or clichéd.
Pauly D commences his jaunt at a leisurely pace and gains speed at a reasonable pace over time. This way the player can come up to speed with the game, without being bored by a slow pace or overwhelmed from the start. If boardwalk dodging is not enough of a challenge, Pauly D will eventually encounter level bosses, which must be successfully circumvented in order to continue.
The only feature that could improve upon gameplay would be a continue feature. Every player has experienced the rage of reaching an advanced distance in a game only to fail and restart from the beginning. Perhaps in keeping with MEDL’s 8-bit style, an old-type password system, for reaching certain distances. Otherwise, this is a fun game with a good foundation.
In keeping true to the MTV hit, MEDL has also included an Italy level. For an additional $.99 players can take Pauly D’s action to the Italian streets. For the most part, Italy is a palette swap from the Jersey boardwalk. In Italy, everything from “Bros” to “Bronze” gets a fresh facelift. The best part of the Italy level is the scooter. Collect the red scooter and watch Pauly D hop aboard and cruise his way to a highscore.s
Fun Factor Score 4 / 5
The brainchild of Pauly D and MEDL Mobile appears to have simple enough controls, but there is little excuse for a game without a guide or a tutorial accompaniment. Again, Beat the Boarwalk delivers with a comprehensive “How-To” section located right off the Main Menu. Here the player can learn everything they need to know about Pauly D’s quest.
Guidance Score 4.5 / 5
I admit a certain amount of apprehension when first approaching this game. I’ve only ever seen a handful of Jersey Shore episodes on MTV, and am only vaguely familiar with the cast and their unique personalities. Combine that with the fact that most movies or shows that are spun-off into video games are usually subpar, at best, I was prepared for disappointment. However, I was pleasantly surprised after some spending some time with this title. Remove the popular culture references, and the game is mechanically firm and quite enjoyable. Add to the game the amusing references to the surreal Jersey Shore environment and there a complete game for players to sink their thumbs into.
Final Score 4.1 / 5
Written by Andrew