Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Michael Jackson: The Experience

Review: Michael Jackson: The Experience HD

6:45 PM on 02.15.2012 // Jim Sterling

There's nothing like a celebrity death to make some free money for those left behind, and Ubisoft was the lucky company with the videogame rights after Michael Jackson popped off this mortal coil.

Michael Jackson: The Experience released on home consoles back in 2010, but there's still plenty of mileage to be gotten out of this guaranteed money-maker. In fact, Ubisoft has wasted no time in shunting a port onto the PlayStation Vita just in time for its launch.

The only trouble is, as much as my instinct tells me to be incredibly cynical, I don't hate this game.

Michael Jackson: The Experience HD (PlayStation Vita)
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft, Triumph International
Released: February 14, 2012 
MSRP: $39.99

Michael Jackson: The Experience HD is all business. It doesn't waste time with story modes, unlockable songs, or any other barriers to entry. As soon as you start the game, you can jump right into a menu of iconic Michael Jackson songs and get playing. There's an experience system and unlockable aesthetic content, but otherwise, this is a game that gets right to the meat.

As one would expect, The Experience makes heavy use of the touchscreen, with players needing to perform timed directional swipes in order to complete a stage. Each command is represented by a bar featuring two arrows that slowly move together. Players must drag their finger across the screen in the direction of the arrow, lifting the finger when the arrows meet together. Although many of the arrows point in a single straight direction, some are curved or circular and will require similarly shaped finger swipes. When a small purple circle appears, the player simply needs to tap the screen rather than swipe.

The only other commands are used during "free" mode. At certain points during a song, the on-screen commands will disappear and players can perform them at will. They can also tilt the Vita to make Michael spin and use the touchpad to move him around the screen or perform special signature dance moves.

While other early Vita titles have fallen apart by trying to do too much, The Experience wisely keeps a simple interface. By just using the touchscreen with limited touchpad and gyroscope interaction, Ubisoft has provided a streamlined and intuitive control scheme that works very well in a portable context. It would have been very easy to toss in a lot more motion controls and other gimmicky features, but I think that would have been far more detrimental to the overall game.

My only real gripe is the fact that commands are rather small and easy to miss on the big OLED screen. Furthermore, there are some moments where two commands appear at once, requiring players to use two fingers. While it usually works, sometimes commands appear in different sections of the screens incredibly quickly, so it can be difficult to work out whether they need to be followed simultaneously or sequentially. Some extra layer of color coding might've been useful in cases like this.

As with all good rhythm games, players are scored and graded based on performance. By stringing together successful commands without missing anything, players can maintain combos that carry score multipliers. Extra points are also awarded by timing commands correctly, although oddly, you have to gain a few experience levels before unlocking rewards for perfect timing.

Controls are responsive, and there's a decent challenge for those looking to beat their high scores. While no song is insurmountable, even on Expert difficulty, it's at least quite tough to maintain a high combo count during trickier stages. Each song carries its own selection of specialized challenges that players can complete to unlock new costumes and special visual effects to give their game a little extra jazz. A simple experience system also rewards players with additional aesthetic content.

As noted at the top of the review, I enjoyed my time with this game despite my gut reaction to despise the thing and everything it stands for. It's a solid little music title that provides quick, undemanding action on the go and boasts a good enough mix of classic tunes to deliver all-important fan service. It's not a remarkable-looking game, but it's colorful and typically poppy. The only visual hiccup I found was with Michael Jackson himself, who doesn't quite look artificial enough to be taken seriously.

Although I had fun with it, the selection of songs can be run through pretty quickly, and if you're not interested in unlocking costumes or images of the King of Pop, there's not a lot of longevity. I'm not one to worry too much about game length, but the amount of content on offer isn't enough to justify the admission costs. This portable port of a two-year-old game is priced like a major, big-budget Vita production when it really should be a budget title. As enjoyable as The Experience can be, it's not enjoyable enough to purchase at a premium rate.

If you ever find Michael Jackson: The Experience at a fraction of the asking price, I'd definitely recommend picking it up. It's not an astounding game, but it's a decent distraction that can soak up an hour of two of your time. This is certainly not something you'll need at launch, however, so keep it on standby until you can secure a much better deal than Ubisoft is offering out of the gate.



Michael Jackson: The Experience - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Michael Jackson: The Experience

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

Cblogs of 11/28/15 - Lonely Thanksgiving, Gatchaman Crowds, and more

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 1

Thankful it's Over: Bioshock Infinite

Is Toei using Kamen Rider Ghost to address suicide in Japan?

Let's talk about Xenoblade Chronicles

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I think Microsoft takes the cake for worst console updates. The XBone UI is worse and the fucking controller had an update. What the hell has gaming become?
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Well, that's a wrap for the Bloodborne DLC. I liked it. More thoughts and maybe spoilers in the comment section.
Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
a rainy afternoon, and too sleepy for games. Time to go to the animal shelter and try not to fall asleep, surrounded by kittens.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Following from yesterday's Community Question, how would you feel if reviewers began assigning two scores to a game? One specifically for the technical aspects/performance of the game, and the other for their own personal enjoyment?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I went back to Persona 4 Golden this weekend, asked Chie to be my girlfriend but then accidentally maxed out my social link with Yumi, changed my relationship status to "It's Complicated" on Personabook. [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Why am I hyped? Just cause :D
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
You know what Fallout 4 mod I want to see? One to fix the interior lightning. It's like the silliest thing to get fixated over, but I can't seem to ignore how white and bright some of those inside lights are.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Just wrote my first C-blog. It's me talking about the games I have played this month; I'm quite excited
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I wish the Squid Girl outfit was still a dress for boys. I want to live through my Inkling boy and be a cute girly-man, dammit. [img][/img]
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Goshdarnit...just stood in front of the camera to record an intro for the advent calender thingy and actually got stage fright >.>
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well, it seemed like for two seconds people were finally going to give Star Fox a fair shake, but nope! GameXplain's YouTube audience seem pretty insistent that it's just a Star Fox 64 clone down to the graphics. Sometimes I just don't understand peopl
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -