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
  @JimSterling

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.



THE VERDICT

6

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 *.disqus.com 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!


Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Gameous avatarGameous
Quby - The Cube Jumper
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
I know I'm making a 4th post by doing this, but for some reason my quickpost posted as multiples... Apologies for the clogging.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
We don't do Friday Night Fights anymore right? Any DTOIDers have Battlefront or WiiU parties that could use the company of An Eager to Cunnilingus Cannibal?
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
We don't do Friday Night Fights anymore right? Any DTOIDers have Battlefront or WiiU parties that could use the company of An Eager to Cunnilingus Cannibal?
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
We don't do Friday Night Fights anymore right? Any DTOIDers have Battlefront or WiiU parties that could use the company of An Eager to Cunnilingus Cannibal?
Luckrequired avatarLuckrequired
10 years of this. Yeeeah baby!
Vamessi17 avatarVamessi17
Xbox One proves that they're useless.They said that they are better than Sony's PS4 since they've got more and better exclusives and that doesn't mean that they should offer most of the exclusives to PC.Now there's no need to own an Xbox.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Well, I just ordered in an Undertale shirt. Despite my being crap at the game, it's just so charming. So. Ridiculously. Charming. I can't get mad at it, despite my awfulness at the bullet hell aspects.
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, SMT IV: Final looks like it'll make fans of the older games happy. Especially fans of SMT 2.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Do games go in cycles like style? I mean, I think I can just as well play my 1993 Space Hulk (PC CD) instead of getting the moderately new Space Hulk instead.
Occams avatarOccams
Naruto 4 installs on my PS4 and it updates. Game says it can't run story mode during installation. Nothing's installing though. Restarted PS4. Reinstalled. Nothing. Fucking dumb.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
This plays in my head every time I tell myself to stay determined.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Tonight, I learned what Flanx and MrNovember sound like in discord, listened to the best idea for a movie ever, and learned a little more about the depths of human depravity. A night well spent. Fuck us all.
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, the artist that they used for Street Fighter 5's story mode(the arcade one) is kinda...not good. Go look up Laura's CGs. Colors are pale, and proportions sometimes end up kinda bonkers. Like, "extreme hourglass figure" level of bonkers.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Justin Timberlake blasts Kuma in the ass and dies.
ooktar avatarooktar
I'm loving these fighting game elitists trying to give me shit because I criticized Street Fighters Fight Money business model.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Thanks to Dtoid I now have this gif in my life, and I can't stop laughing. I seriously can't get over it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Finished SOMA today , was able to do a second run without enemies with the "Wuss" mod, found it actually more frightening has you get more time to think about what is really going instead of doing hide-and-seek with the AI (Alien Isolation I miss you)
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I stayed up late last Saturday writing a Dead Space 4 proposal outline. Solved every plot hole, had plenty of badass moments. This is the state I live in, people.
Torchman avatarTorchman
WHY DO THEY GET SOUNDS BUT PIKACHU AND CHARIZARD CAN'T. WTF
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -