Games That Don’t Suck: Russian Dancing Men
Today’s game that doesn’t suck is the amazingly awesome (and hilariously bizarre) Russian Dancing Men (iTunes: 99¢ – Universal) , from SmashMouth Games. At its heart it’s basically a rhythm game where you need to tap one (or two) buttons at the appropriate time to help your character (a Russian Dance troupe leader) get his group safely over the various obstacles that a certain zombie leader left for them. But where I could never really give two shits about the Guitar Hero type rhythm games where you tap a couple colored dots as they slide at you, I found myself thoroughly addicted to this game this entire weekend thanks to its wonderfully random sense of humor.
To be honest, if you aren’t a fan of the absurd, you may not love this game as much as I do, but I really think it’s brilliant. Each level has a different theme, AND more importantly, a different theme song, each of which is amazingly catchy, truly funny, and incredibly annoying – but in a good way. You will definitely find yourself humming and singing them throughout your day, much to the annoyment of your wife. A good test would be if you saw the genius of the “Where is the Fish?” skit in Monty Python’s “the Meaning of Life” film, then you’ll LOVE the cut scenes. Or if you are a fan of those bizarre Japanese games where completely random (and adorable) shit pops up every once in awhile, then this game may also be for you. I swear, the first time those narwhales popped up, I lost it.
Anyway, here’s the official game trailer, with some gameplay footage starting about halfway in. I would suggest you watch it before buying, but then that would defeat the whole purpose of the “Games that don’t Suck” feature, which is of course that I have decided FOR YOU that you want this game, and that you won’t feel cheated out of your hard-earned 99¢.
There are three levels of difficulty, and at first I found the EASY setting so difficult I could not imagine trying the game on “HARD” (and I still can’t, actually) but I have found since that after eventually beating the game on Easy, going back to earlier levels to try to increase your score seems like a cakewalk. I am now trying to rebeat the game on “Normal”, which adds the occasional hybrid obstacle, requiring you to press TWO buttons at once, and it’s a whole new game of frustration.
If you really want, you can spend a little extra money on some “smooth jazz” dancers that can take the place of your Russian Dancing men, but really all they do is say a couple smooth jazz phrases, so I would say hold on to your rubles. There’s also something called a Power Pack which I think will give you unlimited lives, but I am steering clear of that for now as to me it’s cheating. I assume it’s just to help you get through a tough level so you can see the next one (or if you can’t take a particular song anymore) and need to move on emotionally. Still, there were times I was so sure I would never beat a level that the idea would have been tempting if I had noticed the store before beating the game.
One word of caution, my kids find the game hysterical as well, however it IS rated 12+, and really the only reason I can think is that the song on the level entitled “The Capitalist is Nothing Without His Amazing Horse” is clearly about the guy’s penis, although the slightly veiled euphemisms will likely go over the head of younger players. Plus I’d be very surprised/impressed if your kid got that far.
Anyway, you should already have bought Russian Dancing Men (iTunes: 99¢ – Universal) by now and be on level two, so leave me a comment below and tell me how awesome you think the second song is. As always, you’re welcome.