DJ Star (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew



It's fair to say that the Wii brought the virtual fitness fanatic out of a lot of gamers and thousands of people, around the world, now simply pick up their Wii Remote to indulge in a game of tennis, or even a few rounds of bowling. The same is probably true of music and rather than taking up valuable years of your life attempting to master a guitar or drums, you can now get an entertaining sound from your Rickenbacker in only a few hours thanks to games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. DJ Star takes the whole thing one step further and now all you budding DJ's, who can't afford the decks, can entertain club goers with your trusty DS. At lest that's what we suspect it's attempting to do.


While there's a great deal of knobs and slides to tinker with in DJ star we'd recommend you heading for the Career Mode as that's really where all the action happens. As you'd expect, you start at the bottom with little in the way of experience and fame with only close friends giving you the chance to entertain them. Getting them on the dance floor and progressively filling some of the smaller clubs begins to get you noticed and, more importantly unlocks features for you decks and more tracks to play. This leads onto bigger and better locations around the world with not only the amount of clubbers you'll have to entertain increasing but also the time you'll have to keep them dancing for and the later levels can last for around 20 minutes or so. This isn't too much of a challenge (to start with at least) and most gamers will be at home with simple mixing and samples whilst keeping an eye on how many dancers are actually dancing and what the clubs atmosphere is. You also have the ability to fade in and out of tracks, choose where you want the track to begin and some simple scratching but you will have to become a great deal more sophisticated if you are to entertain the larger crowds.

The atmosphere is generated through a series of mini-games which pop up as you struggle to get clubbers on the dance floor. These are all pretty straightforward and generally involve following a rhythm of some description or following a set pattern. In fact, very similar to the kind of thing you find in most games of this nature. Once you have exhausted all this there's even the chance to mix your own club classics thanks to the Creation Mode and better still, these can be swapped with other DS owners with the wi-fi facility. You can achieve surprisingly complex compositions here and could produce then next worldwide club hit all with the help of your DS. Who knows eh?


Given that the whole experience relies on a 'hands on' approach to things, the entire game is controlled using the stylus. Well, what did you expect?


Visually the game takes the urban club scene and expands upon it in every way. Your character, for example looks like it's based on the tallents of a graffiti artist and this style is carried throughout the game both in terms of interface and linking the various sections. The various clubs you'll visit are similar and rather than going for the fully animated dancers the developers have instead gone for more atmospheric, but well animated, sillouetts. The main focus of the game though has been kept very tight indeed and the decks and their various nobs and sliders are all present and correct making the important task of mixing the music that much easier.


With a game based around music you'd expect the sound to be good and it is although we would recommend headphones to truely enjoy the whole experience. One odd thing though is that none of the tracks are originals but rather covers of classsic club hits so rather than being treated to the likes of Eric Prydz and Pharrell Williams you are instead listening to the John Stage Band wrap thier tallents around just about everything you hear. As we've said, it's all good but the originals would have been better.

Dual screen

Given just how much you'll be required to do, in order to entertain the club goers, this could have been a real challenge. Fortunately, there's more than enough help and prompting to keep you on task that is, until you hit the big time. The interaction itself is a case of juggeling four balls at once and your biggest challenge is to keep things going and entertaining. The worst thing we did was to have a period of 15 seconds without music resulting in everyone leaving the club.

Final comments

Aspiring DJ's will no doubt get a kick out of DJ Star and the mix of quality tracks and simple gameplay with have most imaginging the could conquer Ibiza next summer with little problem. It does have some downsides though and even it's you've never had leaning towards mixing the decks before, you can complete the Career Mode in a day or so. Fortunately, there's more than enough replay value to be had with the other Modes. Definately worth a look at lest until Activision's DJ Hero comes along.

Pro: Very Easy to Pick Up and Play, Great Soundtrack.
Con: All Tracks are Covers.
Final score: 6.9


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Boxart of DJ Star (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: Game Life
Publisher: Deep Silver