Abarcy

The Jungle Book Groove Party

Disney's Jungle Book continues to appeal to children for its lively animal characters and catchy songs. Unlike most dance mat games, The Jungle Book Groove Party tells a story. Rather than sticking to the format of a series of disconnected songs, in this game you must complete one stage before you can unlock the next.

Play is fairly straightforward. Arrows scroll down the screen towards two circles, and you must place your foot on the right directional arrow when it reaches the circle. Combos also pop up occasionally that have to be performed in between regular moves, and this is where things can get tricky. Often performing a combo correctly results in a bonus, but sometimes it leads to a challenge or even a penalty. There are 24 different bonus icons, all of which look pretty similar at a distance. It can be hard to work out which is which whilst you're concentrating on the step directions on the other half of the screen. Five difficulty levels, which include an unlockable crazy difficulty, mean that this is a game with something for all abilities.

The Jungle Book story is told in cut scenes as you progress through nine increasingly challenging songs. Each dance is split into three sections, and you also have three lives per song. After each song you complete in story mode you unlock the character and song for Versus mode and for the Jungle Gallery. For when you don't have the energy to dance and just want to watch the film, the theatre mode in the Jungle Gallery allows you to play as many scenes as you have already unlocked. Also in the Gallery, there is a dancing stage where you can watch the characters dance, or stumble, through the songs. Complete Lou Bega's challenge and you can also watch his version of "I Wanna Be Like You".

In Versus mode you can pit any unlocked character against another, but this is only available as a two-player mode. Each person can compete at different difficulties at the same time, presumably so there's some kind of handicap available for good players.

Every time you restart this game you need to go to Options and select Load in order to get your saved game data. Otherwise you will be starting from the beginning each time, and you will overwrite your old data when you try to save. Unfortunately The Jungle Book Groove Party doesn't load your saved game automatically, or even prompt you to do this, so it's easy to assume the game isn't saving properly. This is the main drawback of a game that's otherwise very simple to use.

It's quite an old game, but still enjoyable thanks to the music and storyline, and although the graphics are a little blocky this suits its cartoon style. The songs are infectious and will have you dancing along to "The Bear Necessities" and "Go Bananas in the Coconut Tree" in no time. With no calorie counting, The Jungle Book Groove Party is clearly focused on family entertainment, and it succeeds thanks to its easy progression and the element of fun it brings to the dance mat.