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.