Bollywood Wannabe is a platformer rhythm game from Chrysaor Studio that features lively Bollywood scenes. If you have watched Bollywood films on your TV (or on Youtube) before, then you must know that it can be quite fun to watch the thrilling song and dance routines.
These memorable routines are truly a kaleidoscopic explosion of cultural extravaganza filled to the brim with rhythmic beats, great dance choreography, and wonderful melodious singing. In attempting to capture the cultural essence in Bollywood Wannabe, Chrysoar Studio has done a wonderful job of featuring an excellent selection of songs by genuine artists, and sticking with a refreshing cartoon style that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Chrysaor Studio, based in Quebec City, is the brainchild of Catherine Levesque (who formerly hails from Ubisoft, Longtail Studios, and Frima). With Bollywood Wannabe, Catherine has put Chrysaor Studio on the map as an indie game development studio that produces refreshingly fun games oozing quality and charisma.
What you get
Bollywood Wannabe is a single player game that will have you hopping and dancing through 10 levels while listening to Hindi filmi music from composers like Bob Mann, Shivangi Bhayana, Nishant Mudgal, Riffat Sultana, G-Deep, and more. You will also find a hilarious story accompanying your single player experience. It has you following a desperate (but amusingly enterprising) producer and his two up-and-coming Bollywood stars – Kumar Khan and Kendra Kapoor. Kumar looks like your typical dashing Bollywood hunk (think Salman Khan when he was younger) and sweet Kendra is your alluring Bollywood leading lady (think Kareena Kapoor in Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon).
The main objective of the game is to guide either Kumar or Kendra through each of the game levels. You will have them dancing through neighborhoods or special places like a hotel, a park, a wedding, on a train, or even at a cemetery. Melding aspects of action, platformer and rhythm game play styles, you must guide your star over occasional platforming obstacles (with the help of the W-A-D keys) while tapping on your keyboard in time to the beats (Arrow keys).
Bollywood Wannabe comes with a rather good tutorial for the uninitiated, which serves as a good introduction to the game. If not, you can also scroll through the built-in help window to understand more about Bollywood Wannabe’s game play objectives.
A rhythm bar at the bottom right center of the screen indicate the beats that you must tap to: short beats require quick key presses while long beats will have you holding down an arrow key and releasing it only when the beat ends.
Incidentally, each arrow key introduces a different dance move, so pressing the up arrow key on a short beat causes your star to either clap his hands in the air or assume a simple dance stance, while pressing the down arrow key on a long beat (and holding down the D key) causes him to start moonwalking backwards. By picking the arrow keys of your choice, you can even choreograph a pretty slick dance routine that moves in time to the heady Bhangra music you hear playing in the background.
There are two modes of play in Bollywood Wannabe, a one-button or four-button mode. Beside these two modes of play, there are also four difficulty levels that you can choose from. In the one-button game mode, pressing any Arrow key gives you the same end result, but in four-button mode, you must press different arrow key combinations to keep things going. If you happen to reuse a key or a combination of keys consecutively, your star’s popularity will be penalized.
Popularity is indicated by a colorful meter that is found to the left of the rhythm bar. The more accurate you are with hitting your arrow keys accurately on each better, the better will be your popularity – indicated by a colorful bar that grows (or shrinks) in size. When the popularity meter becomes full, a “follower” will start dancing in time together with your Bollywood Wannabe star. This “follower” mimics every dance move your star makes . The more followers you have at any time on the screen, the more impressive looking will be the dance scene. If you let your popularity suffer, your “folllowers” will start leaving you.
There are two other game aspects worth mentioning: the spotlight and superstar mode. If your star steps into the spotlight, he will have to stop there and continue dancing for five correct beats before he can move on in the level. As it will be “Game Over” if you don’t reach the end of the level by the time the music finishes, it is best to zip past these spotlight as quickly as you can. Conversely, if you reach the end of the level early, the words “Superstar” will materialize above that spot. This is the time to start hitting out combo dance moves to score as many bonus points as you can.
Your score for the level (and star quality) is computed only at the end of a level. Bask in all the limelight and congratulate yourself for choreographing a magnificent Bollywood dance routine. After you hit on the Next button, you can choose to replay the entire dance scene all over again.
There’s no mistaking that Bollywood Wannabe takes a niche subject matter – that of the Hindi-language movie industry, and shapes it into an incredibly fun and original game, topping it with an excellent user experience and a lighthearted story. The cartoon style artwork, music, and game play all come together to make this a one-of-a-kind, shall we say it – wonderful theatrical extravaganza.
No game is however without its problems. Fortunately, there aren’t too many serious problems when it comes to Bollywood Wannabe.
Firstly, the platforming feature feels just a wee bit sticky, especially when you are trying to press either W-A-D together with an arrow key or two. At times, you may have to let go of all keys before pressing the desired key again to get the effect you want. Second, the placement of the rhythm bar and popularity button at the bottom of the screen causes you to sometime lose your attention to the colorful dance scene taking place directly above them. You can opt to view or save a replay. If you choose the latter, be prepared to wait a few minutes as a video of your gameplay is created.
The other problem you may perceive is that the game is too short. True, you only have to play through 10 songs and gawk at the linear level designs, but luckily there are lots of unlockables waiting for you to uncover: from secret followers, to new actor graphics, to alternate endings, and funny level dialogues – see how many you can unlock. Another thing is that although you have four difficulty levels, you can memorize the beats after playing them a couple of times. It would have been preferable to have some beat randomization scheme implemented to keep the player on their toes.
It would be a shame to miss this wonderful game coming from Chrysaor Studio, as it is not everyday that you get to explore the much talked about film industry of India. The game oozes much charm, with Kumar, Khendra, and the funny Producer making for great chemistry. And if world music is your cup of tea – then we believe that the expression – “My cup runneth over” will not be enough to contain your happiness as you listen to the appealing selection of Bollywood music.
We must admit that Bollywood Wannabe will probably not be for everyone, however we wish to only convince you that this action rhythm game truly possesses loads of creativity, great artwork and super fun while blending culture and music all into one powerful cinematic mix. If you still have lingering doubts, you can always head over to their website to download the demo – you get to try out two full levels from the game.
Although derided and denigrated by the West, perhaps it is about time to realize that globalization has only brought the world and its myriad cultures closer together. So why not try out Bollywood Wannabe on your PC today?