As a genre, rhythm games have taken a definite dive in popularity. This is in part due to the fact that such games have simply run their course and this is particularly true of console-based rhythm games. Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, and all the other rhythm-based games whether dance or purely music-based have all come and gone - most of these series are no longer in production as a result. It's a bit of a different story in the flash-gaming sphere however since the high accessibility of such games combined with the zero cost for the player makes for casual gamers, lunchtime time-fillers, and during-work time wasters all flocking to play all kinds of games so long as they can waste another five or ten minutes of their time with them. There are few genres that can pass the time like the rhythm game genre, a group of games to which Extreme Morris dancing belongs.
Forget old-fashioned Morris dancing as you know it, however: Extreme Morris dancing involves Mousebreaker's unique twist on the traditional folk-dancing style in order to make it into a fun yet highly challenging and at times frustrating rhythm game. Extreme Morris Dancing's gameplay isn't quite as elaborate or in-depth as many of the console-based dance games such as Just Dance 2014 and is instead a game that is simple in concept and format. The idea is to make a Morris dancer perform moves in time with the music by pressing different keyboard buttons at the correct time as their corresponding ones move across the screen and into the dedicated zone which means that that particular key must be pressed. There is a man with a blunt instrument standing next to you who has an anger meter next to him. Each missed moved leads to the meter filling up a little more and once it is full, the man will hit you over the head. If he does this enough times then the game is over.
The format is almost identical in fashion to the countless other rhythm-based games on the internet. Games such as Guitar Geek and the Santa Rockstar Metal both have similar interfaces which all involve certain keyboard keys passing across the screen where they must be pressed as they reach the zone at the other end of the screen. In the case of Extreme Morris Dancing, various combinations of the directional arrow keys and the spacebar will move across the screen from left to right; the corresponding keyboard buttons must then be pressed when they pass through the zone at the right of the screen. Hitting the correct buttons at the correct time awards you with points while missing them of course fills up the instructor's anger meter and brings him closer to hitting you. You'll even win a trophy if you happen to do well enough.
Though the title of the game evokes a sense of comedy and the gameplay is quite entertaining, its difficulty can definitely border on the frustrating at times. The frequency of the buttons that must be pressed increases very quickly as does the complexity of the combinations required to keep the instructor happy and his mallet away from you. Still, this game could be said to be for the hardcore gamers out there that want nothing but the most difficult of challenges in their flash games.
The game is designed in a way that is pleasing to the eye and is quite far from the amateur visual style you sometimes see in games of this genre. The instructor's menacing demeanour is highly amusing and also intimidating at the same time and the accompanying Morris music is also lively and pleasant, though can become annoying the more you play the music game. The only thing this game feels like it is missing is a series of unlockable items that perhaps could enhance the gameplay in some way such as allow you a temporary cooling off period where you were allowed to miss notes or where you gained the power to temporarily slow down the music so you can concentrate more on the imminent keys that need to be pressed. The game definitely misses that sense of progression and reward since the trophy that you are provided with doesn't seem enough for the level of effort that goes into completing the game.
Small omissions aside however, Extreme Morris Dancing is a fantastically fun game and most likely the only Morris dancing game you'll ever play of this quality, or indeed one of the only dancing games of its kind you will play full stop.
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