Platforms: Xbox 360
Players: Single Player / 2 Player Challenge
It has been a deep dark secret of ours now for some time… getting up late at night putting on sweatbands, our neon short shorts, a wife beater and our mix tape of hot dance jams! Well that is no more we’ve got something to get off our chest and that is… we love to dance!
Why are we telling you this? Well anyone living near our dear Editor will hear music blaring into the wee hours of the morning, feel vibrations emanating from the house and a lot of shouting and dissing! That’s right we got ourselves a copy of Dance Central for Xbox 360 and we are not embarrassed to be telling you just how much fun we’ve had!
Developed by Harmonix and published by MTV Games ‘Dance Central’ was one of the first games released alongside Microsoft’s Kinect. In its first 8 weeks the game has managed to sell over 1.2 million copies worldwide and it’s pretty clear why!
Dance Central has no storyline but it’s not one of those mindlessly repetitive party games either. It is a fun colourful and engaging game and combined with Kinect it becomes one of the smartest games out their today. It is what a lot of video games today are missing: a necessary challenge. Dance Central takes any real gamer out of their comfort zone and puts them into a mode of play – learning dance moves is not as easy as it sounds or looks.
On release the game had thirty two songs available for play immediately and songs are separated into various categories ranging from ‘Warm-Up’ to ‘Off the Hook’ and if you are in anyway adverse to any form of physical activity or you just don’t like dancing then we suggest you stick with the beginners songs and not embarrass yourself like a certain Editor!
There are eight playable characters with a ninth available to be unlocked after you’ve completed all the challenges and proved yourself as a dancer and each of the characters has unlockable outfits which can be unlocked after playing with them long enough. The characters are probably something we didn’t like about the game in that while not absolutely necessary, the option to actually build your own dancer or incorporate your own avatar would have been nice as the eight characters (that’s right we still haven’t unlocked the ninth) are actually kind of annoying in that they are built to represent stereotyped dancers who act like complete douche bags! (It’s ok to say douche bag in a review?) Their programmed speech only grates on us further and perhaps a customizing option could have saved the game here.
Our only other annoyance has more to do with Kinect sensor and the time delay. We altered the settings on the Kinect, re-calibrated as much as possible, put it in a perfect spot and adjusted the lighting as much as we could but whether it’s the speed of the game or some other issue Kinect has a hard time registering all of the moves. Yes, we are blaming Kinect simply because we can admit that we are not the best dancers but when the move is a simple point to the right point to the left move and the computer tells you that you didn’t do it properly there has to be something going on (no smart comments here!). This does not ruin the game at all or dampen our experience in anyway mind you but it is something to be aware of when you are playing so please try getting the perfect settings before playing.
The game has a few different modes, ‘Break it Down’, which teaches you the steps for every dance, ‘Perform It’, which is where you can throw the whole thing together and get your funk on, ‘Dance Battle’, this is the same as Perform It but two people must have a dance off, taking turns to perform the moves and get the highest score. The game also comes with a ‘Workout’ mode and there is also an option to perform with no flashcards or guidance from the computer!
(For the record this girl copied our moves…)
In the past dance games on Consoles have been more popular in Japan or found a market in female players or guys who weren’t afraid to show their moves. Dance Central however has opened the market up to everyone and it’s about time too! The game is sleek, fast and a definite challenge so if you are worried about getting some slack from your Live mates seeing your Achievements just ask yourself ‘Could do they the Charleston step into a Boardwalk, Spin and pull off a flawless finish?’. It’s very easy to put this game down as just some silly party game but you’d be very wrong, Just Dance requires more skill and speed than button bashing a combo or holding the R trigger until your opponent is filled with lead!
Now if you will excuse us… our song is playing and the rhythm is taking hold!
Great for parties or solo play
Delayed response in play
(This guy also copied our moves…)
*On a news front there is a possible version of Dance Central coming to PS3 and PlayStation Move