Reviewed: October 23, 2006
Reviewed by: Mahamari Tsukitaka
Released: September 27, 2006
The latest version of Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution series on the PS2 is a direct port of the arcade game of the same name. Continuing the tradition of the DDR series, Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA provides fun dance steps for over 70 songs with over 100 minutes of music from varying genres, including among the classic DDR tracks some tunes from well-known artists such as Franz Ferdinand, David Bowie, and Cyndi Lauper.
The space-themed DDR SuperNOVA is designed very similarly to the other DDR titles, providing choreographed dance steps to a variety of songs that one or two players can perform on a console-compatible dance pad. As with its predecessors, SuperNOVA includes several different game modes for the player to choose from, as well as a number of different difficulty levels to suit players’ needs.
There is, of course, the standard Game Mode (including the Single, Versus, Double, and Hands & Feet play styles) that allows gamers to get straight to dancing, as well as the familiar Workout Mode that provides aerobic workout steps and tracks calories burned. SuperNOVA also includes an Advanced Mode (most options under this mode must be unlocked first), a Training Mode useful for practicing more difficult songs, an Edit Mode that allows players to record their own steps, and an Online Mode to compete over the Internet.
There’s even an additional mode that allows you to link to a DDR SuperNOVA arcade machine, should you have access to one. In short, SuperNOVA contains neatly polished versions of the familiar game modes from its predecessors while adding a few new ones.
SuperNOVA’s biggest new feature is the fun “Stellar Master Mode,” which plays a bit like the story mode from the Soul Calibur fighting game series. In Stellar Master Mode, one or two players can travel to different planets (called “Stellar Joints”) at which they can complete different dancing tasks and win “showdowns” to earn VIP cards.
There are tasks for dancers of all skill-levels, and the game makes sure to give DDR beginners some useful pointers (such as “you don’t need to always stand in the middle of the pad” and “try turning your body to accomplish some of the dance patterns”) to help beginners improve their technique more quickly.
For that matter, step difficulty levels are noticeably refined from previous DDR titles. The Beginner level is the easiest and is perhaps a bit gentler on DDR newbies than the previous Beginner level. Meanwhile, the Standard level has now been split into Basic and Difficult to accommodate midrange dancers of varying skill, and advanced players can choose between the Expert and Challenge levels. Given these five settings, there’s now an appropriate difficulty level for just about every player.
Also different in SuperNOVA is the selection of music. Unlike previous DDR titles which were heavier on the electronica and J-pop, SuperNOVA includes a large number of songs that the general American population will probably recognize, including Franz Ferdinand’s “Do You Want To,” Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” and even Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor Or Humanity” from the Kill Bill movie soundtrack – and depending on your musical taste, you may or may not think this is an improvement. If these new additions don’t appeal, though, don’t worry: staple DDR music by artists such as Naoki and BeForU is still on the diverse list.
Finally, SuperNOVA follows the popular trend in modern games in allowing players to customize their game using points earned during play. These points can be traded in at the Shop to buy additional characters, backgrounds, songs, and a slew of other extra unlockable goodies for the game.
While the graphics in this latest incarnation of DDR are pretty similar to those we’ve seen in prior DDR’s, there seems to be an added level of polish and hipness to SuperNOVA’s graphic design. It’s nothing excessively impressive compared to some of the lifelike renders game companies can throw onto the screen these days, but the brightly colored mix of bold urban art, music video clips, and smoothly animated cartoon dancers is remarkably pleasant to look at.
As I mentioned earlier, the song list in SuperNOVA is a little different from what many DDR players are used to, but it’s still a good mix of a variety of genres, so there should be something to please almost everybody in a party situation. The same enthusiastic announcer is still there to praise you on your brilliant dance moves, and the game delivers both this and the music in clear Dolby sound.
At $39.99, DDR SuperNOVA is cheaper than your average PS2 game and provides endless hours of party fun. Sure, maybe it’s not much different from the other DDR titles in concept, but many DDR players still enjoy the challenge of mastering a new song with new steps. With over 70 songs included and the new Stellar Master Mode, even owners of previous DDR titles may find it worthwhile to check out this new title.
In most ways, DDR SuperNOVA is just more of the same tried-and-true dance game goodness. The addition of the Stellar Master Mode was probably my favorite improvement included in SuperNOVA, though; as it adds a novel element to the familiar party game classic rather than just improving on established modes.
All in all, SuperNOVA a solid DDR title with cheery graphics and a balanced mix of music genres, so if you like DDR and want more, by all means, this is a good one.