Reviewed: December 8, 2007
Released: October 31, 2007
Okay. Let me take a moment and catch my breath here. And let me start this review with a small disclaimer: I am straight. I don’t wear flashy clothes. I don’t “pop” my collar. I don’t even have good posture. Apparently, however, I have rhythm. And apparently, that’s all that you need to have a really good time playing a game that looks like it was made for pixie-dust loving, sparkly, bubbly, princesses…and queens.
Yes, Dancing with the Stars is all about glitter and sparkles and dancing…but damn if it isn’t a rip-roaring good time.
Using the Wii remote for a dancing game. At first, I was skeptical. I thought, how can they possibly make you dance using only hand gestures? I mean, dancing is about moving your legs, right? Well, as I found out, it is about moving your arms too. ‘Cause what I found is that when you start moving your arms, you move your whole body. And the more you get into the motions in the game, the better your scores end up getting.
You have directions that swing in from the left and right side of the screen. The directions that come in from the left are what you have to do with your nunchuk and the ones that come in from the right are what you have to do with the remote. Moving each device up, down, left, and right is only the beginning, however. You have to make the motion and click the appropriate trigger on the rhythm.
There are hold moves where you have to hold the trigger for a specific length of time. Then, there are the special motions like the Twist, the Hand Jive, or the Wave, where you have to do specific things and get bonus points. It is a similar concept as with a Guitar Hero/DDR style game, but with the new twist of having to use the remote, it makes it a very fun and interesting game.
There are also coop and versus modes that make the game a lot more fun than just dancing by yourself. I highly recommend that you play this game with a group…unless you have no rhythm…then play by yourself (and don’t tell anybody that you own the game).
I do think that in order to have a really good dancing game, you’d need to combine this game with a DDR style dance pad, but it’s good to see that we’re making progress.
The graphics are merely adequate for the game. They modeled many of the actual dancers (both professional and celebrity) that have been on the show over the last few seasons, but the models are usually only a poor representation of who they are supposed to be, at best. The good thing is, however, that you are paying most of your attention to the dancing cues to be able to notice whether or not the graphics are any good.
Also, I don’t think that the dances that are played out while you go along change in any way depending on how good or bad you do. At least, I never noticed them miss a step or hold if I missed a beat with my controller, so my guess is that it is a fairly scripted scene that you see every time. But, like I said, it doesn’t really matter. If you have enough time to watch the dancers, you’re probably not playing the game anyway.
Where the graphics lack, the sound makes up for it. The music selections are great, first of all. I loved most of the 30+ tracks enough that it made me want to go back and do them again, even if I had done a good enough job to continue on in the first try. You'll recognize several licensed songs used in the television series such as: The Final Countdown, Bailamos, These Boots are Made for Walking, She's a Lady, I like the Way You Move, Put Your Records On, and Independent Women Part 1 just to name a few.
The voice acting is done by the actual people from the show, as well, including the judges and the announcer, so I was pretty impressed by that. The bad thing, though was that I really got sick of hearing the judges little sound-bite reviews of my dance each time, so I ended up skipping through them anyway, since it has no real bearing on the game, whatsoever.
I was really surprised that I loved this game as much as I did, but I really think that it has a high replay value. The learning curve is perfect on amateur level and then you can go back through and really challenge yourself with the professional difficulty on the dances, which really steps it up a notch. And, as I said earlier, the music is really good so you won’t get sick of playing dances over and over because you’ll enjoy the music as you try and perfect your steps.
I’m really kind of embarrassed that I’m giving this game such a high score. I thought I was going to hate it, but I really liked it. Now all they need to do is combine the hand motion dancing from this game with a DDR style game to get the full body involved and you’ll have a really hard and involved dancing game on your hands.
I would recommend this game as a party game. If you’re going to have friends over, this is a great game to break out to really get everybody moving and having a good time. It’s simple enough even for people who can’t dance at all, but challenging enough that I think a real, professional dancer would enjoy it as well.