Monday, 27 September 2010

Dance! It's Your Stage review

Dancing games are rare on Xbox 360, and even more so on the Live Arcade. The fact that the player can use the control pad brings Boom Boom Rocket to mind, and makes it easy to get excited about the game. The thing is, it's not like that. And boy, it should have been.

The game allows the player to use a dance mat, or the control pad (it should be said that I reviewed the game using the control pad). After you create a character, you get a brief tutorial from a dance teacher, with a very annoying, patronising voice. Then the first song. If you were expecting another Boom Boom Rocket, you'll be sorely disappointed.

There are two lines that come down the left hand of the screen, one for each foot if you're on the mat, or one for each thumb when playing with a pad. The first few songs are incredibly slow affairs, with each thumb moving in the same direction, with no real pace. The later songs add a bit of a challenge but nothing that gives you a feeling of satisfaction for beating. There are no difficulty levels for each song, they just progressively get harder. This works quite well in career mode but the option would have added lots of potential replayability.

After each song you get the tried and tested rating, bronze, silver or gold, and after most levels you earn an item of clothing. The customisability isn't so great either. There are an average of eight items for each body part, and they are generally quite ugly. To wear them in real life would be out of the question, so it's a shame that the player has to have a badly dressed dancing avatar.
One of the best factors of the game is that each and every song is completely original. That's not to say that they're fantastic, but they are all good quality and have definitely had some thought go into them. The graphics on the dancers are also pretty good. The animation of the dancers is also top notch, it's clear that they have done research with some good, contemporary dancers.

The game could have been better with a whole different control scheme for the controller, various difficulty options, much more customisability, and even some real songs. But unfortunately, this isn't the case. It does nothing new, finds it difficult to keep your attention, and is aimed at an audience which is too small to be a viable reason to make a game. The numbers of Xbox users with a dance mat must be very small, and I don't see this game making a profit. Disappointing.


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