I was never a part of the Dance Dance Revolution craze. The closest I came was going to the arcade to watch my friends play once or twice. However, I recently attended the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle with one of my friends who is a fan of dancing games. She and I both tried out two new dancing games, which were available for demo play at PAX.
Just Dance 2, from Ubisoft, is a Wii game that comes out October 12, 2010, and can be played by up to four players. The gameplay centers around the movement of the Wii controller, indicated on the screen as a pink hand on the silhouette of a dancer. The player is meant to follow along the full dance moves shown on the screen, but the only part of the dancing that is scored is the movement of that controller. This means it is entirely possible to play this game while standing still. There’s nothing to make you move your feet, other than your own motivation. Even though the guy next to me was dancing like a maniac, I figured out that I only needed to move the sensor, and I scored the second highest score.
Dance Central, from Harmonix, is one of the first titles that will be available for XBox 360’s new Kinect system, which is a motion capture camera attachment for the XBox 360. The game can be played by any number of people, but only the “lead” dancer’s movements are scored. When my friend and I stood side by side to play, she must have been just a bit closer to the sensor, because she was the lead dancer. This worked out for me, because she scored 5 stars on the hardest setting while I floundered along beside her. The gameplay involves moving arms and legs, and the upcoming moves display beneath the move you are currently performing. Each song also offers a freestyle section, where you can dance however you want, and then are shown a sped up version of your dancing in that portion. Dance Central will also have a “Battle Mode,” which allows two players to each dance to portions of the same song, with their scores being compared to determine a winner. Dance Central will be available on November 4, 2010, the same day that the Kinect system becomes available.
Of the two games, I preferred Dance Central’s motion capture system to the single hand motion required by Just Dance 2. However, my friend thought that the dance moves in Just Dance 2 were more interesting and fun to do. She also noted that she would gladly play either game, because she loves games that let her dance around. The music selection in both games was a bit more toward her taste than my own, though there were plenty of songs that I liked in both games. Overall, while I felt like Dance Central did more to encourage dance as a workout, I think that dancing game fans would find much to enjoy about Dance Central or Just Dance 2.