Time to raise the roof and lower your dignity
Silent Hill. Resident Evil. Penumbra. These names no longer strike fear in the heart of a gamer. Mention the name of any game with the word ‘Dance’ in it however, and you’ll soon see couch potatoes getting a better workout from the sudden trend of groove-on titles by running a mile quicker than ‘The Flash’. DanceStar Party however, tries to get rid of your inhibitions Besides, I’m not scared, I live near Brighton…flailing arms wildly with a glowing rubber ball in hand is a standard Tuesday afternoon there… Adding to the copious amounts of dance games that have been released recently, DanceStar Party grooves onto shelves glowing with pride for the from the same studios who brought the multitude of Singstar titles to turn your living room into a karaoke bar. Swapping the microphone for a Move controller, a professional dancer takes over your screen alongside original music videos to challenge you to step up to the mark. Offering up 40 tracks, most of which have spent some rather comfortable time in the charts, you’ll be tempted to delete your party playlist off your iPod and replace it with this. Songs ranging from motown classics to recent hip-hop hits populate the playlist, and all provide a much needed strong backbone for the title. Diana Ross’s ‘Upside Down’, Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘Outkast’s ‘The Way You Move’ occupy a weird yet great blend of hits that’ll surely be able to coax most onto their feet. Having said that, the mix is certainly going to be more satisfying to a group of peers, with some avenues perhaps a tad more alien to family players. I don’t even want to think about your gran mindlessly obeying Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ or your dad grabbing his crotch to Jessie J’s ‘Do It Like A Dude’…but maybe they’d be well up for that. As you groove, your performance is constantly rated, with ratings ranging from none existent to ‘Awesome’. Your score gradually rises as you perfect more and more moves, but it doesn’t seem to matter what the lower part of your body is doing…and your dancer accompaniments really do make use of their fancy footwork quite a lot. The game tracks the Playstation Move without fault, and it’s rather satisfying to bust out the robot and be praised for your hip moves. It’s slightly strange, however, that even if you’re not essentially doing the correct moves the dancer is pulling off, seeing as it’s only your right hand that’ll receive critique.
There’s also a fair degree of smugness to be had when you do pull off routines perfectly
Because of this, ratings don’t exactly mean much. Yes, you’ll get 5 stars and rack up scores, but there’s so little emphasis on your progress that there’s no real drive to top the rankings. DanceStar Party turns these selfish cons into praise however, once a large enough group is gathered. You won’t be able to get away with terrible footwork and hyper arm swaying when an audience of friends are reviewing your fancy tumbling. Achievements are thrown out the window when with pals, and replaced with banter fuelled camaraderie and pure fun. It’s basic yet flashy layout, simple pick up and play gameplay and great multi-player modes are the elements that truly make DanceStar Party shine. As well as these, it’s just the little additions which makes it the game a brilliant title to play with pals. The game constantly tracks your progress as you dance, taking sneaky snapshots and displaying them as you play, so you have constantly embarrassing feedback relayed to you, along with a video showing off your highlights. Enter with a half decent sense of humour, and you’ll come out bawling in hysterics as you watch yourself attempt to look cool in front of loved once. If you’re particularly brave, you can even upload the mini mortifying movies on Facebook…or your friends can if they’re fantastic frapists. Not enough of the macarena in Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena’? People shouldn’t care, but my girlfriend certainly did. Not to worry though, DanceStar Party also lets you create dance routines to any of the 40 tracks on offer. Rather than project someone who clearly knows what they’re doing onto the screen, your sorry self is shown grooving to your best improvisation. Rather than following the professional know-it-all, you’re moves are brought to the table, and should others get sick of attempting the near flawless routines, they can have a go at yours. It’s a rather nifty addition, ensuring that you constantly have new challenges for your boogying brethren and can unexpectedly expand the lifespan without the need for DLC, especially if you reside with someone who absolutely must recreate the treadmill dance from OK GO’s ‘Here It Goes Again’. Should you actually care about what you look like in front of your friends, an in depth set of dance classes break down the moves in each song until you become an absolute master in every tune. Part of the fun is looking like a prat every time you attempt a dance at professional mode, but there’s also a fair degree of smugness to be had when you do pull off routines perfectly. Should you care if you look fat in front of your friends, there’s also a workout mode that’ll attempt to get you into shape, but really doesn’t offer much incentive to do so. Featuring several playlists at varying activity levels, songs also slide in a calorie counter. Nothing but a daily diary of how many calories you’ve burnt attempts to inspire you to get fit, and dancing itself completely demolishes your will. You could be pulling off moves extraordinary enough to impress Cirque Du Soliel, it’ll only (apparently) burn off a few millicalories. DanceStar Party brags multi-player, where two players can battle it out on the dancefloor to see who has the smoothest moves. Gather an army of microphones, however, and the dancefloor /living room can become a karaoke bar…and army consisting of 20. Unfortunately, being simply a pathetic wannabe journalist with a face like a mould quiche that can make friends into enemies, I was unable to afford or gather the necessary components/souls needed to take advantage of 20 player multi-player, but it’s easy to see it would go down a storm. If Richard Branson is reading this, then that superb set-list of classics and modern hits would bring down the house should a fun-loving chorus enter, even if the result is a choir of screaming banshees. DanceStar Party does have some rather shallow solo features that won’t exactly charm your lonely self off the sofa. Snare a group of human beings into the mix through, and you have a brilliant party game that’s sure to get even the clumsiest of folk on their two left feet, and at a pretty cheap price it’s certainly worth a pick up if you’ve got a gathering just around the corner. With more DLC packs inevitably on the horizon and a basic yet surprisingly enjoyable dance creator mode that basically adds your own content, you’ll find yourself breaking it out for party after party after exhausting party.
The Bad: …if you have the money to fork out for all the accessories, Workout mode is a cheap addition, Really not much appeal when dancing solo