We Dance – Review

Title: We Dance

Genre: Dance/Rhythm Action

System: Nintendo Wii

Developer: Nordic Games

Publisher: Nordic Games Publishing/PremierPR

It has recently been getting a bit claustrophobic in the dance gaming sector, with new titles releasing on every platform out there; there’s Just Dance, Dance Central, Get Up And Dance, DanceMasters and Zumba just to name a few. Dance gaming has been popular for years, with an initial peak at the release of Dance Dance Revolution and the bonus peripheral Dance Mat on the PS1. Most of the criticism surrounding the launch of renowned dancing series Just Dance (Wii) was that you could get away with ‘waggling’ your Wii-mote and standing awkwardly still, rather than actually dancing to earn yourself points – something that changed with the release of Dance Central on the Xbox Kinect. It seems to me that Nordic Games thought about how to combine the best aspects of DDR with Just Dance to create the ultimate dancing experience using both your hands and feet, and what follows in this review is the result.

From DDR Nordic took the Dance Mat – an excellent peripheral that is probably still lodged in most household cupboards since the PS1 days. If you can remember that far back, you’ll be thinking about the bright colours, large directional arrows, Start and Select buttons and that slippery plastic surface that went flying across wooden floorboards on a round of End of The Century on Extreme mode. Nordic has kept the basic outline for the classic Dance Mat, keeping all the directional pads, but the We Dance’s ‘Star Mat’ is a darker, less exuberant colour than Konami’s efforts, which oddly juxtaposes We Dance’s energetic and vibrant in-game colour scheme. While not as aesthetically pleasing, the inclusion of the Star Mat does help to liven up the game, and remedy Just Dance’s aforementioned problems.

From Just Dance Nordic took style. Every character model in We Dance looks suspiciously similar to Just Dance’s models, albeit slightly blander. However, We Dance’s colour scheme and overall presentation does look good, except from the slightly messy layout on the actual dancing stages. It’s a shame really, as the layout on these stages really does let the game down and could have easily been remedied. The main problem is that there is too much going on, when really all you want to concentrate on is copying the dance moves of your character model. In the background is a small music video to the song you are dancing to, which would have been fine, had the video not been slightly blurry and pixelated at times. In the centre of the screen is some random character dancing, which you would presume to be the character you are copying – but no, your character is in fact down in the bottom left corner with some boxes around him. Once you’ve grasped which character’s moves you’re meant to be copying, it is plain sailing from there, but had Nordic Games copied the gameplay layout from Just Dance they would have vastly improved the game overall.

We Dance utilises a difficulty system based on how many limbs your thrusting about to earn yourself points. For example, using your hands (Wii-mote) alone is ‘Easy’, feet alone (Star Mat) are ‘Medium’ and hands and feet (Wii-mote and Star Mat) are ‘Hard’. This is one of We Dance’s best features, as it allows for a range of different styles and techniques in gameplay, and offers more than most dance games currently available. There is also a great selection of songs; those that your mum and dad will insist on ‘boogie-ing down’ to, some party and club classics as well as hit pop songs. One of my personal favourite tracks to dance to is the rather energetic Spice Up Your Life, which has one of the best routines. Unfortunately, choosing which song to play can be a bit of a bore, as each preview audio track and video takes up to 6 seconds each to load. Now times that by the 40 playable songs, and you can see the problem if you just want to quickly flick through each song.

We Dance’s length of gameplay is expansive, with plenty of routines to learn, high scores to smash and the opportunity to download even more songs on top of that from the online store. While this may not be a game that you will race home to play each night, it is definitely the game you would whip out when you have your friends round, or after a few drinks at a party. We Dance may not be the perfect example of a game from the dancing genre, but what it does offer is a lot of variety and a bit of fun.

Katy’s score – 6/10

Quickfire Review: Although slightly sloppy at times, We Dance provides gameplay variety and a quick fix for all your dancing urges.

Second Opinion: Ryan – Unpolished mechanics but good at parties and/or drunken fun! 5.5/10

Special thanks to budding Graphics Designer Ryan Page (Twitter name: @SmashedMelon) for contributing his own Second Opinion!

We Dance is Out Now!

Prices from retailer GAME website (on the 9th September):

Game only – £19.99

Game + 1 Star Mat – £29.99

Game + 2 Star Mat – £39.99

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