Event-Worthy Game Review: Dance Central

Ease of Play: 8
Event-Friendliness: 9
Overall Fun-Factor: 9

What’s the latest game to draw in the crowds and get everyone on their feet? That would be the one and only Dance Central on the Xbox 360 Kinect, letting players choose from a wide variety of songs such as pop sensations from Lady Gaga all the way to old school Salt ‘N’ Pepa hits. No need for controllers or bulky dance pads! The Kinect camera tracks the movements from your body and allows for a fully immersive dance game that any group, young or old, can enjoy.

Dance Central is definitely a game that puts the spotlight on the ones who are dancing, so first be sure you have the right crowd. Players need to be outgoing and not afraid to get up and show off their moves. This game certainly draws in a watching crowd as well, so this might make some of the players uncomfortable or hesitant to play. If this may be an issue or concern, have a different game in at the beginning of your party or event, and roll out Dance Central as the eve has progressed and guests have had a few drinks to loosen up. Once people begin to see what a hit it is, it will open up the floor and everyone will be waiting for a turn!

To get started, players have several songs to choose from and each range in difficulty. It’s always best to get started at the beginner level to see what the game is all about. Once you the swing of things, you may want more of a challenge and can try medium or difficult.

There are a few different ways to get started playing the game. If the dancer chooses the “Break it Down” option, a slow paced, broken down version of the song is provided, where the avatar shows you the steps little by little, and you have a chance to practice. You are rated on how well you are doing and given lots of helpful tips to perfect those dance moves. The only problem with this option is that it takes a little while to practice and get through the whole song, sometimes allowing a watching crowd to get antsy or you just wanting to get started already.

If you’re like me, you might be ready for a challenge, and you can choose to “Perform It!” without practicing. I prefer just winging it and getting started this way. It’s fairly easy to just follow the avatar on screen and pick up the moves as you go. “Flashcards” of the moves appear on the right side of the screen to let you know what move is coming up next and how long each move lasts. As you dance through the game, you are awarded points for each move you successfully complete. Once you finish the song, your points are added up, and you get a percentage score on how many moves you passed. You are also given stars – 1-5 for how well you danced to the song. This option only allows 1 person at a time, but sure attracts a group of people that want to check out what all the excitement is about!

The coolest, and most popular way to play Dance Central though is by competing in a “Dance Battle” with a partner. This is especially a hit at parties and events as it takes them to a whole new level. Players choose their song, and it starts with Player 1 showing off his/her moves. Player 2 has an advantage here because he/she can see the dance moves they will have to perform. Mid-way through the song, Player 2 is invited up, and Player 1 gets a break. Each player dances one more round, and once the song is over, the final scores are posted, where the overall winner is revealed. Be prepared to have a group of people behind you, cheering you on!

A favorite feature in this game is the Kinect camera that takes photos of the dancer during the “Freestyle” break. At a few moments in each song, players are asked to show their moves, where the camera snaps a few fun shots. These always offer a good laugh to the dancer and viewers and allow you to incorporate any of your own specialty moves into a song.

One thing for sure is that this game gets you and your guests up and moving. Even those just watching have an exciting time checking out the players and clapping along. Don’t be surprised when you feel like you’ve had a workout and have broken a sweat at the end of your dance session. Next time you need a great game for your party or event, pop this one in and let your guests get their dance moves on!

Event Themes Integration:

Dance Theme
Pop Icon Theme: Lady Gaga
Disco Theme
Decade Parties (‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s)

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