I also had time to re-review this one, I doubt there is anyone that still hasn’t heard of this series, but just in case, here you go:

No one brings a controller to the dance floor. So why should you have to use one  in a dancing game? Dance Central allows you to let go of the controller, and  just let go! This dance-game-revolution in the making was built by the makers of  Rock Band and uses the power of Xbox Kinect to create a totally free dance  experience. Choose your favorite track from a variety of top R&B, hip-hop,  and pop hits. Follow the moves onscreen as Kinect monitors your motions. Master  choreography step by step in Break It Down Mode, or just hit the dance floor and  groove. Each routine features settings for beginners and seasoned performers.

Overview

This was one of the first dancing games available, and it was great for its time. Obviously it’s been surpassed now, but you can still pick it up for next to nothing to add your dance central collection if you own Dance Central 2 or 3.

The Menu

Dance Central created the infamous swipe method to control menus, as I refer to many of my reviews as the Dance Central menu. It is still the best in my opinion compared to everything else that has been created as it just works. The menu is very simple in its first iteration, consisting of Dance!, Your Stats, Options and the Dance Central Store. As usual I’ll break each one down.

Dance!

This is the main mode of the game. You just jump right in and away you go. The songs are categorized by difficulty type which include Warmup, Simple, Moderate, Tough, Legit, Hardcore and Off The Hook. Once you choose a song, you have a few options which include Break It Down, Perform It!, Dance Battle and Leaderboards. I’ll break all of these down as well.

Break It Down
This mode allows you to really learn the moves step by step. It was the first tutorial of its kind and it worked very well. You can slow down or speed up while you learn the moves. If you fail a move 3 times, you automatically move onto the next, but you can revisit the routine as many times as you need.

Perform It!
This is the main mode of the game. You mirror the dancers on-screen and try to perform the moves exactly as shown. Depending on how well you do, you get rated. If you do something incorrectly, the incorrect body part is highlighted in red on the dancer, so you actually understand what you are doing wrong. Difficulty levels are chosen between easy, medium and hard. Medium and Hard add additional moves to the routine where as easy shows you all the basics first. The system works really well. There is also a workout mode you can turn on so you can keep track of your calories for the fitness freaks.

Dance Battle
This is the 2 player mode of the game, although since everything was new when this game arrived, it is a take turn mode. This version did not have simultaneous at the time. Whichever person scores the most points wins.

Leaderboards
Here you can see how you match up against other Dance Central players from around the world. Your scores are recorded and posted to the leaderboard after you complete the song.

Your Stats

This section is very simple, it just keeps track of all of your stats throughout your progress. It breaks down everything from how many times you play a song and marking it as your favorite song, to how many calories you have accumulated.

Options

The options area is pretty simple as well. It’s broken up with Calibration Settings (which allows you to adjust your TV to the sound so you can only blame yourself for your mistakes), Kinect Tuner, A/V settings which allow you to turn surround sound and video overscan on or off, disable photos and adjust the crowd and effects volumes. Next, there’s an option to turn autosave on or off, a help area which are some simple slides to explain the break it down and perform it modes, and the movies section, which allows you to play the intro, outro and credits whenever you want.

Dance Central Store

This game was also one of the few titles to have its own dedicated store at the time. Harmonix has always been great for DLC on a regular schedule and the store option built-in the game made it much easier to purchase DLC. At the time of this writing, it’s still active even though Harmonix has quit DLC production.

Conclusion

As I’ve stated, when this game came out, it was a great dancing game. I didn’t include any screenshots or videos since there are a ton of them already out there. As of now at the time of this review update (April 3rd, 2013), you either own it along with other Dance Centrals, or you are not interested. If you have a slight interest, but never jumped on the band wagon, you can pick this one up at a really nice price.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Dance Central
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?