Up for re-review this time around is DanceMasters, Konami’s launch dance title when Kinect arrived. In case you haven’t heard of this one, here’s the summary of it:

The company that sparked the Dance Dance Revolution looks to do it again, this  time by powering the evolution of interactive dance games. The makers of Dance Dance Revolution have created a new dance experience built around Xbox Kinect.  The dance party rages without any controllers or peripherals as you perform  full-body dance moves to 30 hip-hop, techno, pop, and R&B tracks. Groove at  your own speed with four difficulty levels: Light, Standard, Extreme, and the  ultra-challenging Stealth, where you won’t have any markers to guide you, only a  model’s movements. Create set-lists, challenge friends, save your moves to see  how good you look, and much more.

Overview

This game will only be loved by certain people, particularly those that love the Dance Dance Revolution series. For those of you that are more into the regular dancing games, then it’s a mediocre game. The good thing I suppose is that if you are looking for another dance title, not sure why, but just in case you are and want something with different music other than mainstream, you can pick this one up for a decent price.

The Menu

This one uses a strange method, it’s kind of like a hover and lock, but when you choose the option you want, you have to raise your right arm straight up. If you want to back out of anything, you want to raise your left arm straight up. It’s an odd method, but it does work. Anyhow, the main menu items consist of Dance Mode, Lesson Mode, Status, Xbox Live and Options. As usual, I’ll break each of them down.

Dance Mode

This is main dance mode of the game. There really isn’t a story or career mode, you just jump right in and start playing. The entire game is 2 player simultaneous but you decide whether you want solo mode or dual-mode when first choosing. After you choose your mode, you then choose a song. There are unlockable songs in it, but I just don’t have the will power to play every song to unlock everything so I never did the soundtrack for this one, but I’m sure you can find it. Basically, the songs are all categorized by genre. They consist of Pop, Club, R&B/Hip-Hop, Old School and Para Para. There is a random option and the categories I just mentioned have like a mini-mix mode of them where you can try some out.

As for the game itself, it’s kind of like DDR, but much more mellow. DDR is challenging compared to this one. There are a lot more body mechanics though where DDR is just your feet. There are 3 different difficulty levels – Light, Standard and Extreme. Light mode basically just has some body poses. You don’t really have to move if you don’t want to, the key is just timing the pose and making sure your body is in the correct position at the right time. Here is a video of the light mode to give you an idea:

The standard mode adds in your feet as well as additional arm gestures. The arm gestures really remind me of good old high school choir and musical days. Anyhow, there’s not much more to it, but I did make a video of it as well that you can below:

Lastly, is the extreme mode, which is just more feet movements and arm movements. I didn’t bother with a video of it since it’s really not much different, just different moves and faster.

Scoring is rated on how well you match up the gestures/poses along with your feet. What makes the game challenging is unless you play the songs over and over, you won’t know what to do. It’s more about play, remember and repeat. After you complete a song, you are graded using a letter system with AAA being the best you can achieve. That’s really all there is to the gameplay.

Lesson Mode

There is a nifty little tutorial mode that you can play before you start the game. You have to unlock all of lessons by doing well in the previous lesson. I thought it would help for those that never played this type of game so you could get an idea of how it works. There are 9 lessons in total and I just combined all of them into one video. It does make you try the lessons but I removed those out of the video to save time. Anyhow, you can view it below:

Status

The status section keeps track of your statistics through the game. It’s broken up into 4 categories; Album, Mail, Archive and Records. The Album is for saved snapshots. Mail has mail messages as you progress through the game. Archive has a list of the titles you attain through the game as well as hints. Records keep track of your statistics on how well you do on the songs.

Xbox Live

This is one of the few Kinect titles that features Xbox Live so you can play online, I believe with up to 4 players at a time. I couldn’t find anyone online so I wasn’t able to test it out. However, there are options in here as well. First is Multi Play which gets you into the main multiplayer menu. In here it consists of a Quick Match, Custom Match, Match Making and Xbox Live Party. The other 2 options are Leaderboards and Downloadable Content.

Options

Lastly, there are options that you can change. They consist of turning voice recognition on or off, adjusting the sound effect volume, turning live action on or off which does portray your real-time video of yourself into the background. Next, you can turn snapshots on or off as it does take pictures as you go. The last option is to mask selection of player 1 or 2. What this does is you can cover up your face in case you are shy when you play online, there are all kinds of silly hats and masks that you can wear. Lastly, you can view the credits in here as well.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s a mediocre game unless you are a hard-core DDR fan. Otherwise, from my videos, you can probably see that you aren’t missing much. How much you enjoy this game is ultimately up to you. You don’t have to move around like the game shows you or you can do everything the game offers, so I suppose its kind of a nice feature to have the option to be lazy or go all-out.


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