Another kids dancing game arrives to Kinect, again nothing surprising. For those that haven’t heard about this one, the synopsis states:

Nickelodeon throws a dance party, and everyone is invited! Kids can share the dance floor with some of their favorite Nickelodeon stars, including Dora, Diego, The Fresh Beat Band, and the Backyardigans. The 30-song tracklist includes theme songs from the characters’ shows plus other popular songs performed by Nickelodeon favorites. The routines were developed by an expert children’s dance choreographer and are complimented by more fitness-oriented sequences that really get the heart pumping. The whole family can play together in multiplayer, making it a fun musical experience that puts the “active” in interactive.

Overview

Well, I rated this as is because it is geared for really young kids, which in my opinion and from experience, would rather play a Lego game or any other regular kids game besides dancing. If your kids absolutely love dancing though, this game probably isn’t even needed. I suppose if you want to get them out of your hair and you have extra cash to waste on them, then you can probably pick this one up, but this game is really just a fad so it may only last your little ones a few songs and then they’ll call it a day.

The Menu

The menu uses the dance central style, although it’s really quirky and doesn’t work like it should. You will randomly find yourself starting a song and you didn’t even do anything. Anyhow, it’s simplified so there are only these options available – Quickplay, Dance, Workout, Achievements and Options. Quickplay just takes you right into the game although quickplay and dance is basically the same thing, so I’m not sure what the point of it is. The kids this is geared for probably are learning to read, so more than likely they won’t be able to read the menu or know how to use it so it will need parents interaction. Dora does say what each thing is though to try to help the young ones.

Dance

The dance section is basically the main part of the game. The songs are separated into 3 categories based on their difficulty. Each group has 2 songs that are locked and 5 that are unlocked. The locked songs remain locked in the Quickplay mode as well. You have to get a certain number of stars in order to unlock them. Starting steps is the first group, smooth moves is your second group and fancy footwork are the harder songs. Also every mode allows 2 simultaneous players but I didn’t have an extra body willing to participate to test out the detection so we can assume it works.

The actual dancing method works with a 3 star system. 1 star is awarded all the time, even if you don’t do anything. 2 stars are given for you moving and 3 stars are given for somewhat doing the move, you don’t have to be exact at all with this game, but its understandable as there isn’t a feedback system. You do at least get a view window though so you can glance and see if you are doing the moves somewhat correctly. You also have cue cards and one of the characters will yell out what the move is, so I suppose it somewhat helps but there isn’t any learning with this game. You get thrown right into the mess, but the moves are very repetitive so I guess the whole system works for what it is. Here’s a video of one of the normal songs so you can see how it functions altogether:

There isn’t a story or anything and you just jump into the game and start dancing. I found it kind of strange, typically the younger shows on Nick Jr usually teach kids something, especially Dora and Diego. This game doesn’t teach anything at all so I’m not quite sure why it was created. I suppose they can learn the words to their favorite songs on the shows?

Workout

What’s weird with this, is that it’s the same as the dance groups, just different songs that aren’t available in the dance groups. I noticed no difference in the type of dancing between fancy footwork songs and the workout songs, it’s just different dance moves. It also doesn’t count calories, so once again, I’m not sure what the point of it was. There are 8 songs in here if I recall correctly.

Options

There’s not much for options, but you can turn on or off the Dora coaching, lyrics and the taking of pictures. There are also the tutorials in here. One is for the menu and the other is for the game. I’m not sure why, but the game one informs the kids to move furniture out-of-the-way, I don’t think its a good idea for kids to be messing around with furniture.

Graphics/Sound

The graphics are ok, they aren’t amazing and I’m kind of baffled. The developers went into making sure the characters blink, but they have a dumbfounded open mouth gesture on all of them. If I remember when my kids watched these shows, Dora/Diego always sung along with whatever song so it looks strange. The only authentic thing in this game is the voices, songs and characters although cel-shading may have enhanced the overall look. The songs are full length and all of the voices are annoying as the real ones. If you haven’t seen the tracklist, we have it available here.

The shows included are Dora, Diego, The Backyardigans and The Fresh Beat Band. Songs range from the actual shows theme songs to normal songs, just modified to fit in the Nick Jr style. There are christmas songs as well, I have no idea why all of these games are including christmas songs now, but since it’s that time of the season, here’s one for you to check out:

Conclusion

Unfortunately, that’s all there is to this game. As long as you aren’t expecting anything great, and need something for the kid who has it all, this is probably a good choice. In general, it’s not a great idea as there are tons of dancing games already especially ones without feedback systems. The characters may have been a good idea if there was some type of learning involved, but the only positive thing probably is that it’s available for Kinect as we all know, any Kinect dancing game is better than it’s Wii counterpart. This is one of those take it as it is titles. Hopefully, we are done with these types of games as they seem to be more of a waste of resources on everyone’s part and leave them for the Wii, Kinect doesn’t need more shovelware.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Nickelodeon Dance
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