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Full Version: [Dance Paradise] Review: It's a little bit of everything [6/10]
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Dance Paradise

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRnvekJLh_cn7W8POIGIBz...PpGRCknkxQ]
  • Official site
  • Developer: Mindscape
  • Genre: Dance/Music
  • Alternative game name: N/A
  • Modes: Tutorial, Single Player Career, Co-op 2 Player
  • Players: 1-2
  • Online Features: Achievements, Friends, Xbox LIVE Family Settings
  • Kinect Features: Co-op 2 player, In-Game Avatar
  • Kinect Activity Level: Standing - Active
  • Uses avatars?: Yes
  • Age group: Teen-Adult

Dance Paradise - The good
  • Awesome soundtrack, best I've heard yet
  • Moves are very casual, more difficult moves are found in other dance games
  • Free play allows to create setlist, but there's cons to it (see below)
  • In-game challenges during career mode

Dance Paradise - The not so good
  • Loading times are awful
  • It's basically a bunch of chopped up dance moves mashed together, not real dance routines
  • The sound effects are ok at first, but get very annoying
  • Some of the songs are recorded horribly, videos are all 4:3 ratio and it blows them up in some songs and when you watch, so its really pixelated

Dance Paradise - Story
There is a career mode however it's simple stage unlocks from the Guitar Hero days, nothing beyond that.

Dance Paradise - Kinect experience
Kinect works ok with the game. I consider this one of the launch titles, it's just now arriving in the US. It lets you be very sloppy, meaning you don't really have to move around if you don't want to, you just won't get a perfect all the time. On some moves though you can be sloppy and it detects it as perfect.

Dance Paradise - Graphics
The graphics are ok, nothing spectacular but not bad. It's all themed with the cartoony look because of in-game avatars.

Dance Paradise - Gameplay
I think the best way to describe how this game works is to compare to the other dance titles. First, I'll provide an overview of how it plays.

There are 4 colored lanes. Each lane is a position in your playspace. Depending on when color shows up, you have to move to that lane. With real dancing, you typically aren't moving left to right unless its part of the move. This isn't the case. I think its more for specials than anything, I'll get to those in a bit. Once you figure out what lane to use, it's then onto the moves.

Other big reviewers mentioned these moves to be complex. I am by no means a professional dancer, however I am a decent dancer and understand measures/beats/tempos/etc due to music classes. Well this game kind of expects you to know what to do, so I understand where they are coming from saying it's complex. The moves are fairly casual moves, no spins, 2 jumping moves, and one kneel down move. The rest is pretty much waving your hands around in the air with some simple side to side step moves.

How it works is a silhouette figure doing a move comes down the lane, very similar to how Guitar Hero and Rock Band have the fretboards with the colored lanes. This is where it gets confusing, when the dancing character arrives on the platform, you are to perform that move. The thing you have to catch onto is the beat and how many measures the song is in. The moves do go with the beat and are faster or slower based on the tempo, however you are supposed to know when to start and stop and move onto the next move, a lot of people will have an issue with this.

What is annoying is they throw in the different lanes where you have to move left and right, so you will be finishing up one move, trying to count the beat to go into the next move, but then you have to move left or right so it throws you off. There's also a bar that is filled up with some colored sparkly stuff that lets you know how long to perform a move for, however like I said it isn't exact on when to stop, that's for you to figure out.

There's also some different kinds of things in the game. They added in specials. This reminds me of mario kart specials. Some of them include freezing, twinkle (this buzzes your dancing character in and out), sticky and some others. The single player mode takes you through each one so you know what the effects are.

There's also Dance Power...I'm guessing they used Guitar Hero as a model for features to a music themed game. To activate your dance power, your vitality bar will be flashing when its ready and you have to jump. This lasts for about 20-30 seconds (basically 2-3 moves) and you score extra points. What's wierd though is its not a multiplyer like the regular music games so I'm not sure exactly if it doubles your points or what.

Dance Moves:
Onto the actual moves of the game, I am somewhat disappointed at what they did, being backed by Universal and all; they basically animated certain moves from the songs in the videos, and catered them way down to be ok for people who never danced before. There are no set routines, each song is a pile up of what moves they thought that fit with each song, this is choreography from the music videos but it wasn't professionally converted into a game format so some of it is very sloppy.

One problem I had with it is I like to do the moves including hand gestures. Your avatar does the right moves with finger pointing, closed fists, open hands, etc. however the lane characters do not have hands and you don't do the move right, your avatar stops dancing. There are other avatars in the game that you can follow but then your eyes are all over the place so it was annoying to me.

Next the songs. Soundtrack is usually a big buying decision for most people, to me, I love this soundtrack. It's the best I have heard so far on a dance game. The problem with it however is that some of the songs I have no idea where they obtained them from. Great example is Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive (This replaced Lilly Allen's F*** You song). I Will Survive sounds like they took it right from an 8-Track, it's horrible. I don't know how it passed, unless it was just a quick addon before the US release. There's a couple of other songs, one of them being Pussycat Dolls, sounds like it was taken from a cassette tape. This kind of suprised me again since I would suspect Universal provided the music to them.

Game Modes:
- Tutorial - There is a tutorial to kind of show you how it works, but it doesn't do a very good job at it. It's pretty basic.

- Career Mode - The career mode consists of 6 stages, each with a number of songs in each. Everything is locked in the beginning except for Stage 1. Your actual goal is to pass the in-game challenges they throw at you, something like score a certain amount of points, get 3 perfect moves, etc. Once you pass the challenge, you get a golden step? Whatever that is, you use these to unlock the other stages. Each increasing stage requires a higher amount of golden steps to unlock.

- Free Play - This is just regular freeplay. The one cool thing is you can create a setlist. The problem with it, it loads in between each song. I go more into it down below.

- Multi-player - It does offer 2 player simulatenous dancing, it works ok for the most part. Instead of having to move in 4 different spots from left to right, each player is only responsible for 2 lanes, so its a little easier as you don't have to move around as much, but you still need plenty of width for your playspace.

- Video Mode - This mode allows you to watch the music videos, but they are all blown up 4:3 aspects so its pixelated really bad.

All of the songs feature an easy and hard version. Unfortunately none of the songs are full length. They are all shortened, but as I stated earlier, since this was originally a launch title, it probably was for safety and experimental reasons on if people were able to dance to full length songs. The moves between easy and hard are really not different, there's just more of them.

- Dance Masters - The way the moves are recorded are somewhat similar although DM doesn't force you to keep doing the moves, you just have to do a pose at the right moment. DP has you doing some moves for a bit of time. The scoring resembles DM in a way as you can get a lot of points. The music is nothing in relation to DM music.

- Zumba - The moves in Zumba are actually better choreographed than the stuff that's in this game. Zumba also does a better job at telling you when you are doing something wrong. DP your avatar just stops dancing and you have no clue what you are doing wrong.

- Dance Central - Unfortunately DP can't compare to it. The soundtrack is better in my opinion, but as for dancing its far behind. DC provides real professional dance routines, whereas the dance moves in DP are more casual. Like if you were at a club dancing, some of the DP moves are typical when you just dance regularly. A huge thing that DP lacks is learning the moves, you can only learn by doing them, it features no break it down mode. DP also doesn't tell you what you are doing wrong where DC does individual limbs in wrong positions. Some of the moves in DP however are well known in DC, so if you played DC, you will know how to do some of the moves in DP.

Dance Paradise - Multiplayer options
It does allow you to dance simulatenously with another player but its a wierd dance battle from the one I played with the power ups. Whoever is doing better can "attack" the other player with specials such as freezing, twinkle, hidden, etc. This messes up the other players scoring chances but after all is said and done, whoever has the most points wins.

It's probably cool for a party style game but its more of having fun together than actually battling, where DC is a straight up battle.

There were a couple of other modes that I didn't try, synchro and something else.

Overall, its an ok game. I like it better than Dance Masters, but not better than Dance Central, and a little better than Zumba only because I like the music better. The one big issue I had with it was with the loading time. It is literally about 2 minutes to load in between songs. There also isn't any caching done as if you mess up on a song and want to restart it, you have to reload the whole song. Not sure what they were thinking there. The one positive side is it plays music while loading, but for whatever reason mine kept playing bad romance over and over so it gets annoying after awhile, but its better than silence.

The menus work fairly well, except when choosing songs in it sometimes goes so fast. Sometimes after you finish a song, if you are moving your hands around it will change whatever you are on and may confuse you because of it being sensitive.

I tried to get into as much detail about it as possible so I believe I covered everything. Any questions feel free to ask! Hopefully my review will help you decide on whether or not you'd like to pick this up.
great review!

yeah, the soundtrack is the game's best feature. doesn't sound good that they used some subpar versions. I can understand the "I Will Survive" and "Celebration" songs being bad since they were pulled from the original 1970s albums (40 years ago!) but to hear that The Pussycat Dolls song (which is an awesome song, if you can, get the MP3, it's really really good) is a bad recording is not so good.

I do like how the Lady Gaga Poker Face song is much longer in Dance Paradise than the Dance Central one. I wish Dance Central had the longer length of the DP version! Some of the best lyrics were cut out of the DC version.

So disappointed to hear that the music videos are low quality. Can you make a comparison to the quality of the Lips videos? And do they stretch the videos like they do in Lips (which I really really hate) to fill up the 16:9 screen? nothing more annoying than to see everyone look really fat because of the 4:3 to 16:9 stretch.

I'm still picking up the game when it goes on sale (refuse to buy any game at full MSRP) because of the awesome soundtrack. The last time I bought a full retail price game was a platinum hits game but that's because it's already been discounted to $20. But it's always good to hear multiple opinions.
Thanks dirty. Actually Celebration is high quality. I will survive sounds like you are playing a song through your iphone/ipod on loudspeaker, it's pretty bad man. Pussycat dolls is ok, but its super quiet, so quiet that there's a "crowd noise" in the background with the sound effects, and this is louder than the song. Nelly's does the same thing. I'll do another run through and see what songs they are.

Poker face is longer however they end all of the songs short. Maybe it was just career mode, I did play freeplay but I don't remember those being full songs either. It's really strange, I will have to experiment some more but IIRC all of the songs get cut off before the final verse.

The videos are exactly like that. They take a 4:3 and blow it up to fit 16:9 and it stretches it. But the videos are smaller than lips videos in relation to size, I think lips are maybe 720x520 or whatever? These are like...480x320 lol...They are pretty bad so it pixelates it. Like on Nelly's hot in here, a car rolls up and its got black blocks for tires, for the different shades of black/gray that make up the colors of the tires. I'll take a pic not sure how well it will turn out.
(02-17-2011 08:14 AM)TheZeeMan Wrote: [ -> ]Thanks dirty. Actually Celebration is high quality. I will survive sounds like you are playing a song through your iphone/ipod on loudspeaker, it's pretty bad man. Pussycat dolls is ok, but its super quiet, so quiet that there's a "crowd noise" in the background with the sound effects, and this is louder than the song. Nelly's does the same thing. I'll do another run through and see what songs they are.

Poker face is longer however they end all of the songs short. Maybe it was just career mode, I did play freeplay but I don't remember those being full songs either. It's really strange, I will have to experiment some more but IIRC all of the songs get cut off before the final verse.

Any chance the sound level of the song correlates to the lyrics? The songs they chose for this soundtrack are very racy for a dance game. Maybe this was their way of censoring (besides the obvious muting censoring). That Nelly song, I can't believe that was able to even get on a video game that's supposed to target kids. And the Gwen Stefani stuff is pretty crude, language-wise. I heard the muted version of the Lilly Allen song in a DP video on dailymotion and think that should've made the cut. Maybe that was due to Lilly Allen being more a Euro thing whereas "I Will Survive" is classic Americana.

As for the length of song, I think it has to do with royalty costs. Most games with licensed music usually only have the verses and a chorus (maybe a couple of choruses). They'll almost never have the middle eight, the bridge, the outros, etc. This is the way it was with Guitar Hero, Lips, Dance Central, etc. Also, the older the song, the cheaper it is (so if you look at the really old GH or RB songs, they're longer than the newer tracks since they're cheaper anyway).

Besides, I kind of like having shortened songs as long as they're not too short. Today, they try to stretch every single friggin song to 4 and a half minutes. With computers, it's so simple to record bits and pieces and chain them together into a 5 minute song. In the classic days like the Beatles or Elvis, where you had to record continuously, all the songs were like 2 minutes and less.
I like the soundtrack so much so I had to show a couple new gameplay vids, especially since they're by MzzFaith (big fan of her since she's a major gamer). Plus, I'm so jealous she has a Hauppauge HD-PVR. I'd make gaming videos all the time if I had one of those... beautiful 720p/1080i capture... *sigh*

I'm a big Lady Gaga fan so it's nice to hear a longer version of Poker Face in DP than in DC.

Taio Cruz!!!

here's what the Video Box looks like (the mode that let's you play just the music video):

[Image: B004GWWW5Y.03.lg.jpg]
This game looks tight!!! wow!!!
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