Tagged: dance

Xbox Gold Sale offers a PSYzable savings

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Seeing as we’re one of the top spots on the internet to lobby for more K-pop in video games it seems like a civic duty to point out this week’s Xbox Live “Deals with Gold”. Just Dance 2014 on Xbox 360 Games on Demand is 50% off this week as are a handful of DLC tracks including PSY’s pony-ridin’ sensation ‘Gangnam Style’.

The DLC is also on sale for the Xbox One version of Just Dance 2014. The prices are only valid from now through May 5th so do that one… sorta, sidekick whatcha dance move over to the Xbox Marketplace.

Now Playing: Rhythm Party (Xbox 360 Kinect)

As a Kinect launch title Dance Central was neat but the more I played it I realized that it’s not a dancing game at all, it’s a dancing instructor. You do exactly the motion that is asked of you and are penalized for any creative flair you may add. While this could legitimately make you a good dancer it’s not what I want out of a dancing game. Games are about living out fantasies and when I’m in front of a camera, about to perform for a video game I’m already a really good dancer. Rhythm Party embraces this delusion by not demanding anything too specific of its players and for that I’ve come to cherish it.

Essentially it’s the Easy Mode from Konami’s Kinect title, DanceMasters, extruded out into a full game. There are no 3D dancers to mimic, your goal is to make sure some body part hits the circular targets that appear around your in-game visage in time with the music. Along with simply hitting the markers on screen you’ll occasionally have to hold on one for a few seconds or make directional swipes when a series of arrows appear.

While that’s all it takes to move through Rhythm Party’s meager playlist and unlock higher difficulties the game is tracking (and scoring) much more of your movement. Stepping around the play space, jumping, spinning, posing and more are all tracked with optional in-game challenges to hit a certain number of those moves in a song. Hitting consecutive targets and throwing in extra moves builds up a score multiplier while “special effect” moments add bonus points and unexpected costumes over your in-game self. Suddenly you’ll be dancing around with a pair of fairy wings on your back or encased in an Iron Giant style robot suit. Each song has its own special effect that matches the style of its well-animated background and is honestly, usually, quite silly.

Silly is the best way to describe Rhythm Party and that’s not meant to be condescending. Though there’s depth to be found in the scoring and motion tracking, it’s really an excuse to dance around to music and watch crazy things happen on the screen. That frivolity makes it all the more disappointing that there’s no multiplayer mode at all. Even a take-a-turn high score competition would’ve been enough but at the least it’s easy to restart a song and swap places.

Where Rhythm Party feels the most thin is in its playlist. For the regular price of $10 you get ten songs: 3 short cut U.S. pop tracks from the Village People, Bobby Brown, and Lady Gaga, 1 kid tune, 2 that feature Vanilla Ice and 4 that would sound at home in DDR. I have come to enjoy all of them (except YMCA) but it’s very much up to personal taste if you feel like you got ripped off. You can also spend up to an extra $12 to add 12 more songs through DLC but most of those are from the same artists here and there’s no official way to preview them without buying.

Rhythm Party isn’t deep or technical or even very challenging. It’s got a bare-bones set of features and songs. It doesn’t even make it easy to play with friends which you’d expect from a game with “Party” in its title. Somehow, though, it transcends all those quibbles for me by enabling my delusions for short bursts of silly dancing — I mean, really good dancing! You can spend more on DLC but for ten dollars I can’t think of a Kinect game that’s made me as happy as Rhythm Party.

This review was originally posted at PEGreviews.com which is currently on hiatus

Just Dance in Japan features Jpop, rekindles my desire to waggle dance

So unfair! I had no idea that Ubisoft had taken their mega-surprise mega-hit series Just Dance overseas. This is AKB48’s ‘Heavy Rotation’ which is joined by a healthy mix of Western and Eastern pop tracks in the just-released Just Dance Wii. Other heartbreakingly exclusive Jpop tracks I’d love to waggle dance to include Kishidan’s ‘One Night Carnival’, BoA’s ‘Valenti’, and Toho Shinki’s ‘Why’. If only Ubisoft would take the show a little farther Southeast and turn out a Korean pop version. We would import it so damn fast! Or, ya know, if Harmonix wants to beat them to the punch, Katy has the open plea letter ready to go.

Dance! Just Dance… no, wait

For a game that the ESRB just ousted as “a dance simulation in which players follow on-screen cues to perform hip-hop, rock, and reggae dance routines” that’s coming soon to the Xbox 360, you’d expect it to be a launch game for Natal. But, coming from Germany’s DTP Entertainment — purveyors of Divinity 2, So Blonde and My Little Baby — it’s clear that the succinctly titled Dance! will feature no complex motion tracking whatsoever.

So, how is this game going to work? Obviously there’s a lot of motivation for publishers to glom onto the unexpected success of Ubisoft’s Just Dance. That makes me picture a similar setup where a silhouetted dancer performs a real dance on-screen that you then mimic with your drunk friends. But how do you win? Just Dance either uses the Wii’s motion tracking to expert effect or it’s plain broken but it ultimately doesn’t matter because you can’t lose and you can barely tell when the game thinks you screwed up. You just flail around foolishly, work up a sweat, have fun and repeat.

Could Dance! be brazen enough to suggest you do that same kind of follow-the-leader dancing without a single bit of motion tracking tech? I guess it could use the Vision camera, akin to PlayStation 2’s EyeToy: Groove, but why push that after Microsoft themselves abandoned the device years ago? Ultimately, it’ll probably end up a beat matching rhythm game without even a plastic instrument to wrap your pride around, I just couldn’t find any screenshots or info and had to post. If I find anything else before the game vanishes alongside its shouldn’t-this-be-a-Wii-game contemporaries like Squeeballs and that last really bad Scene It? game, I’ll be sure to post.

Am I about to get hooked on virtual walking!?

Yes, it looks like a ripoff of Wii Sports Resort’s Wuhu Island. Yes, “120 familiar songs” probably means I’ll hate most of them. Yes, walking in place is about as basic an exercise as you can get. Yes, the video above is just as fluffy, touchy-feeling and unrealistic as that for any Wii game. And yes, for some incomprehensible reason I am intrigued by Walk it Out. Labeled by Konami themselves as a “music” game but with a clear fitness spin (ya know, Liz in that video is a personal trainer afterall) you’d think I would at least be interested in the potential for interpretive dance. Surprising even myself, though, its the promise of exploration and customization that has me *thiiiiiiis* close to spending the commendably reasonable $30.

Walk it Out isn’t actually new, it’s been out in the U.S. since October and the only reason I even noticed it is because a press release told me it will soon ship across Europe as the sigh-inducingly titled Step to the Beat. Such is the reality of Wii releases. Untimeliness and obscurity aside, Walk it Out holds just a little bit of intrigue for me because as you walk in place (using Remote, Balance Board or DDR mat) to the beat of artists like Ne-Yo, Demi Lovato, and Katy Perry you’re rewarded with monetary musical notes. The better your timing and the longer you walk, the more you get. It’s with these monies that you unlock new areas and bring life back to the unashamedly named Rhythm Island. Flower fields, apartment buildings, rainbows and other attractions spring to life as you walk (and spend). Plus there’s minigames and one of them will probably be some stupid experimental spin on DDR.

Am I really going to buy it? Probably not. I walk all day long at work and by the time I get home the idea of more walking isn’t too appealing. Plus it doesn’t look like any store carries it locally and it would take an impulse situation like uncovering the game in a Wal-Mart dump bin to bypass my common sense… still, though… who knows what wonders are out there on Rhythm Island and, and… it’s for fitness right? In the name of personal health I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t buy this game if I ever saw it in a store. Oh come on! Can Red Dead Redemption or Bioshock 2 or even Endless Ocean 2 be out already so I can stop looking longingly at games like this!?! GAH!