August 16th, 2010

Look what I just found!

It's like someone came to me and said, "Hey Patti! If we could make the ultimate video game for you, what would it be?" The answer, of course, is Wii Dance on Broadway.

Reviews are mixed, but I don't care. I'm buying it ASAP.

Dance on Broadway mini-review

I came home from work early today because I was feeling sick, but I couldn't resist stopping at GameStop on the way home. (Incidentally, I hate this store. Every time someone walks in the door they get a blaring announcement that they're being watched. Bah.) I knew when I got the game that I would be both an easy and a tough critic-- the subject matter is so right up my alley that I'm bound to love it, but I grew up doing exactly this kind of dance and I'm fussy about seeing it done badly.

The song list is a good mix of old and new. I could have done with a little bit less from Dreamgirls (with none being the optimal amount), but two from Cabaret more than makes up for that particular sin. Dreamgirls notwithstanding, I like or at least can enjoy everything that they chose. Even Bend and Snap from Legally Blonde fits right in.

Being sort of sick meant that I wasn't about to get up and give it my all, so I mostly sat on the couch and watched the videos go by while I sort of halfway marked the steps, but I did give a couple of them a try.

There's definitely a learning curve. The game is sort of like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero in that there are icons for what comes next, but in DoB the icons aren't enough to tell you what to do. Each song has its own set of building block combos, and you need to play through a few times to figure out what they are. I would have liked a way to practice the individual combos without having to just go through the song over and over, but that's the dancer in me speaking. A video is worth a thousand words on this one. Watching about 60 seconds of this will show you what I mean about the combos:

The weird thing about the game is the scoring. Everything is measured by holding a controller in your right hand. I was able to fake it out moderately well just by sitting on the couch and moving my right arm along with the steps. On the other hand, scoring isn't really the point here, and the more effort you put into it the more fun you'll have. By about the third time through Luck Be a Lady I'd gotten the hang of it and I was having a good time.

If you made an effort, it would probably be a very good light- to medium-intensity workout.

The worst song was the Time Warp. The problem with it is that everybody who plays it will already know the dance, or at least the chorus. Ubisoft opted to do a totally different dance, and I think that was a huge mistake. I don't think I'll be going back to that song anytime soon, but that's OK.

The music is OK but not great. The lyrics scroll across the top of the screen, and you can turn the vocals off if you want.

All in all, I like it. I can easily imagine myself obsessing over each song until I can do the dance pretty well, but I'm like that.