Dance Central

Moby ID: 49715
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Dance Central is a rhythm-based club dancing game, and a launch title for Microsoft's Kinect sensor. Players' full bodies are tracked by the Kinect, and graded on accuracy as they attempt to replicate various dance moves performed by virtual dancers on screen. 32 songs are included on the disc, with more available as DLC.

The player's overall performance is graded on a five-star scale, similar to Rock Band. Players build up a score multiplier with continued flawless moves. If the player falls out of sync with the dancer, the non-matching body part blinks in red on the virtual dancer. The player cannot fail a song, and stars only reward new venues or new outfits for the virtual dancers. All songs are unlocked from the beginning.

A series of dance cards along the right edge of the screen cue the player to the current and upcoming moves. However, these cards display the name of the move and a rough sketch of the movement, requiring the player to have some familiarity with the routine. Unlike Rock Band or Guitar Hero, it will be difficult for a player to come into a song cold and simply react the the prompts. To assist with this, a training mode, called Break It Down, will run through every song and every routine within it; showing the player the move and then proceeding after they perform it correctly a few times. After three moves, the player chains together what they have learned so far.

The other two modes are Perform It and Dance Battle. Perform It has the player select a song and then run through the entire routine, grading and granting stars based on their performance. Dance Battle is a multiplayer competition where a song is divided into back-and-forth parts. Each player will perform their section, and then turn the floor over to their competitor. The person with the most accurate performance/most stars wins the battle.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

534 People (286 developers, 248 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 17 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.5 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings with 1 reviews)

A Game To Actually Get Your Groove On.

The Good
While there have been numerous dance games over the years, from the long-running Dance Dance Revolution, to a few Wii offerings like Just Dance or Michael Jackson: The Experience, this aspect of the music/rhythm genre is nothing new.

What Dance Central offers, however IS something new: A chance for players to use their entire body and actually perform the chosen dance track to an effective sense of believability. In other words: Players could take what they learn from this game for use in public, and actually apply it effectively to a real dance floor. Imagine... a dance game with actual, practical application.

The dance options are excellent, with each song offering new moves and tempos. The Kinect sensor seems receptive, allowing for a full range of movement. The Kinect reads an entire person's body, allowing for some unique routines that don't require a floor mat or a controller to input. The marketing of "You are the controller" is well put to use here, feeling natural, and not awkward.

The game itself is a workout. A few sessions of the game will get the player's body working and sweating. The game also keeps track of the number of calories burned.

For multi-play, there's even a dance off mode, allowing players to shift off in something of a "dance battle" alternating during an extended mix during a chosen song. "Freestyle Mode" during songs is fun, video capturing players getting into the groove (or just acting silly for the camera).

The game's presentation is bright and flashy, with well animated character moves and backgrounds.

The Bad
The songs in a music game are always subjective to a person's taste. Different people will always like certain songs more than another person would.

From a personal standpoint, I find the selection to not be diverse enough. There are a few fun selections here and there, but primarily, the music selections are 2000's era "In Da Club" mixes, and while that may work for some, I would appreciate a more varied selection from the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. DLC could round it out, but after seeing Harmonix's diverse treatment for Rock Band, I'm a little surprised not to see that kind of range presented here.

Moves also seem a little suspect at times. Granted, the game is VERY accurate for what it is, but there is a question if some moves get registered that have been seemingly pulled off to requirement. There is a training mode, but it seems more tedious than helpful to to the heavy amount of repetition.

As for characters, most of the selections are obnoxious club stereotypes. Some being more tolerable that others, but none really winning a player over.

The Bottom Line
Every system or accessory has its "Killer App", and this is the Kinect's first real gem. It's a fun game to play around with, have friends over and enjoy, or just use as a workout device.

If Dance Central is an early indication of what the Kinect is capable of, then the device has got a lot of promise. As fun as it is, Dance Central fortunately can improve with the inclusion of more diverse DLC tracks, hopefully rounding it out to less hip-hop and 2000-era club tracks, to really mine music's energetic history.

A great game, in any circumstance.

Xbox 360 · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2011

Trivia

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2010 – Rhythm/Music Game of the Year

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Related Games

Dance Central: Spotlight
Released 2014 on Xbox One
Dance Central 2
Released 2011 on Xbox 360
Dance Central 3
Released 2012 on Xbox 360
Dance Central: Spotlight - TLC: Creep
Released 2014 on Xbox One

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by BurningStickMan.

Additional contributors: Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Juan Miguel Gamotia.

Game added January 2, 2011. Last modified February 22, 2023.