Dance Central Review
Dance Central box art
System: X360 (KINECT) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Harmonix 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: MTV Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 4, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Dance Central also uses the Kinect camera for an interesting interface method. It's the most "Minority Report"-style control of any of the games released so far, and it's quite intuitive compared to some of Microsoft's first-party offerings. Rather than using your hand as a mouse like Kinect Adventures, you select by simply raising or lowering your hand. How high or low it is selects the corresponding list item. Easy. Then, once chosen, the player swipes to the left to make the selection.

Dance Central screenshot

My biggest complaint is that the game simply doesn't have enough progression to it. It really could have used a campaign mode or some kind of single-player adventure mode. There is some progression to the single-player though. As you complete blocks of games, you'll open up new dancers, warm-up songs, and dance arenas. It's just not that much incentive. That doesn't sink the single player though. It's still fun since there's almost a sense of exploration that comes from starting a new song.

A game like Guitar Hero gets by on repeating the same mechanic over and over again: you push the button when it comes on screen. It's exceedingly simple. Dance Central actually one-ups that popular formula by including tons of brand-new dance moves, and each song has its own unique moves. Rather than just pushing a button, you're swinging your hips in dozens of different moves. So as you progress, you'll want to play new songs just to find out what the new moves are. The odd motions in a Kylie Minogue song, for instance, are very different from the meringue-inspired moves of "Hey Mami." This also makes the small track list much more palatable since each song is a unique play experience.

Dance Central also has a "workout mode," but it doesn't seem to be as compelling as it could be. Rather than offering a faster experience or a more prolonged dance, workout mode just times how long you've been dancing, and how many calories you've burned.

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The dancing rhythm genre is likely set to explode next year on Kinect. I think Harmonix is going to make a killing off this software, and we're likely to see a deluge of me-too shovelware come along once publishers get a whiff of that money. But until then, we can revel in the quality of games like Dance Central and hope that other developers come along who can leverage this hardware as well as Harmonix has.

By Andrew Groen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.4
Graphics
The on-screen avatars aren't great looking, but much of the rest of the game has a great dance club vibe to it.
4.8
Control
This is exactly what we were hoping for when Kinect released. Flawless controls that are only slightly tarnished by Kinect's huge space requirements.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The track list is pretty good and contains a lot of timeless dance classics. I just kind of wish there were more songs.
4.4
Play Value
Dancing together in a group is sure to be tons of fun (and plenty embarrassing), and dancing solo is fun as well. It's even viable as a workout routine through the workout mode calorie counter. There could have been a more robust single player mode though.
4.6
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Ready. Set. Dance. Dance Central will get you warmed up and dancing in no time with Break it Down and Perform It. You'll be introduced to some of the over 600 moves in the game, polish your performance, and put it all together to master the routine!
  • Pump up the volume. Featuring tracks from hot artists including Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and more, you'll master more than ninety dance routines all created by professional choreographers.
  • Whether you've had your dancing shoes on your entire life or this is your first time hitting the floor, Dance Central will have you dancing like a pro in no time. As you cruise through songs and master moves, you will earn Achievements, unlock new character outfits and venues, and progress through the dance ranks.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge Dance Central screenshot - click to enlarge

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