Dancing is a fine art, it’s something that most people disregard as a soft option at school; however, it’s much harder than people give it credit for. After all, how many people can actually dance well, or even do DDR well? Very few people, that’s who. So when Nordic Games invited us to preview their up and coming game for the Nintendo Wii – We Dance, we, well, got the train to London!
We Dance is from the people who brought us We Sing and has the same party game element to it. Yet, with a few tweaks it could easily be turned into a fun fitness game, as it’s very tiring. This is partially due to my own unhealthiness and probably because you’re not only moving your arms in time to the music, like Just Dance, but your feet. It’s literally a mix between the arm elements of Just Dance and the complicated feet elements of DDR.
There are seven modes of play on the first screen: Charts, Dance TV, Dance School, Warm Up, Dance Shop, We Dance and Party. Seven! That’s a lot to work your way through, we’re going to focus on the main modes – Dance School, Warm Up, We Dance and Party. The main mode of the game is We Dance, in this mode there are three options – Feet, Hands and Both. Selecting Feet will allow the player to run through the game just using their feet, yes, you need to use a dance mat of sorts.
Then there’s the Hands mode, where you have to follow the dancer on screen and follow their movements using the Wii Remote and finally there’s Both, which as you can guess, requires the player to use both their hands and feet at the same time. For the co-ordination challenged, both is easily the hardest mode by far to excel in as it’s incredibly challenging to dance and move you arms at the same time.
There’s a wide array of songs to choose, from B52’s right the way through to Pixie Lott and accompanying almost all of these songs is the official music video and actual music. Unlike in many games and Karaoke Bars, where it’s a cover, this is actually the real deal. This is a nice addition to We Dance as although this is primarily a dance game, having the official music and music video adds additional credibility to the title.
Each song has a difficulty rating; but these are dynamic and the better you get at the game the difficulty ratings change to accommodate your varying performances and skills. Selecting songs a point and click affair; however, if the Wii Remote is slightly tilted left or right the song list moves that way and if the Wii Remote is violently shook in one direction it spins the track list in that direction for a few songs. These little extras make choosing random songs much easier and the experience slightly more interesting than normal.
In the Party Mode there are three further modes of play, Step, Jump and Pose. As you can guess, it’s all about stepping, jumping and posing in time to the music. Step needs you to step in time to the music and in the right direction, but is harder than you think as there’s a lot of steps and it’s pretty fast. Jump requires you to jump as high as you can in time to the music to knock over a cube on the screen and Pose has you running around your dance mat and jumping into the pose before the song stops.
Warm Up is something that’s different to other dance games played in the past, whereas many dance games just let you get straight into the action, We Dance also has a this warm up mode that makes the gamer complete a number of stretches. This is probably to ensure that no muscles are pulled in the dancing process and is a nice little extra that will probably be ignored by a lot of people, but is needed in this type of active game.
Finally, Dance School – We Dance is a hard game. With lots of different steps and arm movements that need to be mastered before your grades will improve from “Couch Potato” and this can be done “out of game” in the Dance School mode. Select your song and you can play through all of the steps or movements to make sure that you can always get 100%. When we played this mode, it was the one that needed the most tweaking as it’s responsiveness wasn’t quite up to the rest of the game and didn’t always make sense as what you’re to do.
We Dance is a very responsive game and it only takes a few subtle arm movements to get the points, there’s no need to fling the Wii Remote around the room like a madman. The responsiveness of the dance mats to the game is very good as well and whilst I might have missed the majority of the steps through the lack of any dancing ability, the game didn’t when I was on cue. The menu screen is very busy but there’s a lot of options to play through and with Downloadable Content on the way it looks like this game might be around until the end of the Wii next year rather than just a few short months like many party games.
We Dance is nearly there, there’s a few tweaks to be made to the game itself and a bit of voice acting added into the game but overall it’s on course to be one of the best party games for the Wii to date. With great responsiveness, ease of use and brightly coloured it’s a sure win for a drink fueled night or for the couch potato who wants to lose weight without Wii Fit or the gym.