a peek inside the fishbowl

09 Feb, 2012

Xbox Kinect con’t – Let’s dance!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Fishbowl patrons

Please note: Xbox Kinect is a Fishbowl patron! But as always, opinions remain my own.

In a previous post I wrote about the game that came with the bundle called Kinect Adventures. (If you’re keen you can read more about the Xbox Kinect bundle on the official website here.) Today I am writing about the second game we received – Dance Central 2 – and our experience with it.

As you may recall, the Kinect operates sans controllers. This means that I don’t worry about one of the kids (or, um, their sweaty-palmed mother) letting go of a remote and clobbering someone with it and/or smashing it on the edge of the coffee table.

My kids are absolutely thrilled with this game and at 10 and 12 they are pretty much the perfect age for it. And it’s understandable why. It is a very fun game with major teen appeal.

Dance Central 2

You can learn a bit more about it and watch trailers for the game here.

At first I was nervous about whether our family of rather uncoordinated dancers would be able to handle this game. It’s not fun to play a game that’s too hard at the get-go, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. There are three difficulty levels, and we were all able to do fairly well on “easy” … even Mark (!). Emma quickly discovered the “break it down” mode, which basically goes through every move step-by-step until you get it right. I was really impressed by how accurately the sensor reads our movements.

There are different modes of play, but generally there’s a dancer on screen and you have to copy their movements. The better you’re able at copying them, the more points you get. There are little visual cheat cards that move up the side of the screen as the song plays so you can anticipate the next move.

Each song you play through has a fun little bit to it… it’s interrupted by a freestyle “go crazy right now” mode right in the middle. A shadow of you appears on screen and after the freestyle part is over it plays back a video of you, but really sped up. I really like that aspect, it’s a small thing, but I’ve discovered that it encourages even more movement. We all love to ham it up during freestyle mode because the results can be so funny.

There are 44 songs to choose from, and more we can download (although we haven’t figured that part out yet).

You can undertake simultaneous competitive dancing with a partner as well, but we don’t have enough room in our living room to take advantage of this aspect of the game. We did however get to try this out at our in-laws (they have more room). Adding a dance battle component added a whole other dimension to game play and made it extra fun to watch as well.

I like that Dance Central 2 is a FULL BODY experience and it gets us up and moving. It’s hard not to put down your newspaper and say: OK, lemme at it.

Dance Central 2

I am a sweaty mess when I play. But that’s a good thing. I’ve learned to wear layers now. :)

Some other random observations:

  • Sarah (age 10) had some trouble navigating the menus with her hands. I’m not sure if it was her size relative to the rest of us or what, but it did lead to some frustration for her. (We’ve been told that it may have to do with her being too far or too close to the sensor, or perhaps the Kinect needed to be recalibrated to suit her size. If you’re having this issue as well, check out these troubleshooting suggestions.)
  • The soundtrack is excellent and and lends itself well to the whole dance club vibe but I felt that some of the tracks were a little, how shall I say, less appropriate for tender ears. For example, how can I explain “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-lot to a 10 year old girl? :)
  • I wish there was more selection in regards to the avatars. I feel like they’re perpetuating clubby/gangsta stereotypes, both male and female.  I wish the majority of onscreen girls weren’t revealing so much skin. Can’t you be a good dancer while wearing skinny jeans and a cool t-shirt? :)
Clearly. I am a prude. What can I say? :)
Overall, it’s a very enjoyable game that I would recommend for anyone 12 and up. I bet this makes a great party game, and I look forward to trying it out in that context some day.

3 Responses to "Xbox Kinect con’t – Let’s dance!"

1 | Ryan

February 9th, 2012 at 11:35 am

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I will attest to it being a fabulous party game, especially in the competitive mode. It’s almost as fun (more fun, for some) to just sit and watch people dance and concentrate as it is to do the dancing yourself. I’ve got a friend who has this and when he has a dance party, nothing else gets in the way of me being there. It’s always a good time.

2 | Bargainmoose

February 9th, 2012 at 1:35 pm

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We have a Kinect and we just recently got Dance Central 2 and we love it! We have turned it into our after work workout! The game has a great feature called work out mode, where you can dance non-stop and really work up a sweat! There is lots of options time wise, anything from a warm up work out (15 mins) to a full work out (45mins). We are both starting to lose some pounds from that feature alone! The game is totally worth the investment!

3 | Gray Matter Matters (Betsy)

February 9th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

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We just got the X-Box for my son’s birthday. I immediately ran out and got Just Dance 3. I’m assuming it’s similar and I too can release my inner goth-slut icon ASAP.

Thanks for the overview!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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