Kinect must be a godsend for those who like to get jiggy witâ€™ it. With Dance Central and Dance Masters already available, what does Dance Paradise have to offer? Having had equal opportunities with all three (whether for better or worse), I am fairly convinced that they all have their own place in the booty shaking market. While the other two are more in-depth and serious, Dance Paradise is the perfect fit for casual players just wanting to get their groove on and have some fun.
Published with Universalâ€™s backing, Dance Paradise offers a solid selection of 40 tracks from their music catalogue. Accompanied by their respective music videos, the songs include a varied goulash of genres ranging from hip-hop, rap, 80â€™s horrors and pop music by artists like; Snoop Dogg, Empire of the Sun, Gwen Stefani (so popular she has three tracks if you include No Doubt), Lady GaGa, Supergrass, Fall Out Boy, The Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna and more.
The tracklisting is impressive and few could fault a library that even dates back to MC Hammer, Kool and the Gang, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Although watching two grown dudes dance to Geri Halliwellâ€™s â€˜Itâ€™s Raining Menâ€™ is not recommended viewing for anyone.
Gameplay wise, Dance Paradise is another game that uses your Xbox avatars for your onscreen representatives. The Kinect camera captures your movements and replicates them with your avatar but the game doesnâ€™t utilise one-to-one mapping like other similar titles. Instead the gameplay is more akin to Guitar Hero where players will see dance poses scrolling down towards the bottom of the screen, requiring you to be in that particular stance at the right time. Strung together will a bit of style, moving in between these poses mimics a choreographed dance routine. Coloured tiles below your avatar also indicate when side-stepping is required and the end result is a slightly more rigid, but efficient approach to nailing dance moves.
After a short while players should enjoy the demanding but easy to learn approach to the gameplay. The only area the game suffers is in repetitive nature of some of the dance moves, as many of them are the same regardless of what song you have chosen. The end result means you're doing the same routines at random (when compared to the dancers in the music video) and there is a major disconnect with the music. Adding in some of the unique dance moves associated with the artists would have given this game a much higher score in the value department.
The game does include entertaining competitive multiplayer modes though; here you can string up a series of well-timed dance moves in order to activate an attack and hinder your opposition on the dance floor. For example you can cause their move indicators to fade out, making them harder to see - or encase them in ice so they miss some steps. This amusing versus aspect makes Dance Paradise a uniquely fun and more zany multiplayer dance title.
Combined with the colourful and vibrant visuals, Dance Paradise might seem a great title for younger gamers. But with the often raunchy music videos playing in the background and adult themes in the lyrics, Dance Paradise is intentionally not aimed at younger gamers and carries a strong M rating for a mature audience. Considering it includes tracks like â€˜F**k Youâ€™ by Lily Allen,â€˜In Da Clubâ€™ by 50 Cent and The Pussycat Dolls shaking their stuff all over the place, I would hope most parents arenâ€™t buying this for their little ones.
So despite it not being ideal for families, Dance Paradise is still a barrel load of fun with a large group of mates. Even those with a sense of rhythm matching a sack of potatoes will be able to get into this (possibly when encouraged by a few shots of liquid courage). Considering the game allows for a whopping ten player turn-based dance mode, Dance Paradise is guaranteed to get a party started if you have Kinect and the floor space at the ready.