Rhythm and dance games are quickly becoming a dime a dozen on the Kinect platform. Some are good (Dance Central), some are a guilty pleasure (Just Dance), and some are just bad (the rest). You can now add another game to the list: the downloadable Rhythm Party. So where does it sit along the above continuum? Read on!
This might seem like yet another body-tracking dance game shamelessly mimicking everything else on the market. But after playing through a song, I found things were a little different than I expected. Rather than performing prescribed moves, you just have to hit circles with your appendages at optimal times. Rhythm Party doesn’t actually force you to dance: you can just remain largely stationary, poking out an arm or leg at the right time.
But that misses the point somewhat. If you let go of some self-consciousness, and get absorbed by the (very) goofy aesthetic of the game, you’ll find yourself bopping along to the music, and performing much crazier and more exaggerated moves than you strictly need to. This comes to a peak when you can get past the pretty boring easy difficulties and unlock the harder routines for each song; that’s when the game properly shines.
Unfortunately, Rhythm Party only shines for the briefest of moments. The gameplay can be fun in small doses, but it also gets repetitive after a while — and there’s only a single mode and no multiplayer whatsoever. This severely dampens the title’s value, as does the fact that there are only 10 songs included with the download. Naturally, you can purchase more in DLC packs, but I suspect a lot of people won’t be into that.
On the other hand, this game isn’t nearly as expensive as full retail dance titles, so even if you got a few more song packs, you’d still be spending less money. But then, on the other other hand, those other games have meatier game modes and — often — multiplayer capabilities, so you’re still missing out.
The song selection of the base pack is… eclectic. You’ve got Vanilla Ice in there, sitting alongside people like Lady Gaga and the Village People. Oh, and some J-Pop. If you’re a fan of every track here, then you have an impressively broad music taste.
The interface, meanwhile, drew my ire. I might not like people copying Dance Central’s swiping gestures, but I’d rather this happened here — then I wouldn’t need to scroll with my right hand, and yet confirm a selection by awkwardly raising my left hand. Half the time, my arm passed out of my Kinect’s view, meaning it wouldn’t make the selection. Add to this an uninspired jumble of tutorial screens shoved at the player before they can begin their first song, and you can colour me unimpressed with the framework surrounding the gameplay.
The graphics are mad — sometimes bland, but more frequently hilarious. Your onscreen avatar will even inexplicably don amour or other props if you’re doing well. Pointless, but it definitely adds to the personality.
If nothing else, Rhythm Party at least wins points for its insanity. Unfortunately, I don’t tend to give a high score based on sanity levels alone, so this game remains hard to recommend over any of the other dance titles out there. If you feel the need to get off the couch and boogie, Dance Central and its sequel should be your first port of call. I suppose if you’re not wanting to spend much, then Rhythm Party could be an option — but even then, try the demo first.