Dance Evolution Review

By on December 15, 2010

Evolution takes a few jumps backward.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Having had the pleasure of recently playing Dance Central for Kinect, I was intrigued to find another dance game heading towards the Xbox 360 in the shape of Dance Evolution (also known as DanceMasters). Having played through the game, I can say it certainly isn’t anywhere as polished as Dance Central, and will be heading to the gaming discount bin sooner than you think.

Churned out by Konami, Dance Evolution is more of the next installment to the hugely successful Dance Dance Revolution series, also from Konami. While DDR had you hitting arrows with your feet in time with the music, Dance Evolution combines a ridiculously awkward series of gestures, poses, and random body movements in order to  pass through a song. Once you fire up the game and choose either single or duo mode, you flip through the abysmal song selection to find a hernia-inducing track that you can both understand and enjoy dancing to. You will find scores of Japanese tracks reminiscent of DDR, filled with techno beats and high-paced dancing. Once you’ve selected a track and chosen a difficulty, the actual ‘dancing’ can begin.

As soon as you begin the song, you’ll notice just how out of place your dancing is compared to the on-screen character, simply because your image is projected alongside the dancers. This is an entertaining gimmick, but really just proves how terribly out of sync you can be through most of the song. At certain times in the game a green silhouette appears, which indicates you have to pull of a particular pose. You are also offered orange ‘waves’ on screen, which you have to trace with your hands. On higher difficulties there are shimmering circles that you can hit with your hands, and green indicators near your feet for when you have to get in step with the dancers. This mish-mash of dance moves gets boring quickly, and the fact that you don’t know what move is next is utterly ridiculous. To top it off, there is no option to practice a song so you just jump in and hope for the best.

Apart from the poor song list and laughable gameplay, it’s in the motion detection that the game really falls apart. You can almost always get away with a Perfect score by simply waving your arms randomly or not even pulling off an exact post. The game is very forgiving in this area, and you can sail through even the Extreme difficulty by just downing a couple of Red Bulls and going to town with it. Even when you seem to be pulling off a move correctly, the game can score you as Poor, so there is no consistency with what you are doing and what is happening on screen.

Graphically the game is very average – the onscreen dancers look like they’re moving fluidly, but on closer inspection they tend to show up pixilated or clip every now and then. The sound is really just limited to the song you’ve selected and a few voice prompts if you build up a combo, but otherwise there is precious little to write about. For a dance game to have such a poor song selection is a shock, but clearly Konami think that there’s hope for this game yet. The ability to play via Xbox Live is present, but I couldn’t even find one player to try the game out with.

Dance Evolution really is a game for anyone who is a hardcore DDR fan. Novice gamers should certainly give this a miss and pick up Dance Central instead, or face hours of frustration trying to learn a techno track that no one in the general population would even know about.

The Scorecard
The arrows are missing, but this really is just a repackaged DDR game.
Your on-screen projection is a neat feature, but not enough to steal the show.
For a dance game this has some of the most obscure tracks I’ve ever seen.
No real fanbase on Xbox Live means hours of dancing by yourself.
The only fun you can have is trying to finish a song on Extreme difficulty.
A game only DDR fans can appreciate; for the rest of us there’s Dance Central.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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