With any motion control setup it would seem the natural move to make is to release some dance games, but in the past year since Move’s release such games have been rare for the peripheral. Luckily for anyone ready to move to some beats Everybody Dance is here, but the question remains if it’s a fun way to get your feet moving.
Everybody Dance (aka DanceStar Party in Europe) is an incredibly straight forward affair, with a minimal amount of effort to get it set up and going (calibrating the Move merely requires pointing at the PS Eye and holding a button for a second), and even a minimal amount of room required to get it to function properly, although plenty of space is recommended. The main menu greets you with bright colors and simple choices between appropriate modes, like dance now, party , and dance studio. After that all 40 tracks are immediately available to choose from in a simple slider menu where you can sift through each song one by one, or whip the move controller quickly to scroll quickly for a semi-random selection. Each track then offers three difficulty choices, a partner mode, or the option to dance to a custom routine.
For the most part the tracking functions of the PS Move work fairly well, with an on screen dancer performing the routine for players to follow while simple diagrams slide on screen to further indicate the proper movements. Of course, an immediate thought is that only the Move is being tracked and you only really need to dance with your right arm – testing this while sitting on my couch proved it to be mostly true, but also far less fun. Thus, the fun in the game comes from what you make of it, and getting a couple of friends together will definitely help in that department. While most of the choreography is easy to match up to, save a couple of songs on professional mode, it’s unfortunate that feedback on your performance is always just words like “Good”, “Awesome”, or “Excellent”. It’s nice to know when you’re doing great, but when you miss a move it’s usually not clear why it was a miss, making it difficult to improve when you think you’re already doing well. Besides that, some routines require more practice than others, since as songs progress and repeat earlier portions the accompanying diagrams disappear, leaving you to follow the on screen dance half a beat behind unless you’ve already memorized the part.
Everybody Dance is definitely better as a party game, which is why the party mode allowing up to 20 players to trade off in routines is all important. You’ll need two Move controllers for this, and as many people as you can get to participate, so everyone can trade off in co-op routines while laughing at each other for looking like fools. As each player steps up they can snap a picture of themselves, and highlight reels at the end of each song show off a dancer’s best moments. Unfortunately, this is also offset by the awful video quality of the PlayStation Eye – if you’re not in a well lit room it’s hard to make anything out other than the glowing Move tip, and even in a well light room the images are pretty terrible looking. If video quality were better it would have been nice to save full videos and cut out your own highlights of funny moments instead of having the game pick them for you, but since everything is usually so blurry it’s probably not a big deal for most players. Despite this, there’s a community feature that allows the highlights to be uploaded for all to see, and you can sift through other people’s performances as well.
The 40 tracks included in the game can sound like a lot initially, but it only takes about three hours to blow through every song, which can cause Everybody Dance to become repetitive rather quickly. Each song plays the official music video during routines, adding a bit to the entertainment, and higher difficulty levels make routines more complicated, but it doesn’t take long to wear these out, especially if you’re dancing solo. Luckily the custom choreography mode saves the day, allowing you to create your own crazy dances and then challenge your friends to keep up later. It’s a good idea that adds nice re-playability to the game, but it’s also unfortunate that uploading or downloading custom routines wasn’t implemented as well to keep in line with the play, create, share trend PS3 has seen with other franchises. Besides that, some minimal Facebook and Twitter sharing was included, for those who feel the need to embarrass themselves further, or perhaps brag about their skills. While that’s a nice feature, it also feels shorthanded since you can’t make comments or tag anything, and are just left with options to post content.
Besides the custom routines, the Dance Studio mode also includes a practice section and a workout mode. The practice section will break each song down into small chunks where you can practice the specific moves over and over again to really nail tough parts that might give you trouble. It’s definitely nice, especially considering the aforementioned issue where move diagrams disappear as songs progress in the main game. Workout mode is almost exactly the same as normal mode, but replaces your score with a meter displaying calories burnt after asking for you weight, and rates each song according to tempo and energy. Otherwise it doesn’t really do much to provide a further workout than the normal mode, and comes off feeling tacked on and rather pointless.
Overall, Everybody Dance accomplishes what it should be expected to do – it gets people off the couch and moving to the beat of popular and contemporary music alike, and gives a scoring system to allow competition between players. Some of the song choices and routines are questionable at times, like Sublime’s Santaria which seems too slow, when Wrong Way or I Saw Red provide faster beats, and Barry White’s Your the First, My Last, My Everything threatens to put people to sleep, even if they’re the current dancers. Regardless, tracks like these are offset by upbeat songs like Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO and classic fun songs like Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas, and new tracks are on the way in the form of 4 song DLC packs, which will let the fun continue for those who really love dance games. Everybody Dance certainly isn’t the greatest dance game on the planet and lacks depth in most of its features, but for the moment it’s the best you’ll do for a fun dance game on PS3 and makes for a decent party game, so if your looking to get groovy with the Move this is the way to go.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Party mode is a smooth way to get everyone involved
+/- Alternate modes feel shallow, but custom choreography allows for replayability
– Limited track selection leads to repetitive feeling quickly