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December 8, 2010
DanceStar Party - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
20/11/2010SonySonySony London1-20None
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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DanceStar Party is a PS3 exclusive.
By sending me DanceStar Party Dave (Futuregamezís head honcho and supreme overlord) accomplished something a lifetime of girlfriends have managed just a handful of times between them Ė he got me onto the dance floor. Itís safe to say that I am not DanceStar Partyís target market but nevertheless I had some fun with the game. If you want the opinion of a bloke with two left feet and as much rhythm as a dial-tone read on... (then consult a qualified psychiatrist)

The only two music games Iíve ever played are Beatmania (a quirky Japanese game similar to Guitar Hero) and Guitar Hero. Iíve never played Singstar, Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band or any other singing and dancing games. Which is to say that I approached DanceStar Party with a relatively open mind; no expectations and nothing to compare it with.

There are three main ways to play DanceStar Party Ė solo, with or against friends, and Dance Studio where you can practice your moves, create your own routines and do a dance workout. There are forty songs on the disc covering a wide range of artists, from Diana Ross to Rhianna, Iggy Pop to Usher, Elton John to Groove Armada and plenty of others. Itís a list that will have at least a couple of songs that appeal to almost everyone, though not many people will love all of the songs. The idea is clearly to get as many people as possible to have a go and thatís definitely when DanceStar Party is at its best.

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Nice, umm, lyrics we guess...
If you opt to play solo you can dance along with any of the forty songs in their standard or shortened form. There are multiple difficulty levels to choose from but if youíre anything like me youíll definitely select the Beginner setting. Once the song starts your objective is to match the movements of the on-screen dancer, and while the moves didnít come naturally to me at first, theyíre quite easy to pick up after a couple of attempts. Also onscreen is the original music video of each song, some of which are pretty funny. There is also a little stick figure showing the next move any time the dance is about to change. It can be tricky to check out it out on the fly initially, but once youíre more familiar with each dance youíll get the hang of it.

You earn points for accurately matching the on-screen dancerís moves, on a scale from ĎXí (which earns you zero points) to ĎFlawlessí. You earn bonuses for stringing multiple moves together and the obvious aim is to get the highest score possible. The Move controller feels accurate in this regard, and youíll often know when you nail a particular move even before your rating is displayed.

Your overall score is rated on a five-star scale which updates as your dance progresses. Every time your score takes you past another star threshold it comes up on-screen, allowing you to easily follow your progress. Many of the moves repeat during each song, particularly on easier difficulty settings, and they help boost your score to something respectable even if youíre as rhythm-challenged as me.

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Your body needs to go to the right!.
As you dance the Playstation Eye takes snapshots of you in action and films your entire routine. Both of these can be saved for future laughs, or uploaded into cyberspace. Uploaded clips can be rated by others and thereís Facebook integration there too if youíre into that kind of thing. While youíre there you can check out other peopleís clips, including the most popular for the week and overall. There are plenty of clips of kids busting moves better than I ever will, as well as a few where Granny gets in on the action. Itís simple and straightforward and a bit of a laugh.

Dance Studio is the other single-player area to check out. Here you can practice songs, selecting any verse of any song and dancing along until youíve mastered it. The other two modes Ė dance workout and dance creator are interesting. In dance workout you select a three or five-song routine to dance to while the game keeps track of how many calories you burn through. Each routine has an energy rating of one, two or three, so you know what youíre getting into before you start. The songs are played one after another so there is a short gap between them for you to catch your breath.

Before we go any further here's DanceStar's track listing which may alter your enjoyment levels.
Amerie - 1 Thing
Barry White - Youíre The First, The Last, My Everything
Basement Jaxx - Whereís Your Head At
Billy Idol with Generation X - Dancing with Myself
Bodyrockers - I Like The Way
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
CeCe Peniston - Finally
Chromeo - Night By Night
Deadmau5 - Ghosts ĎNí Stuff (feat. Rob Swire)
Diana Ross - Upside Down
Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand
Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed
Elton John - Iím Still Standing
Example - Kickstarts
Groove Armada feat. Gramíma Funk - I See You Baby (Fatboy Slim mix)
Ida Corr Vs Fedde Le Grand - Let Me Think About It
Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne - Down
Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude
Kool And The Gang - Get Down On It

Lady Gaga - Born This Way
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
Los Del Rio - Macarena
Miami Sound Machine - Dr Beat
New Kids On The Block - You Got It (The Right Stuff)
Nicole Scherzinger - Donít Hold Your Breath
Ok Go - Here It Goes Again
OutKast - The Way You Move
Republica - Ready To Go
Rihanna - Rude Boy
SNAP! - The Power
Tavares - Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel
The Chemical Brothers - Hey Boy Hey Girl
Tiesto v Diplo feat Busta Rhymes - Címon (Catch ĎEm By Surprise)
Tinie Tempah - Pass Out
Usher featuring Pitbull - DJ Got Us Falliní In Love
Usher featuring - OMG
Vengaboys - We Like To Party
Willow - Whip My Hair
Yolanda Be Cool vs D Cup - We No Speak Americano

The dance creator does what its name suggests, allowing you to create your own dance to the song of your choice. The Playstation Eye records all of your moves and this recording replaces the on-screen dancer when you replay it. It can be tough to match your own moves, particularly when they make no sense and thereís no stick-figure man to tell you when the moves are going to change, but overall itís a bit of fun. Better dancers out there are going to get much more out of this than average Joeís though.

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Usher featuring with OMG in DanceStar Party.
DanceStar Party features a three main multiplayer modes to sink your teeth into. You can go head-to-head against a friend in Battle mode, or play co-operatively in Dance Partners. Scoring more points than your rival in Battle mode will earn you bragging rights, while the key to Dance Partners is to perform you moves in synch and maximize your score. There is also a Dance Party mode which allows up to twenty people to play, with pairs taking it in turns to out-dance each other.

As far as issues go, I found it disappointing that thereís no way to have single-player battles. Pairs can do it in multiplayer so itís obviously possible. It would add a lot to the game if you could create single-player dance-off competitions because itís not easy or fun to manually keep track of everyoneís score. Itís also a bit strange that while there is an option to turn singing on you donít score any extra points for singing along while you dance. A new multiplayer game where one person sings while the other one dances could have been good fun, so thatís an opportunity missed right there. My final gripe is that the calorie counter within Dance Workout is just a bit of fluff. Thereís no way for the Playstation Move to track your entire bodyís movements, so the counter canít be accurate.

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2-player DanceStar Party.
Graphically itís all pretty solid. The music videos are entertaining, the dancer is easy to see and follow, while the score displays are straightforward and unobtrusive. All of this takes place on colourful backdrops that similarly donít interfere with the action. There are no awesome effects on display, but nor should there be as theyíd just distract you.

So far as sound goes your enjoyment will be based entirely on the playlist on offer. There are forty songs from a wide variety of artists and time periods. Iím not the biggest fan of modern music, and none of the older songs on here would be my first choice to dance to either, but I still enjoyed plenty of the songs and I reckon if I can, anyone can. Lady Gaga, The Chemical Brothers, Kool and the Gang, Nicole Sherzinger, SNAP! and New Kids on the Block join a bunch of others in providing decent variety.

DanceStar Party doesnít push any boundaries but what it does is provide a solid and entertaining rhythm-based dance game for the PS3. If you have a couple of Move controllers and some friends who like to dance youíre sure to have a good time with DanceStar Party. Your enjoyment will be short-lived if you plan to play solo, but as a party game DanceStar Party is worth a look.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSEach song has its music video and thereís a real-life dancer to emulate, all on a pretty background.
SOUNDIt lives and dies by the soundtrack, which is varied enough to appeal (at least a little bit) to everyone.
GAMEPLAYItís simple stuff Ė copy the on-screen dancer and rack up the points. Itís also good fun in short bursts.
VALUEThis isnít a game many people will play alone for long, but in a party setting it thrives if your friends are into it.
OVERALLDanceStar Party is a solid game that doesnít attempt to break new ground. If you and your friends have a couple of Move controllers and like to dance, this is one to check out.

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