Dance Masters

6.0 Overall Score

Written by on January 3, 2011 in

In the year of Ninety Ninety and Eight of the modern era, the Bemani series, of which is developed by Konami, brought forth to the world the game known as the Dance Dance Revolution, and for a time, it was good. For twelve years, this force – known furthermore as DDR – entertained the people of the Earth, along with the lambs, the orangutans and the leprechauns. The DDR was placed within the homes of education and was portrayed as a savior of The Round Ones who inhabited those sacred halls, and for a time, it was good. In the country of Norway, the DDR was even made an official sport. This, too, was good.

In 2009, the force known simply as the Microsoft announced a technology that would make tapping yonder footsies on plastic arrows obsolete – Kinect. The device would allow The Round Ones to skirt about, unhindered by the constraints of hand-held wands or space-limiting platforms. Konami, in its wisdom of both the ages and the history of Bemani, discovered it could revitalize the DDR through the use of Kinect. For this, the Konami brought forth a power of which could become the next evolution of the DDR, and for this emergence, they called it Dance Masters.

At least… that is presumably what Konami wanted.

The first thing to understand about Dance Masters is that it is not, in any way, in any form, the next Dance Dance Revolution. No matter how much Konami may wish for it to be the next DDR, it just is not. Now, that is not a bad thing – not by any means. See, when we started playing Dance Masters, we saw that it was chock full of all the awesome J-Pop that made us love DDR so much, so we thought – maybe it could have some touches of DDR in there. Instead, what it does have, is solid combination of sweat-dripping dance routines combined with some creepy on-screen player injection wrapped in a very estrogen-oriented title.

This is about as manly as this title gets. Fellow men: Get your girlfriends gaming while you get some popcorn. You're gonna enjoy watching this one.

Upon booting up the game, the first thing you will find is a cutout version of yourself – filmed from the Kinect camera – displayed on the screen. Overall the game does a very good job of cutting your body out of the image, as it displays just you with a solid black background. This initially is rather surprising, and honestly felt very out of place to the rest of the smooth graphics, but nowhere near as disturbing as to what happens when you enter a stage and the game shows you dancing along with the rest of the backup dancers. Unfortunately, you just end up looking extraordinarily out of place.

Again, the music is some of the incredible J-Pop that made DDR so awesome. So if you liked the music in DDR, then you will be quite at place here. (And if you did not like this music in DDR, that’s okay – I respect your right to be completely wrong… but I digress).

Once you get past the somewhat creepy representation of yourself in the game world, it does not take long to find the target audience for this game – the ladies.  Now, I’ve got one of them dangly things down front, so I’m by no means a lady, but I’m man enough to give anything new a solid try.  So I got up in front of my fiancee’s family on Christmas Eve and proceeded to rotate my hips and dance as best I could to some great DDR music, with some of the most feminine dancing I’ve ever seen outside of a strip club. The goal of the game is as simple as the goal of DDR – follow the movements of the character in the center of the screen. She (or he) will dance and prance about, waving their arms and feet and gyrating their money-makers to the beat.

The game does not track every movement, however it will often check and make sure you are doing something correctly by giving you a target pose or a target circle to have your hands or feet in. Playing the simpler game modes make this seem like you could just jump into those positions as needed, but once you get to the harder game modes you just don’t have enough time to jump into position, and need to be following the movements closely.

Pikachu uses Pose Attack. It was very effective!

After a good 30 minutes of doing this with the family, we were all pretty spent. The game is a solid workout – and as much as we enjoyed watching the lady’s grind themselves around, it was time for a break.

In the end this game was fun, but I’m clearly not by any means the target audience. DDR I felt was a good multi-gender game, but Dance Masters is by no means a game meant for the men. That’s not to say you shouldn’t get up there and shake your twig and berries about to the game – I’m just saying that if you aren’t into rather feminine games, you probably aren’t going to enjoy playing this as much as you did / would Dance Dance Revolution. Now, my fiancee’ on the other hand – who did play DDR back in the day – she LOVES this game, further showing that the girls are gonna rate this much higher than us men will (though us men will LOVE watching the girls play it). I’m going to have to give Dance Masters 3 out of a possible 5 booty-grinds.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to dust off my old DDR pads.

A copy of Dance Masters was provided to TMG for the purpose of evaluation and review. When not reviewing games, Dave runs his game development company, Cerulean Games, located in the mountains of Colorado.

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Author: Dave Calabrese View all posts by
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dave has always looked towards creative mediums as a way to showcase untold stories and to entertain others. From a young age, Dave would spend hours in his family's home creating home-made board games and writing stories. His father worked in the game industry, which allowed Dave the early insight on another direction he could take his creative inspirations in. He eventually found a job in the game industry, and seven years later had a stack of published games under his belt and a number of award winning titles to bulletpoint his resume with. Dave continues to pave the way to the future of the games industry by telling stories and entertaining through interactive mediums which will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you come back for more.

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