Do you? Do you? Do you? Do you want to dance? The video game dance genre has taken over where the guitar playing left off. Here, you have two main competitors for your gaming dollars. Just Dance from Ubisoft came out in 2009 first for the Wii, now for the Xbox and PS3, too. Dance Central from Harmonix (maker of Guitar Hero and Rock Band) was next on the scene and is still available only for the Xbox. Both have become series with multiple releases, adding more songs and improvements along the way. While the basic premise of the two games is the same, they vary quite a bit in their current versions.
The Dance Central gameplay has only the Kinect system following you. You move and the Kinect tracks you. With Just Dance, the controls vary by gaming system. The Xbox version works with Kinect, on the PS3 you have the Playstation Motion Control and Eye camera, and on the Wii you have your Wiimote. As the Just Dance game sometimes has trouble with scoring correctly, many people will dance without the controller in hand, just doing the moves.
There is a big difference in the graphics between the two games. Dance Central blows away the graphics of Just Dance. The dancers have full facial features and decent clothes and don’t look like backlit dancing mannequins. Background graphics differ significantly between the two games, too, but the fancier ones found in Dance Central might cause some distraction.
Both games come with a reasonable number of songs. How many depends on the variant of the game purchased. Both current versions of Dance Central and Just Dance support downloadable music, too. If you’re tired of dancing to the same songs and your console is connected to the Internet, you can download more for a price. The song selection overlaps a little, and they might sound a little better with Just Dance, but you’re not limited to what comes with each game. You do get the occasional cover song instead of having them performed by the original artists, so check artists when reviewing the playlists if you are concerned about song choice. Many gamers will pick which one to get purely on the playlist, which is a bad way to choose.
If you’re interested in having fun dancing, Just Dance is for you. None of the steps are too complicated, and while you unlock some songs by completing others, you’re taught how to replicate moves instead of how to dance. They do get more complicated (for both games) as you play longer. On the other hand, Dance Central offers a more technical approach to improving your dance moves. You can even follow a whole crew on screen, not just a solo performer. There’s a dance coach to boot, if you don’t mind the repetition to get things right. In the end, the difficulty is similar between the two, but you learn more and better with Dance Central.
Just Dance supports up to four players simultaneously dancing with different moves. On the other hand, Dance Central offers support for a maximum of two simultaneous players. With either XBox version, you risk the moves of one person getting in the way of the other, and are restricted in how wide your (group’s) movements can get. On the other hand, with the Wii and the Wiimote, you don’t risk the crossover since no camera is involved. There’s even a four player work-out mode if you want to sweat it up with some friends. Just Dance comes out ahead here.
For graphics, motion tracking and song choice, Dance Central blows away Just Dance. But, if you want to do more group play, Just Dance is the only choice. Dance Central also gets a leg up because the dance moves are less repetitive and really encourages you to learn how to dance there. In the end, what kind of dance you are looking for will decide which game is right for you.
Picture Courtesy of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wii_Wiimoter.jpg