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Review of Singstar Dance for the Playstation Move

Singstar Dance
Reviewed by PS3Fitness.com on November 26, 2010 .
Summary: SingStar Dance Party Pack carries on the excellent karaoke capabilities of its original, and now adds the ability for an additional player to dance to the music with precision controls of the Playstation Move. 

Back in 2009, Ubisoft released Just Dance for the Wii. This is the game which changed the face of dance games. Prior to this game, video game dancing pretty much consistent of pattern matching. But now, you could dance actual dance moves and have the system tell you how well you’re doing.

A year later, Sony released Move for the Playstation and Microsoft released Kinect for the Xbox 360. Suddenly, motion control was much more accurate and available with high resolution graphics. And not surprisingly, Sony came out with Singstar Dance and Microsoft came out with Dance Central.

I won’t comment on the relative merits of Move vs. Kinect–that’s something that time and the marketplace will ultimately decide. What I can say is that for those who own a Sony Move, Singstar Dance is a solid title that still carries on the excellent singing and voice evaluation capabilities of the original, while adding new features that use the Sony Move that make it feel like a next-gen version of Just Dance.

Like the original Singstar series, Singstar Dance uses proprietary microphones. They’re solid, high quality mikes that plug into a USB hub. The blue and red mikes from the original Singstar series will still work, but ordinary USB microphones will not. The “Party Pack” is pretty reasonably priced at $40, considering that it comes with both microphones.

When you get to the main menu, you have the option of viewing a tutorial on how to dance (basically the same as Just Dance, you hold the Move controller in your right hand and dance the mirror image to the onscreen silhouette). You can also start playing solo or with friends. You can also view your personal “media gallery”. More on this later.

Singstar Dance allows up to four players to play together. A maximum of two can sing at a time, and a maximum of two can dance at a time. When you have four players together all going at it the same time, it’s a lot of fun. As for those who want to sing and dance at the same time, you’re out of luck.

As with the original Singstar, for singers a meter will appear below showing how in-tune you are. The more accurate the singing, the higher the score.

When dancing, the original artists’ video will play in the background, while a silhouette figure appears to the right of the screen which you need to match the movements of. You can view a tiny video of yourself in the lower right hand corner. Or, you can switch views so that you’re taking up the entire screen.

The very cool part is that after you finish dancing, you can view a video playback of either part or all of your performance, which you can save (or in my case destroy and remove all evidence of). You can also see snapshots of your performance as well as “golden moments” (which I assume are the classic poses pre-identified in each of the songs). Each of these can be saved in the aforementioned “gallery”, or even uploaded to an online portal (where you can see others’ performances as well).

For both singing and dancing, you can choose a difficulty level. For the most part, once you get to the more advanced levels the dance moves are authentic (meaning they’re the same or very similar to the artists’ own moves). This means that to really experience the game to the fullest, you’ll need to practice and practice to get the steps right just like in real life. I would have liked to see a “practice” mode where they break down each of the steps for you or at least let you try it in slow motion, as trying to figure it out from the fast-moving silhouette can be difficult.

Here’s a video of me, playing the part of “Freakishly Huge Spice”, struggling through the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back”.

In this particular case, the “you” in the song represents “my dignity”.

It’s frustrating to get the moves right just by watching the on-screen character. But I imagine that as soon as you do, it’s definitely rewarding. When I tried it, the motion tracking using the Sony Move was flawless, even in a dark room.

Here’s a list of the tracks that come with the program. Additional ones will be available as downloadable content:

  • Backstreet Boys – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
  • Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up
  • Blondie – Heart of Glass
  • Chris Brown – With You
  • Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  • Diana Ross and the Supremes – Baby Love
  • Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
  • Gossip
    – Standing In the Way of Control
  • Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?
  • The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
  • Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl
  • KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It)
  • Kid Cudi – Day ‘N’ Nite
  • Kool and the Gang – Celebration
  • Lady Gaga – Poker Face
  • La Roux – Bulletproof
  • MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
  • New Kids on the Block – Hangin Tough
  • ‘NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye
  • OutKast – Hey Ya!
  • Paula Abdul – Straight Up
  • Pitbull – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
  • The Pussycat Dolls – Don’t Cha
  • Reel 2 Real – I Like to Move It
  • Ricky Martin – Livin’ La Vida Loca
  • Run-DMC vs. Jason Nevins – It’s Like That
  • Salt ‘N’ Pepa – Push It
  • Shaggy – Bombastic
  • Sir Mix a Lot – Baby Got Back
  • Soulja Boy – Crank That

As you can see, most of the songs are family-friendly, although a few may be a little too suggestive to play with children (the game is rated “T” for Teen).

One cool bell-and-whistle is voice-controlled menus, where the PS3 will use voice-recognition to bring you to the right place when you say an artist’s name, a genre, or a song. This was a little hit and miss when I tried it, so I kept it off. Playstation XMB navigation good enough for me.

One slight annoyance was that the game would “stutter” every now and again. It lasts for just an instant, but it happened enough times to be noticeable. I guess that may be to be expected with all the video information streaming to the screen.

All in all, this is a solid title that makes great use of the Playstation Move’s controller and the Playstation Eye camera fairly well. It’s not perfect, but with the dearth of really good launch titles for the Playstation Move, I’d say this one is a nice first attempt, especially if you’ll be playing with friends. Rating:4 of 5

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