Wii Fitness Game Reviews

Review of ABBA: You Can Dance for Wii

ABBA: You Can Dance by
Platform: Wii
4 of 5 stars – The biggest peripheral you’ll ever buy for your Wii, and it’s worth it.
by ,
Written on February 8, 2012

Well, another day another dance game. There aren’t that many Wii fitness games getting released these days so I’ve been backtracking and looking at games that came out for Christmas 2011. As we’ve established by now, there were a LOT of them.

The next game on my review list was ABBA You Can Dance. For those who aren’t familiar with ABBA, they were a Swedish pop group from the 1970s who are one of the most successful pop music groups in history (to put things in perspective, Lady Gaga needs to sell about 170 million more albums to match them). The only thing I remember about ABBA from my childhood is looking at their name on billboards and magazines and getting confused because one “B” was backwards, something that thankfully Sesame Street set me straight on. Of course, growing up in the 1970s, songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me” were ubiquitous, as were funky disco moves.

ABBA fell into relative obscurity until 2001, when the musical “Mamma Mia” became a smash hit on Broadway (forever altering the concept of those words, which to most Americans my age were usually followed by the words “that’s one a-spicy meatball”).

This review is going to sound like a re-run of other reviews I’ve done, from Michael Jackson: The Experience to the last post of The Black Eyed Peas Experience. To cut to the chase, the conclusion is going to be the same as for both of those games–this is going to be a must-buy for people who happen to be huge fans of ABBA (i.e., knows a song other than “Dancing Queen”), but for everyone else it’s probably not going to be work shelling out money for it until you can find it in the bargain bin for under $20.

As with Just Dance, the options are very simple when you start up the game. You can click “Play” to start dancing right away. There are two options: you can just dance (no pun intended) by selecting a song, or you can perform in a “mini-musical” of six ABBA songs, a feature obviously meant to cater to those who enjoy the musical Mamma Mia.

The song list contains pretty much all of ABBA’s hits, including:

  • Angeleyes
  • As Good As New
  • Bang-A-Boomerang
  • Dancing Queen (two versions available)
  • Does Your Mother Know
  • Fernando
  • Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
  • Head Over Heels
  • Hole In Your Soul
  • Honey, Honey
  • I’m A Marionette
  • I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
  • If It Wasn’t For The Nights
  • Knowing Me, Knowing You
  • Lay All Your Love On Me
  • Mamma Mia
  • Money, Money, Money
  • People Need Love
  • SOS
  • Summer Night City
  • Super Trouper
  • Take A Chance On Me
  • The Winner Takes It All
  • Voulez-vous
  • Waterloo
  • When I Kissed The Teacher

As with Just Dance 3, songs are choreographed for 1, 2, or 4 dancers and the multiplayer routines in particular can be a lot of fun as you and your friends or family can dance a routine where all the dancers dance to distinct steps, just like a real Broadway routine.

Strangely, I found the motion detection to be mostly accurate but very unforgiving. This is a departure from most other Ubisoft dancing games which tended to err on the lenient side. It took me about 10 tries to muster even a 4 stars out of 5 for Dancing Queen. And yes, I got a very good workout when I did so. On the one hand, the strictness of the scoring is great motivation to try over and over again to perfect the dances and get great exercise along the way, but that’s only if you don’t get too discouraged by false negatives. You do have the option of turning off scoring altogether and just dancing to the music.

An interesting feature of this game is the addition of a “karaoke” mode. Plug in a USB microphone (I used my Rock Band microphone and it worked great), and you can sing along to the lyrics, either looking at a traditional karaoke screen with the words scrolling on the bottom of the screen, or you can even attempt to sing while you’re dancing. Ultimately this was a fun addition, but it fell short of a real karaoke experience, as you could still hear the original vocal tracks as you sing (plus, you don’t get evaluated on your singing, which could be a good thing or a bad thing).

Just as with The Black Eyed Peas Experience, many of the songs have original music videos playing in the background as you’re dancing (music videos in the 1970s basically consisted of concert footage  and people dancing). They did a pretty good job of integrating the video in the background so it wasn’t too distracting.

One of the complaints I had about the Black Eyed Peas Experience was that it wasn’t really an “experience” as the Michael Jackson Experience was as far as taking us into the “world” of the musicians. ABBA: You Can Dance does a slightly better job of it, as under the Extras from the main menu you can view biographical information and photos of the group, as well as view all the lyrics to all the songs. Still not quite the immersive experience that made the Michael Jackson Experience so good, but a nice little extra for fans of the band.

And so I’ll give ABBA: You Can Dance 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a well-made game, although as I mentioned with the other “Experiences”, I would have been just as happy to see one or two of the songs as DLC for Just Dance 3 rather than forking over $40 for a lot of songs I’ll never play. Still, for a die-hard fan of ABBA or Mamma Mia, as well as anyone looking for some good clean fun for their families (especially when compared to The Peas), you won’t go wrong with this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *