The success of Just Dance franchise have spawned a dizzying number of “copycat” games that use motion controls to let you do “real dance moves”. This holiday season alone there have been more than 20 different games across the three major platforms. It’s enough to give anyone dance game fatigue.
The latest entrant into the morass is Get Up and Dance by O-Games. That’s right, the same company that brought you that fun game Jewel Time Deluxe and John Daly’s ProStroke Golf. Not to be confused with Bejeweled or Tiger Woods PGA Golf. No really, they’re completely different.
All sarcasm aside, throughout Get Up and Dance you can see the resemblance to Just Dance. You select songs to dance to from a “cover flow” interface and see icons which represent the number of dancers, complexity of the song, and “cardio points” representing the intensity of the song.
- Hollywood – Marina and the Diamonds (2 stars, 2065 cardio points)
- One Week – Barenaked Ladies (3 stars, 1242 cardio points)
- Boom Shack-a-Lak – Apache Indian (1 star, 818 cardio points)
- Push It – Salt-N-Pepa (1 star, 675 cardio points)
- Me, Myself, and I – De La Soul (1 star, 950 cardio points)
- Where’s Your Head At? – Basement Jaxx (2 stars, 2416 cardio points)
- Poison – Nicole Scherzinger (3 stars, 1186 cardio points)
- I Like to Move It – Reel 2 Real Feat. The Mad Stuntman (2 stars, 1241 cardio points, fitness choreography available)
- Bulletproof – La Roux (2 stars, 1019 cardio points)
- Common People – Pulp (2 stars, 1651 cardio points)
- Kickstars – Example (2 stars, 1436 cardio points, fitness choreography available)
- Come on Girl – Taio Cruz (2 stars, 1126 cardio points)
- Down with the Trumpets – Rizzie Kicks (2 stars, 939 cardio points)
- Badman Riddim (Jump) – Vato Gonzolez Feat. Foreign Beggars (3 stars, 1396 cardio points, fitness choreography available)
- Saturday Night – Elton John (2 stars, 1848 cardio points)
- Ooh Ahh…Just a Little Bit – Gina G. (2 stars, 828 cardio points, fitness choreography available)
- Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan (3 stars, 1876 cardio points)
- Unorthodox – Wretch 32 Feat. Example (2 stars, 1101 cardio points)
- Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus (1 star, 732 cardio points, up to 2 dancers, fitness choreography available)
- I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield (1 star, 1116 cardio points, lead & backing)
- Don’t Cha – Pussycat Dolls (1-2 stars, 2097 cardio points, lead & backing)
- Dancing on the Ceiling (1 star, 2003 cardio points, lead & backing)
- Don’t Upset the Rhythm – The Noisettes (2 stars, 1289 cardio points, lead & backing)
- Hot Stuff – Donna Summer (2 stars, 1343 cardio points, lead & backing)
- The Promise – Girls Aloud (2 stars, 1054 cardio points, lead & backing)
- I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You (2-3 stars, 1873 cardio points, lead & backing)
- We No Speak Americano – Yolanda B Cool Vs D Cup (3 stars, 1818 cardio points, lead & backing)
- Nobody’s Perfect – Jessie J (2 stars, 631 cardio points)
- If We Ever Meet Again – Timbaland Feat Katy Perry (2-3 stars, 2031 cardio points, lead & backing)
- What You Waiting For – Gwen Stefani (3 stars, 1512 cardio points, lead & backing)
At first I thought there were a lot more songs, but that’s because in the cover flow interface they repeat several titles in a fairly confusing way. Each song lets you choose a short version (about 1-3 minutes long) or a long version (about 3-5 minutes long).
Up to four players can dance at a time. All will dance to the same choreography unless there are lead & backing tracks, in which case all players will dance to one of two routines. Each dancer can also select or create a profile to keep track of their scores (there are four default profile names called “Boogie”, “Bouncy”, “Jitterbug”, and “Vogue”–the user interface is so confusing that it took me a while to figure out what these were…at first I thought they were difficulty levels or dance styles. Instead of being cute I wish they could have stuck with the more intuitive “Player 1”, “Player 2”).
Each player presses the Move button and the glowing orb will glow in a different color.
When you get to the dance screen the interface again is eerily reminiscent of Just Dance. You have to mirror the dance moves of a dancer on the page, which happens to be a glowing white silhouetted figure dressed in bright colorful clothes. There were only things I noticed that prevented this from looking like a complete ripoff of Just Dance.
First, the icons representing your moves are displayed scrolling down vertically on the left of the screen for lead tracks (on the right of the screen for backing tracks). I found this a lot less easy to follow than the cues on Just Dance, but after a while I got used to it.
Secondly, the actual full-screen music video of the song by the original artist is playing in the background of the screen. This I found terribly distracting. While you’re trying to focus on your own dancer’s movements, the video in the back is constantly in motion. As a result, you don’t really enjoy the video, and it becomes a chore to try to focus on your dancer’s moves. I much prefer the approach taken by the PS3 Everybody Dance, where the video is playing in a self-contained box on the page which you can turn on and off.
Finally, the choreography. To be honest, I found it a bit lackluster. It didn’t have the technical complexity of a Dance Central 2 nor even the fun and quirky personality of Just Dance 3. In both those games, it was clear that a professional choreographer had designed the dance moves in the spirit and style of the original artist. In this case, you go through to motions of jumping and moving your hands up and down and in circles, but in many cases the moves seems generic and uninspired.
As derivative and lackluster as the gameplay is, there are a handful of improvements over Just Dance. I do like that they show the “time elapsed and time remaining” on the top of the screen, something useful for workouts that I wish Just Dance would have as an option you could turn on and off. I also like that they give you the option of using two controllers–one in each hand–which can help get your scoring and get you more immersed in the dancing, although it’s certainly not mandatory. I also like how you can break down your accuracy in different parts of the song and go to “Rehearse” mode to practice any given section.
The game does have a lot of interesting options for multi-player play under the “Get Up and Party” mode. There’s “Team Classic”, where two teams of up to four can compete head-to-head to see who can get the best score. “Last Man Standing” is an interesting game where two teams of up to two players each can do a “dance off” to see who dances the best. “Tug of War” is a fun variation of this, where the stronger team will win a virtual tug-of-rope game the more accurately they dance.
There’s also a “Shape Up” mode. After you set your profile, you can select one of five levels ranging from Beginner to Intense, which basically dictate how many songs you’ll dance to each workout session. There are some specially choreographed songs that play more like aerobic routines than dance routines, which can help maximize your workout. When you play the songs, you’re not graded based on how accurately you move; instead, you’ll see a counter of “cardio points” which just go up every time you move your controller. Of course, you’re on the “honor system” to do it right–you can rack up thousands of cardio points by just sitting on the couch and spinning your hands, of course there’s no point in doing that. A graph will show you your progress from week to week.
There’s also a mode called “Get Up and Dance Group” which is basically like a “career mode” where you and some friends can go through a series of “talent competitions”. It may be fun for kids to play this mode so they can pretend they’re competing on reality shows, but other than that it’s nothing special.
At the end of the day, I’m guessing the primary purchasers of this game will be people who want to save a little money (the retail price of the game is $10 less than Just Dance, although street prices make them about equal right now), and grandmas who see the title “Get Up and Dance” on the shelf and assume it’s Just Dance. Having said that, I would put the production quality of the game a hair above shovelware. I would say it’s a worthwhile purchase if you happen to like any of the songs in the playlist, or if you play in groups and have played Just Dance so much you need a little change of pace. But other than that, in a world with fifty gazillion and one dance titles out there, there’s really nothing too special about this one. 3.5 of 5 stars.