Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party - WII - Review
Aaah, finally! Now I can see what all the fuss is about, as DDR on the Wii is a hoot. For years, we’ve moaned about the lack of any DDR games for the Nintendo systems (I don’t count Mario, which was rated a decent game, but to me, Mario and DDR don’t mix.) I’ve watched the kids play on the arcade versions, and it’s always looked like fun. Now that I’ve experienced it, I’ve discovered that it’s not only fun, but challenging as well. While there are some disappointing aspects to the Wii version, it still remains a good party game with lots of laughs, especially from the spectators.
It’s basic DDR, where players try to match the directional arrows with their feet on a dance pad. For the Wii, though, there is a new twist: icons for left and right hand movements. This addition makes decent use of the remote and nunchuk, but it’s not as well-designed as it could have been. For whatever reason, it always seemed harder to hit the notes with the nunchuk, which was used for the left hand, than the remote in the right hand. And, these movements are just quick horizontal jerks. How much more fun it would have been if different hand movements had been available in the more difficult levels. These hand motions can be turned off if desired.
There are several different modes for single and multiplayer gameplay. However, only one mat comes with the game, so be prepared to shell out more money for more mats. Older mats may be compatible, as the mats plug in to the GameCube controller ports on the Wii console.
The single-player mode has two main options: Groove Circuit, which is the campaign mode, as it were, and Free Play, which is free play, of course. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two, except for boss battles and unlocked songs in Groove Circuit, and the addition of a Battle Mode in Free Play. In Groove Circuit, players will play through various “venues,” which are simply different groupings of songs and dances, and a boss at the end of the venue circuit. There are challenges for each dance, but they are generic and not very interesting. Players pick their own songs, too, which takes away some of the campaign flavor. When the venue is completed, a boss battle is opened. These aren’t very different from playing the regular dances, as the boss always has the same moves and same score, so the player is really just competing against his or her previous score to see if they can improve. Battle Style is a 1-2 player competition between 2 players, or 1 player and the game.
The multiplayer mode has some interesting options that promote players cooperating with each other instead of competing. Friendship mode lets everyone share the high score for a dance. Sync mode is pretty cool, as success depends on everyone that is playing. In Sync mode, if one person gains a boo, everyone fails.
The interface is quirky, and could have been designed better for ease of use. For instance, it’s impossible to exit out of a song once begun. This is annoying, especially given the other problem of menu cycling which is present. If players stand on the mat while trying to cycle through the music and difficulty level menu with the remote, the entire interface will go berserk and cycle endlessly through all the menus in rapid motion. The wrong options are inevitably chosen, and then players have to fail at the dance session before they can begin again. So, be warned, don’t stand on the mat until it’s time to actually dance.
For the Wii, in single-dance mode there are groups of backup dancers alongside the main dance character. They dance well and add to the general atmosphere of the game. The characters are fairly large and are colorful, though not as psychedelic as the arcade versions. They are less lifelike than in other consoles and look a lot like the Bratz dolls. The girls could be dressed more modestly, but I guess their dress is still better than in most music videos. They all dance great, though. If only it was as easy as they make it seem. Fortunately, there is a beginner mode for those of us who can’t even do aerobics without falling down. This mode is really easy, and even I was hitting most of the arrows, despite being a complete novice at DDR. But the very next level is surprisingly difficult, and the other two are insane. There are no medium levels for this game; it’s either easy or it ain’t, which makes it difficult to advance beyond the beginner mode. It also would have been helpful if the beginner mode wasn’t just a dumbed down version of the regular difficulty levels, but actually featured advice and demonstrations on how to pull off those dance combos.
There are 50 songs included, many of which are classics from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, along with several recent hits. Some favorites of mine are here, but I sure wish there were more disco songs. Disco Inferno is included, but not Boogie Oogie Oogie or any KC and the Sunshine band’s songs. There are also songs that I don’t recognize, which I assume means the ones I don’t know are mostly translated songs from other countries. Most of the tunes lend themselves well for dancing, but there are some odd ones which are slow or have a hard rock beat, either style not being conducive to becoming a dancing queen. Each song has the same arrow design for each difficulty level, which means that the emphasis is on learning and beating each song, rather than just improving one’s reflexes to randomized games.
Despite the limitations of the campaign mode and the sparseness of features, DDR Hottest Party is one of the better party or multiplayer games for the Wii, only being outranked by Guitar Hero III and Wii Sports. While Mario Party is a good game, it just hasn’t been very popular at our house for some reason. However, Hottest Party is promising to become the top game here for some time, mostly due to the young females residing here (ages 13-21), all of whom love DDR and have loads of like-minded friends. It’s definitely much more fun than Boogie, which is a karaoke type game. The combination of hot songs, bright graphics and cool dancers make this a winner for the teen crowd, and for any DDR fan. It’s really meant to be played with friends, so be prepared to shell out some money for more mats.
Christmas is just around the corner, and if you have a Wii and teens, this is a great gift choice! But don’t forget the extra mats!!
Review Scoring Details for Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party
This game is pretty much like all the other DDR games, but doesn’t offer quite as many features as past versions. The campaign mode is weak, and the overall strategy is lacking. However, the actual dancing is as fun as ever, and we like the large dancers and the inclusion of the backup dancers. The song list is large and varied, too. This is one of those games where the whole is better than the parts.
The graphics are bright and the dancers all look very cool on the Wii.
The songs are all great, but I would have liked more Disco tunes.
Learning how to play isn’t too difficult, but all the modes except for beginner are difficult. There is no smooth transition in difficulty settings.
This is basic DDR and there isn’t anything really new, except maybe the backup dancers. The presentation is good, though.
The multiplayer mode is really fun, not so much for any innovative design, but because of the nature of DDR, where players have a great time dancing together, whether in competition or cooperative play.
While this game could have been better with a deeper campaign mode and more features, it is still an amusing party game. It really depends on the audience. DDR fans and teens are the ones who will get the most enjoyment from this game. It would also be a hit at any large family gathering. We’re looking forward to taking it to Thanksgiving dinner and watching all the relatives play.