Radio Waves for 10/19/12
There doesn’t seem to be much of anything new that can be said about the Kinect as the end of 2012 approaches. In some cases, the less said about it, the better (see Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor). The hardware itself is at least decent, but the application of the Kinect in games usually doesn’t make them any better than holding a controller. Instead of focusing on the negative though, I do have a positive light I’d like to shine on the Kinect as October has seen the releases of both Just Dance 4 and Dance Central 3. Dancing games, while very demanding and not for everyone, make for a great party atmosphere and make for the best example of what hardware like the Kinect can do for gaming.
Just to clarify, I am not currently an owner of the latest versions of Just Dance or Dance Central. However, I do own last year’s versions and thought to delve into what makes busting a move in front of a TV so enjoyable. It’s a gaming dance-off, yo!
Getting’ Schooled in Dance Central 2
The folks at Harmonix, developers of the Dance Central series, are really the main reason why there’s a Kinect in my household at all. After playing Dance Central at a friend’s place, I figured this was something I wouldn’t mind doing whenever I felt like it. I enjoy the music, the presentation is cool and the game really wants to make sure you know how to pull off an impressive dance routine, especially if you get jumped by synchronized thugs in a well-lit Hollywood alley. Don’t ask.
Dance Central 2 is like a dance school program crammed into a game disc. You are expected to learn the moves and perform them to the best of your ability, because why else should virtual dance artists be impressed with your flailing about if it doesn’t look like anything remotely like the “Kick Step Back”? That’s not to say trying to keep up with the Simon Says gameplay isn’t fun. When a routine is going right (or close enough), I’m enjoying myself and feeling like my dancing has purpose instead of moving around a bit until the room goes silent.
Foolin’ Around in Just Dance 3
If having a quick injection of pop music and doing your thang is what you’re looking for, Just Dance 3 might be the medicine. There’s still a strict routine to follow, but the package has a more relaxed tone than Dance Central 2. In fact, I believe the adjective I’m looking for is “arcade-y”. Maybe it’s all the bright colors, but I just don’t feel as serious when scrolling through the playlist here. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you want out of a dance session: just to hear a song you like and shimmy in front of your TV for a bit.
The main difference here is that sometimes up to 4 players can be included in a routine, making this more of a casual party game. My parents seemed to enjoy themselves watching me try to dance to songs like “Video Killed The Radio Star”, even if they were no experts at “Baby One More Time”. That focus on a party atmosphere succeeds from a lax approach, since no one in their right mind wants to run through tutorials one person at a time in the hopes of a perfect score. Two or more people dancing in slightly coordinated unison is the goal and it’s a pretty awesome one when actually achieved.
If Dance Central is the series you approach while sober, Just Dance is the one you boot up after a couple of beers with friends. Their long-term goals are different enough that it’s not redundant to have both in my library. Kinect might not do everything accurately in its current form, but the art of dance is captured closely enough to be a win in my book.
Rayman Jungle Run (iOS/Android) – Rayman Origins, released last year, is a fantastic co-op game that I still recommend to friends today and its mobile automatic running spin-off, Rayman Jungle Run, takes that same charm and squishes it down into your phone for a fraction of the price.
Adventure Time: Jumping Finn – I really like Adventure Time and, in an odd turn for my gaming habits, play a lot more time wasters lately. This is basically a game about covering as much distance as possible after getting kicked in the rear. Yeah, uh… ADVENTURE TIME!
As always, I’ll be keeping my ears open to the world of gaming and you should too.
Radio Waves is a segment where Aaron aka BGRadio takes some time out of his video gaming schedule to reveal his latest game fix, favorite gaming story and mention a taste of what’s over the game horizon in general. It can be whatever you want it to be, except that it’s actually about what I want it to be. That cool? So put on your robe and your favorite fuzzy slippers, let’s chill and talk about what’s currently on the weekly radio.