26th January 2011 - Every now and then you get asked to review a game that requires you to drink enough beer to play it that you can’t actually remember playing it, which makes reviewing it a bit of a challenge. Singstar Dance is the latest in the Singstar franchise and features the addition of using the PS Move wand and camera to track your dance moves. Due to my “condition” (old, white male with no rhythm) I enlisted the help of my daughter Izzy who is nearly 7 to help me play this game. Her comments are listed at the bottom of the review to help you decide whether to buy this game for yourself or for your daughters.
The first part of the gameplay mechanic is the standard karaoke style singing that we have become accustomed to in the Singstar and Lips style games. The second part is the dance part which is done by holding the PS Move wand and mimicking the on screen video of a dancer who is a lot better than I could ever hope to be. The Singstar method of singing is a tried and true method, seriously there are only so many ways you can display words on a screen and have people sing them. But for me this is the part of the game that works, so why would they change it?
The other part of the game is the dance part. This for me is the part of the game that doesn't really work. The Move tracking is somewhat for lack of a better term, clunky. It doesn't do a very good job of maintaining tracking whilst you are performing the moves and when you compare it to something like Dance Central on Xbox Kinect it feels like the dance part of this game was tacked on and dare I say it a little bit last gen. One thing that annoyed me was that it was hard for you to dance and sing at the same time. You have to use the Singstar mic's and then to dance you obviously need to hold on to the Move Wand. You then need to sing into one and sometimes move both arms around to do the dance move properly which would involve moving your mic hand away and thus not scoring points for the singing part. I find that this somewhat major flaw in the gameplay to be almost inexcusable.
All of the standard game modes are available for this type of game, including duets and battles and pass the mic. There is even the option of two people dancing together and it apparently includes some exclusive moves that aren’t in single player. From what I could tell these basically included hand type slapping gestures and a bit of crossing over sides.
One thing that impressed me though was the voice control on the menu system. It is really well implemented and seems to work the all the time. Izzy had a small amount of trouble with it occasionally but that was mainly due to her having trouble setting it up (for some reason she had trouble saying Cyndi Lauper) or she was mumbling, personally I never had any trouble with it but it something you might want to watch out for. If you are having dramas with it you can just switch it off and use the good old controller.
Another highlight is the video and photo capturing. If I am going to make a complete arse of myself I like to have a bit of a laugh about it and the kids like to laugh at me as well. There is no better to do this than watching it back. The singing, the dancing it’s all there for you to show to your friends and have a laugh. What I would have like to have seen is some Facebook or Twitter integration for those people who are in to that sort of thing.
The menus in this game look great and there are a couple of different ways to sort the songs so you can readily find your favourite tracks. When the track starts playing you will get the video clip from the song playing in back ground. Some of the older tracks can look a little out of date but you ever really seem to notice as you are too busy watching the on screen dancer or reading the words to the song. In my case anyway.
The sound in the game is great and all the songs have been brought across really well. They all sounded great pumped on the stereo with the exception of New Kids On The Block which hasn’t sounded good on any ones stereo since 1989 and even then it was questionable.
At the cost of about half a normal game there maybe some people who would argue that it is good value for money. I would argue that you are essentially getting half a game and that is why the price point feels right.
This game was never going to break any huge genre boundaries or be defining in any way. In my opinion it is a Singstar game with a badly implemented dance portion that didn’t really do it for me. There are some relatively good inclusions to the basic Singstar package with the video playback feature etc but overall it just lacked the punch in what it was trying to achieve. In summary if you want to sing, get another game with a bigger library of tracks available such as one of the other Singstar games or Lips and if you want to dance get Dance Central.
AAG SCORE: 5.5/10
+ The tracks are varied and there is something there for most people.
+ Well implemented voice control in the menu.
+ The video playback of your “performance” is a lot of fun.
- The dance part is a big let down for this game.
- PS Move tracking is not the best.
- Not a lot of tracks on the disc, despite the variation of them and as with most music titles these days you are expected to buy tracks of the PSN Store.
+ I like the way there are some older songs included. (Mick’s Note: by older Izzy means anything pre 2000)
+ I like the voice control for the menus and how you can turn it off if you want.
+ I like how you can sing and dance at the same time.
- I don’t like how sometimes it doesn’t understand you.
- I don’t like how there aren’t a lot of songs to pick from.
- I don’t like that you can only dance by using the new PS Move Controller.
Reviewed and Written By Michael Brennan (and his daughter Izzy)