Plug-and-play exergaming with U-Dance
With the weather getting colder and workouts moving indoors, I’m going to post some reviews of exergames I have. I did a little bit of U-Dance yesterday, so here’s a review.
U-Dance is a battery-operated, plug-and-play dance video game, but unlike most of the cheap DDR knockoffs in toy departments (there are even “official” plug-and-play games like My First Dance Dance Revolution) this is fun and a change of pace from mat games. The original price was an outrageous $80, but it can now be found online for a more reasonable $20-30.
U-Dance consists of a plastic tower, a couple of feet tall, plus a pair of elastic bands with shiny badges on them. Slip the bands on your feet (you can wear them over shoes or on bare feet), plug the tower into the TV and turn it on, and outlines will appear on the screen that move around with your feet. You use your feet to control everything in the game, including menus.
U-Dance includes 3 games: a dance game, a treadmill game, and Lounge Lizards. In the main dance game, pick one of 12 songs and easy or medium level (a hard level has to be unlocked) and as the song plays, move your feet around the floor to match the outlines that appear on screen, sort of like a video version of those footprint dance charts. Once you get the hang of it, it’s lots of fun, and since you’re not stomping on a mat, it feels more like actual dancing. (One Amazon reviewer even noted that since no mat is involved, she could play U-Dance even though she’s disabled and leans on a walker.) Songs include “ABC” by the Jackson Five, “1-2 Step” and “Run It” by Chris Brown, “Don’t Stop The Music” by Rihanna, and decent cover versions of dance hits like “I Like To Move It” and “U Can’t Touch This”. The scoring system is extremely lenient – it’s pretty hard to fail, making this good for easily-frustrated kids of any age. I can work up a pretty good sweat, about like playing DDR on Standard.
My kids love the two bonus minigames. On the treadmill game, you use your foot outlines to pick up “diamonds” on a treadmill while avoiding nails and chunks of gum. And in Lounge Lizards, you kick the disco-dancing lizards out of the way before they can invade a spotlight in the middle of the screen. Both games have catchy music and get the heart rate up there. The game is very responsive – occasionally your feet get “crossed”, but you just step out of tower range briefly to fix it.
The tower takes 4 AA batteries. There’s a cord-winder on the back and the bands easily slip over the top, so it’s easy to store against a wall and move from room to room or take to someone’s home.
U-Dance isn’t as fancy or polished as any console game, but for what it is – a portable exergame for the whole family – it’s great, especially at the reduced price.