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Just Dance Disney Party for Wii: for kids of all ages

The Just Dance franchise, after producing two “Kids” games that lean more toward preschoolers with Wiggles and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, finally has a “family” game that the whole family can enjoy. Just Dance Disney Party, available on both Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect (I tried the Wii version), combines both tween Disney Channel hits with classic tunes their parents and grandparents love.

Just like all the other Just Dance games, basic gameplay consists of picking a song and mirroring the dancing avatar. The dancers are films of real people superimposed on colorful backgrounds. You score points by holding your Wii remote as you dance. Some songs are “duets” with two dancers doing different moves, and if you’re playing alone, you have to select a dancer before the song begins. Multiplayer modes include “freeze and shake” where at points in the song, you either have to freeze or shake your remote as hard as you can. (We tried it, and prefer conventional dancing.)

There’s no real workout mode, but you can create playlists or play nonstop random songs for a certain period of time. In addition, a parents’ dashboard lets you see how long the game was played on what days and how many calories were burned, and there are even some health tips.

On the down side, there are only 25 songs, which is rather stingy for a dance game, especially at more than a dollar per song. (And some of them could be considered filler, like 2 songs from Tangled – why not 2 songs from Mary Poppins instead?) That said, they treat them really well; instead of soundalikes and generic backgrounds, they use the actual soundtracks (as far as I can tell) and iconic Disney art. On the movie-soundtrack songs, they have animations of scenes from the movie – e.g. “Everybody Wants To Be a Cat” from The Aristocats shows the jazz cat band in the background – and scrolling lyrics are especially enjoyable with songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Be Our Guest.” There’s no Pixar, but they more than make up for that with the Muppet Show theme which has become the most-played song in our house. (Too bad this came out before Disney acquired Star Wars; it would’ve been fun to dance to the cantina song.)

Just Dance Disney Party should please Disney fans both old and young, and there’s plenty of material left for sequels!

(I received a free review copy of this game through the Amazon Vine program.)

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Summer surprise: Just Dance Summer Party coming next month

Just Dance Summer Party for Wii

Look what just popped up: Just Dance Summer Party is a “limited edition” JD game in the kazillion-selling Wii series, containing 23 tracks.  But the bad news is, you may already own some or all of them; it’s a collection from their online store.  According to their Facebook page, the song list is:

  1. A Band of Bees – “Chicken Payback”
  2. A R Rahman, The Pussycat Dolls Featuring Nicole Scherzinger – “Jai Ho! (You Are My
  3. Blur – “Song 2”
  4. Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting (Dave Ruffy / Mark Wallis Remix)”
  5. Countdown Dee’s Hit Explosion – “Barbie Girl”
  6. Estelle featuring Kanye West – “American Boy”
  7. Katy Perry – “Firework”
  8. Love Letter – “Why Oh Why”
  9. M/A/R/R/S – “Pump Up The Volume”
  10. Nick Phoenix and Thomas Bergersen – “Professeur Pumplestickle”
  11. Panic At The Disco – “Nine in the Afternoon”
  12. Rihanna – “Pon De Replay”
  13. Steppenwolf – “Born To Be Wild”
  14. Studio Allstars – “Maniac”
  15. Sweat Invaders – “Funkytown”
  16. Sweat Invaders – “Skin-To-Skin”
  17. The Hit Crew – “Here Comes The Hotstepper”
  18. The Lemon Cubes – “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of Monika)”
  19. The Lemon Cubes – “Moving On Up”
  20. The Reverend Horatio Duncan & Amos Sweets – “Down By The Riverside”
  21. The Supremes – “You Can’t Hurry Love”
  22. The World Cup Girls – “Futebol Crazy”
  23. V V Brown – “Crying Blood”

According to Amazon, Just Dance Summer Party is coming July 14.

Just Dance 3 will bust a move on 3 consoles

Just Dance 3 for Xbox 360 Kinect

The third installment of the Just Dance series has been announced, and this time, in addition to Wii, there will be versions on Kinect and Playstation 3. Release date is October 11, but of course that could always change.  All three platforms will have workout modes. The description for Wii and PS3 says:

Just Sweat More – A more advanced training program with calculated Cardio Training and on-going assessment that will help players stay fit while having fun.

while the description for the Kinect version says:

Just Sweat It Out – The popular Just Sweat mode gets an upgrade with more workout plans and playlists.

No song list yet, but the box art shows Dynamite, Pump It by Black Eyed Peas, No Limit by 2 Unlimited, What Are You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani, and “Kiss” – that could mean the ’80s Prince hit, or something by Kiss.  (I’m rooting for the former!)

Adding Wii games to your strength program

Three of my favorite metal objects!

Lisa of Wii Fitness and Gaming asked me to write a guest post for her blog, so I wrote a post about how I add Wii games to my strength training routine of kettlebells and heavy weights.  Check out my post here, and see the rest of her blog (and her Wii Fitness Examiner page) for more great Wii workout ideas.

Dance Masters for Kinect demo is available, for Xbox Live Gold

If you have Xbox Live Gold (a free one-month membership came with my console) and Kinect, now you can download a demo of Dance Masters.  This is the “other” dance game for Kinect.  Dance Central has gotten most of the attention and sales, and the demo I played from the Kinect Adventures disc was lots of fun, but when I heard about Dance Masters, that was the one I wanted.  And I don’t regret it.

Dance Masters is to Dance Central what DDR is to Just Dance.  Just Dance (for Wii) and Dance Central (for Xbox 360 Kinect) are fun, casual games your whole family will enjoy, loaded with familiar hit songs.  But Dance Masters, which is on Kinect only,  is more of a “gamer’s” dance game.  Rather than club-style dancing, the dances are more like a stage performance, and the Kinect is your electronic Carrie/Len/Bruno, judging whether you hit those moves just right.

In lieu of scrolling arrows like DDR, DM has an interesting set of “marks” to hit.  A green silhouette will sometimes scroll in from the side, and you have to hit that pose right as it reaches the center of the screen (like in the TV show Hole In The Wall).  There are also round bullseye targets that you have to hit with either your hands or feet, We Cheer-like arm lines, and a green circle on the “floor” to be stepped on to the beat.  The choreography is the same for each song on all difficulties, but the number of marks increases on each difficulty.  Thus you can get away with just a series of poses on “easy”, but once you get to “extreme” or “master”, you pretty much have to have the dance down pat as marks come flying from all directions.

For extra fun (or embarrassment), DM puts you right up on stage with the dancers!  You can even “clone” yourself by projecting a video of yourself on a previous dance along with your live image.  Multiplayer puts both players up on the stage, and DM (unlike DC) offers online play as well.

The Dance Masters demo includes both solo and duet versions of three songs:  A Geisha’s Dream, Unity and We Can Win the Fight.  These aren’t “hits” like Dance Central or Just Dance offer; they’re original, Jpop-style songs that only DDR fans will be familiar with.  I love the choreography of DM, but A Geisha’s Dream is a particular favorite, and not that hard to do.  Here’s a gameplay video:

No, I’m not posting a video of myself doing it, sorry!

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