It is time to get dancing again, but this time with the new We Dance from Nordic Games. Offering something different from the other dancing games on the Wii, We Dance begins by offering you a choice. The game is available by itself, or packaged with its very own dance mat, known as the Star Mat. And you thought that dance mats were yesterday’s news.
Dancing games have gone through an evolution in recent years. Not so long ago, it was all about the dance mats. But then motion control arrived and the humble dance mat was relegated to the back of the cupboard. But now the dance mat is back with a vengeance and although We Dance can be played perfectly well without the mat, the game is far more enjoyable, and challenging, when using the peripheral.
But, with any dancing or singing game, the first thing that should be mentioned is the selection of songs. We Dance packs in forty tunes in total, with enough variety to suit most musical tastes. Be it the classics such as YMCA by The Village People, Copacabana by Barry Manilow and Love Shack by the B-52’s, or something more modern like Put Your Hands Up For Detroit by Fedde Le Grand and Boys and Girls by Pixie Lott, everyone should be able to find something to get the party started. There is a fair amount of cheese to be found in the song choice which, as we all know, is what we all really want in a dancing game. Time to leave embarrassment at the door.
There are three different ways of playing We Dance, each assigned to a different difficulty. The first, and supposedly the easiest, uses a Wiimote and challenges the player to mimic the on-screen dancing of the slightly creepy silhouette. Now, I was not really sure about this mode. I was doing my best to keep up with the on-screen dancer, but everything just seemed really random. The three by three grid in the bottom left was not really showing me anything to indicate what I was supposed to be doing, and I couldn’t understand how flailing my arms around like a loon was occasionally earning me “brilliant” comments. It was not until I paused the game that suddenly everything became clear. In the pause menu there is a gesture box. Tick this box and then return to the song and you will find little figures scrolling across the screen, indicating when and where to move your arms. Now it made sense.
Bearing in mind that this was supposed to be the easy mode, keeping up with the gestures was actually really hard. I don’t profess to move very quickly at the best of times, but playing this for a while left me wishing that I had paid more attention to the Warm Up mode. Still, once I realised about turning the gestures on, it all worked really well and fully justified my lack of rhythm.
The Medium difficulty is where things get interesting, as this mode uses the dance mat. Harking back to the days of leaping on arrows to match the icons on screen, the player is required to move their feet as directed on the three by three grid, preferably in time to the music to achieve the high scores. Although all of this jumping around is far more energetic than the easy mode, it seemed much simpler to understand and follow. The dance mat itself is very responsive and worked exactly as you would expect it to. Those video game dancers out there who remember the dance mats of years gone by can be confident that this is a high quality piece of kit.
The final difficulty mode is obviously called hard for a reason. This mode combines both the gestures with the Wiimote and the fancy footwork with the mat. Trying to keep up with both sets of moves at once will take far more dancing skill than I have. Really, the only way to achieve high scores in this mode would be to actually learn the dance sequences in their entirety. Fortunately, there is a Dance School just for that.
One of the other options beyond We Dance is the Dance School. This handy little mode is one for the dance perfectionists out there, offering to teach the player all of the moves and enable those high scores. Also included with the game are Dance TV, which allows you to watch the music videos without any dancing required, the Charts, which are effectively leaderboards, a Party mode, which includes three small party games for up to four players, and the Dance Shop, which brilliantly allows the player to expand upon the 40 songs included with more downloadable tunes.
The game plays incredibly well and there is a great selection of tunes already included, with the option to download more once they become stale. We Dance doesn’t re-invent the dancing game genre, but the inclusion of the dance mat certainly brings something new to the dancefloor. With support for up to four players, and four dance mats, there is every possibility that this may well be the party game of the upcoming holiday season. If you want to dance with your Wii, We Dance is well worth a look.