By Rickee Charbonneau (Jammart), OnRPG Journalist
Dance Groove Online is an exiting dance game in the process of being published by Outspark. It will soon be entering Open Beta, and I will be returning then as I have had a pretty positive experience in the first closed beta of the game. Do not be so quick as to judge this game to any other dancing games you have played online. There are so many aspects of this game that makes it unique and a real joy to play.
Of course, there were some flaws that I will get into later on in the review-some were just minor, and some are excusable due to it being in an early test phase. It was surprising, really. I was not expecting the game to be so fun!
There has always been a little bit of uproar on the topic of categorizing this genre of game as a “dancing game”. Most players will not necessarily be dancing as they play this game, simply because it is a little too fast for a dance pad at times, but those who wish to play with a dance pad are able to so long as it can be connected to the computer. Whether you play with your keyboard or the dance pad, you are still likely to have a riot!
It may not seem like a really fun thing to play with keyboard arrows at first glance-at least that is what I thought. The controls are very simple and the various elements of the game are very easy to learn. There are also quite a few game modes already available in-game. Here’s a quick rundown of them:
Normal Single Mode: This is the basic default game mode in Dance Groove Online. You guessed it; this game mode consists of you being well…solo, and you simply have to follow your screen as your bar reaches the arrows you will need to press. Yes, the bar actually moves towards the arrows, and not vice versa.
Normal Team Mode: This is the very same as the normal single mode, however the game play is slightly altered. You will be dancing in three groups of two or two groups of three. The concept is the same, although the dancing your characters will do will be in co ordinance of your partners, which looks really cool, and you have to rely on your team mates strengths to win the game.
Item Mode: This game mode is a little different from the others currently offered in-game. Similarly to the normal mode, you aim to successfully complete the arrow patterns that will appear on your screen, but there is a twist. The moment you get a “perfect” or “great”, and even sometimes a “good” rating for your dancing technique, you will be given an item. These items can then be used on yourself, your team mates, or your enemies. Some items will benefit you; some will destroy your enemies. They make extra arrows appear on other’s screens, wobble their arrow bar, make arrows seem upside-down, erase arrows from the screen, make arrows invisible, etc! These items are used by pressing the F1-6 key (one F key is assigned to a particular character in the match). However, make sure to use the right items on your enemies… try not to make things easier for them!
Step Up: Step Up is the final game mode that was available during the first closed beta phase. It is not available for team play, as it is basically a competition to see which dancer can “step it up” and blow everyone away! This game mode is extremely simple, but can also be a little frustrating at times. This mode plays exactly like the normal game mode, though you have to press the space bar after each pattern of arrows. The arrows will get more and more difficult as the song goes by, and you will sometimes encounter special arrow patterns that provide you with tons of points if you can hit them all.
All of these game modes can currently be played in regular mode or 2X key mode (everything is two times as fast) on either the introduction channel, the beginner channel, or the intermediate channel. The only difference between these channels is their difficulty; they offer the same content otherwise.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game. The graphics were cute (maybe a little too pink, though), and the music was great for the most part. This was a wonderful contrast from Audition Online. Dance Groove featured high quality tracks that were generally recent. There were even a few that I really liked and added to my own media library. The game maps are pretty decent. Sometimes they are a little laggy and too flashy and bright, but in essence they did the trick. The camera angles offered in dance matches are great, too.
Character creation was also pretty fantastic. The character models are better in proportion than most anime-styled games, though there are still a few exaggerations. They also categorized height in age, which made absolutely no sense to me. The twelve year old body was the same as the eighteen year old body… only shorter. There was a severe lack in items to choose from to customize your character, but I am sure this will improve during the full release of the game, so no worries there.
Another aspect I really enjoyed was the messenger system. It works flawlessly and really organizes all you need to be in touch with your friends, your crew (guild system), and the lobby of players waiting to join a game.
All in all, this game is really worth trying. Even if you are not into the whole dancing game genre, you should give it a go. It is a very casual game (it should be, at least), and it is a great time killer. I had so much fun during the CB-I even got to challenge a few GMs to a dance off! Be sure to check this title out in Open Beta.