Dance Central Review: Cranking That Poker Face

I HATE working out.  I don’t have a problem with actively participating in NOT working out.  Why?  Because the term “working out” bores me out of my mind.  The thought of running with no purpose or going to a gym and touching gym equipment that HUNDREDS of sweaty, smelly people before me have touched, only to do the same, repetitious movements day in day out in what feels like a prison yard, sounds about as fun as having my eyes poked out.  I will gladly “work out” when there is some sort of competition involved, like an actual sport, or when I’m doing something that makes me forget that I’m actually doing my body good.  This is where Dance Central for the XBox 360 Kinect comes in.

It's no flawless victory but it will do.

Featuring a variety of over 30 songs like “Can’t Get You Outta My Head,” “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” and downloadable content to come,  Dance Central has plenty to keep you movin’, Created by the masterminds at Harmonix (you know…the people who made a mildly successful game called Rock Band), takes the thought of using your feet from Dance Dance Revolution (DDR),  and mixing it with the idea of USING YOUR ARMS AND BODY while dancing.  Who would have ever thought?  Dance Central not only requires you to do real dance moves, it requires you to use all your limbs to execute coordinated movement.  I am very curious about how readily DDRers are picking up the moves if they have never had any former real dance experience. Dancing that doesn’t only use your feet, or only use your arms!  With the new Kinect motion peripheral you can use your entire body without having to hold onto a controller or Riverdance on a platform.

How It Works

There are five different play options available:

  1. Break it Down: Individual moves are broken down for you to learn and practice…they even let you slow it down so you can see where your feet, legs, arms, body, head are supposed to go.
  2. Perform It: The main single player mode in the game.
  3. Workout Mode: Same as Perform it, but with an added calorie counter at the top left hand corner of the screen.
  4. Dance Battle: You can battle against a friendly foe, otherwise why would you have them in your house?
  5. Challenge Mode: A mash up of four songs in the same category after you have completed said songs with four stars or more.

I personally choose not to do the Workout Mode, not because it has the word workout in it, but because I feel you should do the game because you enjoy it.  If you are trying to attain a certain calorie count, it seems like it attaches a negative feeling to the whole experience.  Play the game for as long as you want to play it, not because you have to play it.

After choosing your mode, you can go and get down with your bad self.  The moves you learn in the Break it Down mode appear on the right side of the screen and you perform and repeat each move as they are put forth.   If you are doing something wrong, the body part that is not in sync with the dance move  will be highlighted on your avatar’s body.  Once you get better and know the dance moves better, you can turn of the flashcards on the right side of the screen while you perform.

Ethan's wife's doppelganger.

There are several avatars, guys and dolls, each having a distinct personality and fashion sense.  My personal favorite is Dare.  In choosing an avatar, I was a little disappointed to see that none of them were Asian.  If I want to see “me” on the screen, I am not going to see it in Miss Aubrey (who, by the way is a dead ringer for Ethan’s wife.  You can say it.  He’s a lucky bastard).  I ended up choosing Dare because of her sassy ‘tude and ethnic ambiguity, while thinking maybe I should give pink hair a try.  Turns out, she’s Asian!

Absolutely Flawless

All in all, I think the game is perfect.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  Your heart definitely gets pumping and you may need to crack a window or two because it is a workout, but you can dance away calories without feeling like you are working out. Besides, have you seen professional dancers bodies?  I would take their’s over a gym body any day.

My hope for the future is that once everyone has the pleasure of playing Dance Central there will be a nation wide flash mob where we would perform one of the songs a la Dance Central.  Or even at the bars.  Because that would be AMAZING.

This article was submitted to us by RatedGarface and promoted by a member of The Cursed. If you’d like to submit your own article, please email


Giant Bomb (images)