Turning living rooms into dance floors all across the country is Harmonix's new Kinect-designed music game Dance Central. Stepping up to the challenge, we have endured endless hours of beat dropping sweat to bring you our review of Dance Central. So, you think you can dance?

Dance Central is leading the pack when it comes to the first line of software for Microsoft's Kinect. Right out the box Dance Central will have even the most hardened stickler feel the need to shake their thang to the beat. The thing about Dance Central that other games don't seem to have “yet,” is a personality. Sure, the other Kinect games work, but Dance Central is vibrant, commanding and flawlessly designed. This shouldn't be too surprising when you look Harmonix's work in 'Rock Band 3,' which smoothly showcases another side of music.

Commanding a strong attitude is key with a game that is tasked with getting kids and adults out their chairs and in-front of their TV's to dance. Now for kids, you know they love any excuse to get up and move, so I should have said Dance Central's is tasked with getting us old bitties up on the floor to dance, without making you feel too embarrassed. Although once you are up, there is a new challenge ironically enough to get them off the game. Dance Central is that charming, that addictive.

One reason why Dance Central pulls everything off so effortlessly is how good it works. The tracking with Kinect is solid giving you real-time feedback on your movements with clear indicators of which limbs are not exactly coordinated with the game. When you miss a step or don't move your arm to the right spot, the on-screen characters appendage your not moving properly glows red. This lets you know what part of the move you need to work adjust, so you can continue playing and adjusting your movements to keep the flow rocking and the points increasing. Harmonix has found a great balance being the teacher without making you feel like you're not good enough to pull of the moves. Even the more uncoordinated left footed dancers will get it. Just takes some time and patience.

The point system responds to your ability to mirror the animated dancer in the game. The more moves you successful connect and different move-sets you complete, the more your score will increase. The scoring is broken down to a five star system and scoring leaderboards to keep you motivated. Dance Central can also be played and scored over three different difficulties.... and yes, the difficulties actually matter. Smartly, Dance Central makes you complete a song in easy before you can move on. This logically makes you progress while learning and accepting the game. Nothing would be worse then getting in over your head right off the get go, so this is solved by monitoring your progress.

See how Dance Central works is by having a animated dancer perform moves on screen that you copy by dancing in front of your Kinect enabled Xbox 360. You have to mirror the movements to the best of your abilities and this is no, "kind of perform the moves," you have to do the moves with some accuracy. Timing and moving with the beat is important and Dance Central actually helps you to get in the groove. The 'Break it Down' tutorial system is built into each song which breaks down a dance move-by-move as slow as possible if necessary. The teaching tools are helpful to learn the game and to help reluctant dancers gain confidence before their big performance. Nice touch.

There are also motionless “flashcards” that appear on the right hand side of the screen that give you a heads up on the next move. These cards are extremely helpful and once you get the hang of dancing how Dance Central wants you to dance you will be watching for their cue before observing the dancer. Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea, Dance Central is NOT just about intrustructions. This game is about having fun and dancing, the instructions while part of the game, never hinders the fun factor. Even though Harmonix gives you aids, you can simply hit the floor and shake around wildly. You're score might not hit the high marks, but you'll still be having fun. That's the beauty of Dance Central, you can get out of it as much as you put in.

The music selections are mainly made up of popular pop/dance songs from the 2000s featuring artists like Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Pitbull and Christina Milian. You also get a few 1980 classics like “Bust a Move” by Young MC or even older with Kool & the Gang's “Jungle Boogie.” There are 32 songs on the disc and more available for download. 32 tracks feels a little light compared to other music games, but for a first run, the selection is pretty good.

For additional modes aside from “Performing It,” you can hit up the 'Workout mode,' which is just an extension of the normal mode, except that it shows you how many calories you burn and your workout time. There is also a 'Challenge Mode' that is unlocked once you complete each grouping of four songs. Challenges increase the difficulty and switch up the moves from your routine. It's not that difficulty, but its adds a little variety, really they could of done more with this mode. Lastly, we have a fun 'Dance Battle,' which an fun head-to-head battle with a friend focused around a routine.

The only way Dance Central disappoints is the lack of a career type mode. Even a pre-fab styled section would have added a little bit of value to the disc for those players who are pulling a Billy Idol (Dancing with Myself.) There isn't too much to do besides scoring an unlock a not-so-secret character “Eliot” the robot, new venues, and new digs for your characters. That being said, for a co-op experience, Dance Central can not be beat. This is the party starter and a great way to get everyone involved in gaming.

Dance Central busts on to the scene becoming this holiday's "must have" game for Kinect. Not only does its perfectly blend the hardware with the software, Dance Central is fun, lots of fun. The single player experience is a little lacking (like most Kinect) titles. However in a group setting its super fly to bust out the moves in your living room. If you are thinking of investing in motion gaming, Dance Central should be at the top of your list.

  • Super fun for all ages
  • Kinect integration is flawless
  • Strong competitive spirit
  • Excellent teaching tools
  • No career mode
  • Only one dancer at a time
  • More tracks would have been nice
  • Better with friends
Quote: "Dance Central busts on to the scene becoming this holiday's "must have" game for Kinect. Not only does its perfectly blend the hardware with the software, Dance Central is fun, lots of fun. "
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 12.03.10

Similar Games: Kinect Sports (6.2) | Kinect Adventures (7.0) | The BEP Experience (7.6)


Dance Central

MTV Games



US Release
November '10



Player 1-2
HD 1080p
D/L Content
3MB Game Save
Kinect Required