Dance Central 2More than any other Kinect game currently available, Harmonix’s Dance Central truly showed off the technical possibilities of Microsoft’s hereto throwaway motion camera system.

The original dance game brought a genuinely innovative approach to the genre, exploding the Wii’s constrictive upper-body routines with a camera that had an uncanny ability to track every pop, lock and – if you’re anything like me – uncoordinated flail around your living room.

While it couldn’t quite teach you how to dance like the experts, it had a genuine learning curve, depth and most importantly, some cracking ‘CHOOOONS’ to keep you moving.

The basic set-up forces you to mimic the on-screen moves of your digital duplicate, with a steady stream of cue cards appearing on the side of the screen to help prepare you for your next move. While a little bewildering at first, the earlier levels more than prepare and introduce you each of the dance moves, and one or two practices will at least get your dancing shoes shuffling.

So what’s the track listing like this time around? With 44 new songs from the off (with downloadable ones optional), and three different difficulty levels for each track, there’s more than enough to get your party started. There’s Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and La Roux for the young’uns, and everything from Sir Mix-a-Lot to Banarama for the slightly older’uns.

Harmonix have also sustained, and bettered, the modes on offer. To ensure the party spirit is as hip(hop) and happening as possible, there’s now two player co-operative dance modes (you took it in turns individually in the predecessor), and a new Battle Mode which guarantees both your embarrassment and enjoyment levels will hit heights you never knew existed.

There’s also voice control and a customisable playlist for added funtimes, while the single player now has a ‘Crew Challenge’ mode which adds an admittedly ludicrous story to your rise up the ranks.

The only thing it’s obviously, annoyingly, lacking is an online multiplayer for an added show-off/ridicule factor.

Dance Central 2 succeeds on bettering its predecessor in every way, and fundamentally nails the inescapably catchy – albeit dignity-evaporating – formula needed to get you up off your sofa and shaking your booty – whether you plan to or not.


Dance Central 2 is out now and available on Xbox 360 Kinect.