The wait for a killer app PlayStation Move dancing game seems baffling at times: although Kinect launched with the excellent Dance Central from Harmonix, it took three years for the Wii to really ignite the trend with Ubisoft’s original Just Dance. Here we are, 14 months on since the peripheral first launched and ready to take on Sony's second attempt at perfecting the lucrative genre, but is it more like murder on the dance floor?
Produced by the Sony London Team responsible for the SingStar brand, including last year's pleasing SingStar Dance, Everybody Dance (known as DanceStar Party in Europe) is a gloriously garish and immediate affair that's more in line with Ubisoft's dance juggernaut than Harmonix's slick urban efforts. Everything's bright and bold, with a 40-strong track list as kitsch as it is cool: Kung Fu Fighting sits next to Do It Like A Dude, and while it might dip into the cheesy side more often than some players would like, the split between contemporary and classic tunes is fairly even.
In solo mode there's a high score challenge to keep you occupied, with none of the career mode options that defined Dance! It's Your Stage. There's also the now obligatory workout mode that picks a selection of songs and calculates your calorie consumption, with a chart showing how much energy you've expended per workout, but compared to Just Dance 3's upcoming fitness mode it's sparse and simplistic.
Similarly barebones is the dance creator, which lets you pick any song and make up your own moves on the fly, saving them to a routine for later. Creating ludicrous routines and playing them in multiplayer is hilarious and should entertain those who see themselves as stars. You can't share them online though, which is a drawback.
Lastly for solo performers there's a practice section that takes you through any song's choreography bit-by-bit, helpful when going for the five-star scores on professional difficulty. On-screen diagrams have been introduced since last year's effort to show what move's coming up next, and while they vary in usefulness the components are sound: highlighted limbs move in the direction of the green arrows. Thankfully Move picks up your movements well, although inevitably there are times a motion goes undetected, but these are largely in the minority.
The real draw though is the party mode that supports up to 20 players, though only two can take part at any one time. You need two PlayStation Move controllers and as many willing participants as you can muster: players snap a photo to represent their profile and the game automatically creates matches. There are neat touches here: you can go back to review past dance-offs and their photo and video highlights, perfect for latecomers to the party. After as many dances as you can muster, results are declared with some statistics and high scores: it's absolutely streamlined and all the better for it.
Depending on the song, choreography can be anything from mundane to hilarious: the inclusion of OK Go's Here It Goes Again is a brilliant choice, although Macarena might be less welcome. It's a shame that both players only ever perform the same moves as there's ample room for alternate choreography in multiplayer, and both players must pick the same difficulty, which narrows the breadth of its appeal.
Lastly there's the option to view and share content with the online community, with built-in Twitter and Facebook sharing support. As with the rest of the game, it's on the sparce side — you can Tweet, Facebook, heart or report content, but nothing more engaging: no tags, no comments, no communication. It's a mute viewers' paradise, but there's not much community-building.
Like SingStar Dance before it, Everybody Dance is a huge amount of fun with a friend, and even more with 20. It's still not the complete article, and we'd expect Just Dance 3 to snatch the lead when released in December, but for now this is some of the most fun you'll have with Move.