When you’ve been the leading karaoke title for the past six years, how do you keep the experience fresh? That’s the rather fortunate problem facing SingStar, and this year has seen two significant additions to the formula, first in the form of SingStar Guitar and now with SingStar Dance for PlayStation Move.
Rather than hold a Move controller and microphone at once, the game forcefully encourages you to share singing and dancing duties between all present players, up to two singers and two dancers able to take part at once. You can still dance or sing solo if you don’t feel sociable, with individual scoring meaning you can see which is better, your singing or your partner’s dancing.
Tackling the 30 songs in dance mode is a simple proposition. After a quick calibration the Move sits in one hand and is used to pull off a range of moves, demonstrated by a videoed performance of a professional dancer on the right. In the background you can choose to watch the original music video or a live feed of what the PlayStation Eye is seeing, whichever you prefer.
The motion detection is functional but the game’s main problem lies in just having one Move controller doing all the detecting, making some moves an inaccurate affair. The option to use two Moves would have been a welcome addition, but as it stands you’ll be playing with just the one.
The only other major gripe is with the way dance moves are communicated to you: or rather, how they’re not communicated. Whilst Dance Central for Kinect shows you the next upcoming step with a brief name and diagram, with SingStar Dance you’re always watching to see what the dancer does and attempting to copy it. You’ll only really get a feel for what you’re doing after a few run-throughs of the same song, by which time you’ll have learnt the moves, but then that doesn’t necessarily equate to more fun.
In fact, the most enjoyment you’ll have from SingStar Dance is from singing and dancing badly but trying hard all the same. The use of the PlayStation Eye camera is the real star of the show here: being able to watch yourself on-screen both during and after your booty-shaking is rarely short of hilarious, especially with multiple players. The game saves snapshots at certain times but you can also save and edit the entire video performance, uploading segments to your MySingStar profile to share your finest and feeblest moments with the game’s community.
The overall experience is geared towards a quick jump-in party experience, so there’s nothing to unlock and no career progression mode, just a streamlined set of battles, duets and party-friendly pass the mic modes. It’s possible to play online but only against users on your friends list, a disappointing limitation but an understandable one all things considered.
Whilst some may criticise its tracklist, any dance compilation that includes Sir Mixalot’s classic Baby Got Back and cheesy disco stalwart Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer is surely above reproach. Disappointingly the series’ huge back catalogue of tracks isn’t updated with dance moves, and at the time of writing there are no extra dance-enabled songs available in the SingStore, so even at its discount price you should be aware these 30 songs are currently your only option for grooving the night away.
SingStar Dance is often hilarious and never less than entertaining, with the inclusion of dance moves a crowd-pleasing addition rather than a great display of Move’s motion-sensing abilities. Being able to watch and share your funniest moments online is a huge bonus over dance games on other consoles, even if the one-handed dancing isn’t as tight as it should be. If you’re having a few friends around and there’ll be some alcoholic drinks flowing, this is the ideal game to break out for a guaranteed good night in.