Game On: Dance Central

by Maranda This post is part of a new monthly series about gaming for and with kids.  Consider it A Mom’s Opinion on Gaming.

Game:  Dance Central Platform:  Xbox 360 with Kinect Players: 1-2 Rating: Teen (for song lyrics)

Dance Central is one of the launch titles for Xbox 360’s new Kinect motion controller.  It’s from the makers of Rock Band and follows a similar formula, only this time instead of matching notes on a plastic guitar, you’re using the Kinect’s full body motion control to match dance moves.  Unlike dance video games of the past, there are no controllers to hold or mats to jump on.  The Kinect’s camera capture every aspect of your movements and your score is based on your ability to mirror the on-screen dancer from head to toe.

Thankfully no real dancing skills are required, and your on-screen avatar always looks great no matter what you do.  Unlike music games, there is no failing and all 32 songs are unlocked from the beginning.  The tracks cover several decades of material and there are three levels of difficulty, making this a great game for the whole family. [But note the game is rated Teen due to a few song lyrics]

My 11 year old son and I in particular have been really enjoying Dance Central, including the Dance Battle mode which allows two players to swap in and out and each dance at their own difficulty level.  I love that he's being introduced to some new music, and he even had his guitar instructor teach him "Funkytown" after dancing to it in-game.

Personally, I love the addition of the “workout mode” which gives you an approximation of calories burned for each song.  This makes Dance Central a nice alternative to traditional workouts, and trust me, you will work up a sweat!

Dance Central is super polished and the Kinect controller works solidly.  I plan on making it a part of our regular family gaming sessions, and also a part of my winter workout routine.

Maranda is a mom of four who loves games as much as her kids do and believes the best part of parenting is having someone to play with. She blogs about parenting, techonology and practical-yet-wholesome cooking at MomIcon – adventures of a mom, geek, gamer. Her Xbox Live Gamertag is HotelQueen.