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Get Up and Dance - Wii Review

Game Info
Get Up and Dance

Wii | O-Games / Gusto Games | 1-4 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote
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6th February 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

When O-Games decided to work on Get Up and Dance, I'm sure they had the best of intentions in mind. Ubisoft didn't think so, and actually went so far as to accuse them of copying their Just Dance property. Capitalizing on the dancing sector when they did led Ubisoft to enjoy major success, as current sales charts still demonstrate. Yet, there seemed to be a sort of welcoming attitude towards other dance titles. Perhaps they felt there wouldn't be another game that could top them. Whatever the case, along came O-Games with Get Up and Dance and a point to prove; suddenly there's a spirit of competition. I'm not sure why Ubisoft considered this title to be such a threat in the first place, because in all honesty, Get Up and Dance is definitely the weaker option.

    From the Main Menu, you're given four different options to choose from. The first is the standard 'Get Up and Dance' mode, with available sub-modes including Classic, Last Man Standing, and Mix. 'Get Up and Dance Group' has its own set of multiplayer options, while 'Shape Up' is more designed to track the amount of calories you burn. There's also a Video Jukebox where you can view the music videos for any of the songs, along with a Rehearse mode that I'll get into later.

In choosing which song you'd like to play, the game has you scrolling through a horizontal list of album covers, with each having long and short versions you can choose from. When you're not on this screen, the game will still play different songs as you bounce around between menus, with no original music to be heard. Get Up and Dance is definitely more adult in nature in terms of the songs they've chosen and their accompanying music videos. The songs they've chosen span multiple decades with less than half being chart-topping music (including "Mr. Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan), while the majority are just very odd picks. With 30 songs in all, it's definitely a mixed bag.

    As far as dancing goes, the developers felt so confident about the game's structure that they claim players will be "dancing in seconds". After having played the included routines, I couldn't disagree more with that statement. Even if you've had much experience with the Just Dance games, you simply cannot just jump in and instantly know how to play. From the moment I stepped onto the stage, as it were, I was so thrown off guard with the pace of the routines. The cues usually aren't as helpful as they could be in preparing players for upcoming transitions, and more often than not, new patterns would get thrown in without any kind of warning. Sure you don't need to hold the player's hand all the way through, but it is so important in a game like this for the player to feel that the environment is welcoming and something they can get used to. Though the choreography seems varied and even skill-based at first glance, I found the way the routines were set up to be a bit of a turn-off.

Beyond just the inability to adapt coming in from another experience, there are hardly any beginner-focused routines to get you in the groove or allow you to take things easy up front. Players can make use of the Rehearse option where they can practice a specific portion of the routine, like the chorus or the ending. Oddly enough, you even have access to this option through what would otherwise be the Pause Menu.

    Having this feature does help slightly with the learning curve, but that in itself doesn't excuse the game for not establishing a progressive skill-building system from the get-go. Some of the slower songs appear easier to figure out, but it doesn't take long to realize that these just aren't worth playing because of the lack of enjoyment. You might make the argument that by definition, a slower song is automatically going to be inferior in terms of fun factor. However, I can point to specific examples in Just Dance and even the DanceDanceRevolution series that disprove that notion. One thing I loved about Just Dance 2 is how accessible it was; the setup really lent itself to a smooth learning curve. Here, I feel like the developers missed the mark. 

The game evaluates players using a simple grading scale with "Flawless" being the highest mark you can get. Like with most dancing games, if you get a succession of "Flawless" moves, you'll rack up a combo and earn even more points in the long run. In considering the control recognition and everything in between, I'm honestly not sure how to feel about the system as a whole. At first I thought that trying to cheat the system would not produce results, but when I started experimenting with different tactics for the sake of this review, I noticed there were times when I would get a "Flawless" score despite the fact that I didn't even execute the move exactly as shown.

    You may recall that around the time when Just Dance was introduced, there were complaints that dancing with one Wii Remote is an inferior method of play, and likely in response to that, O-Games has allowed players to dance using two Wii Remotes. They've tried to offset all of the above by having a strict point-gain system, especially when playing with only one controller where the potential for really high scores shrinks. While the prospect of doing so sounds appealing, the translation of how this all plays out feels off. And with the concern over the controls still ringing true regardless of how many controllers you use, Get Up and Dance's motion incorporation isn't exactly the greatest.

Once again, the routines admittedly seem quite varied at first, but when you get a good look at them (or once you start to make better sense of the overall pace), they're really not that strong. A considerable portion of the routines have lame segments to them, and to be fair, this is something that existed in Just Dance 2 as well with their approach to songs like "When I Grow Up". But the problem is, here it feels like you're raising an eyebrow much more frequently than you might have in Ubisoft's more polished title.

    Just as an example of that, the game's approach to Jessie J's song "Nobody's Perfect" was kind of slow, even boring at times -- a word I don't typically associate with games like this. With several arm folds being passed off as dancing (among other trivial "highlights"), this is just one of several examples that evidence just how much the game lacks energy in places. Worse yet, there are a few instances where routines in their entirety are just dull and boring (like with "I Only Want to Be With You" by Dusty Springfield).

    Continuing on that train of thought, I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You was just embarrassing. The whole time I felt like I had to imitate a sloppy routine by someone who had very little dance experience. The routine for "Achy Breaky Heart" wasn't a whole lot better either. Then again, I'm not sure why that song is even appearing in this game to begin with. There were some routines that were actually enjoyable, including the one for "Me, Myself & I" by De La Soul. And although the move switches took practice, the routine for "We Speak No Americano" wasn't bad either. But on the whole, the routines often feel underwhelming with lame moves and sometimes repetitive actions. 

When you think about it from a critical standpoint, it's actually quite interesting that these feelings even come up. With quicker, difficult-to-follow movements, you'd expect Get Up and Dance to be more varied in design and have stronger dancing mechanics. In practice, though, the lack of accessibility is simply compounded by occasionally repetitive gameplay. Boredom was something I very rarely experienced in other dance titles for the Wii, so moments where I found myself craving more satisfaction or adrenalin impacted my feelings toward the game, making me feel like I could get so much more out of what I've already been exposed to.

    On top of all this, I noticed a number of routines had cues that were off-beat, demonstrating the level of quality that exists in the game's structure. Also, while there were a couple unique actions, it was unsurprising for me to pick up on several dance moves that were also featured first in Just Dance 2. Interestingly, while my appreciation for Just Dance 2 grew tremendously in a rather short time frame, the exact opposite took place in my experience with Get Up and Dance. The more I played, the more I was drawn away from it, gradually forming a dislike towards nearly every part of the game. Even without the flaws that have already been discussed, there's hardly anything creative about the game and the overall lack of style or inviting visual flair to bring you in becomes almost damning in a sense.

In more ways than one, Get Up and Dance doesn't succeed at providing fans of dancing games with something sustainable that they can feel addicted to over an extended period of time, or even an alternative experience to supplement their game-powered workout program. Mixed song selection, weak routines, a lack of accessibility, and shaky fun factor ultimately make Get Up and Dance not worth purchasing.

16/30 - Below Average

Gameplay 5/10 - Controls aren't that great, dance routines fall into weak territory more often than not, overall pace and structure lack accessibility
Presentation 6/10 - Very mixed bag of songs with some really odd picks, lacks style and strong visual appeal to pull players in, cues could be more helpful
Enjoyment 2/5 - Underwhelming and dull at times, repetition does pop up, notable learning curve, a few fun routines don't make up for the majority
Extra Content 3/5 - Additional modes present for solo sessions and multiplayer, the minimal fun factor doesn't make players want to stick around

Equivalent to a score of 53% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Get Up and Dance
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