From Konami, the creator of the original "DanceDanceRevolution" or "DDR" style of game play, DanceDanceRevolution: Disney Grooves is a good entry point for kids or kids at heart who have never tried DDR.
To those new to the genre, DDR is a musical rhythm game that is played by moving your feet on a special dance mat controller. The goal is to step on arrows on the mat that correspond to arrows shown on the screen. In "Disney Grooves," in addition to matching arrows with your feet, you can also wave the Wii remote and the Nunchuk at certain times as indicated by on-screen prompts. "Disney Grooves" comes bundled with two dance mats, and can handle up to four players at a time, making it a great social game.
With Disney Grooves, Konami has crafted a DDR game that will appeal to kids. It features Disney characters that kids love including Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto. Kids can choose to have Mickey or one of his friends as their on-screen avatar. They can also use their own Mii (avatars created on the Wii system) and then dress them up in Disney classic costumes, including Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" or Grumpy from "Snow White." There are 60 different outfits, many of which are unlocked by playing the game.
Unlike other versions of DDR, where the song lyrics are edgy, this version features 40 classic Disney songs that are all squeaky clean. Kids can groove to "It's a Small World," "Circle of Life," "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," and "A Spoonful of Sugar" to name a few.
The game can be played in three modes: Groove, FreePlay, and Workout. In the Groove mode, you take requests from a make-believe audience. A request may be to dance through two songs at a certain venue. By completing requests, you unlock new venues, characters, and costumes. In FreePlay mode, you can explore songs on your own or choose to have a dance-off with Mickey or other cartoon favorites. You can also explore this mode with others in a cooperative or competitive manner. In the Workout mode, you can set goals to reach, such as the number of calories burned.
Another fun feature is an area called My Studio, where you can dress up your avatar and then take in-game "photos" of your avatar dancing with Mickey and his friends.
This game would make a good addition to a family's library of Wii games because it is fun and it gets kids up and moving. With wholesome songs and several modes of play for both single and multiplayer, this game has much to like. Plus kids can personalize the way they play from what their avatar looks like to which venue they want to dance in. And with six levels of difficulty, kids as young as age six can learn DDR, while their older siblings can also find a challenge on the higher difficulty levels.
But the game is not perfect. Unfortunately, the hand movements are difficult to make register as earning points during the songs. This inconsistency in registering movement can be frustrating because it affects your scoring on a specific song; and if you are playing in a competitive mode, it can make you lose. We did find that exaggerating the arm motions helped. Better yet, you can turn off these hand movements by clicking on the "Options" menu when selecting a song, and then turning off "Hand Markers." Look for this option if you find you are getting frustrated.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.