Let me preface this review with the fact that I am NOT a gamer. I have no idea how to use a controller with more than an A and B button, and I have almost no desire to learn. This is probably why I really enjoy the Kinect; I never have to touch a controller I can just move a around and the machine does what I want – most of the time. While I have played a variety of Kinect games with my kids I enjoy the dancing games the most. Mostly because they are easy enough for me to master and it is fun to dance around like fool with my family and friends. This brings me to the latest dance release: Country Dance All Stars.
This game was a lot of fun to play; with a variety of country hits from traditional to current popular songs there is something for everyone who enjoy country music in the slightest. Additionally, the game includes the lyrics at the bottom of the screen karaoke style, allowing for additional fun for those who enjoy sing-a-longs (The Honkytonk Badonkadonk had us in stitches). The dance moves also range from simple to complex allowing for a even the least talented dancers to have a moderate degree of success. While the game was entertaining and I had an excellent time dancing around the living room, the graphics and ease of use leave something to be desired.
When you begin playing the game it jumps right into the song menu and you can immediately begin playing, you have to access a separate menu to practice the moves included in each dance. While this seems like it might be fun it is actually a bit frustrating; having to go to a separate menu to get practice moves encourages you to skip that part so the first go round of every song is a disaster. Other dance titles have practice built into the game play and that set-up makes for much more fluid play. There is traditional dance mode and a freeze dance mode which is interesting; the player dances along until the freeze icon appears then you need to be still or the game will deduct points from you score. We could not figure out how to master this mode but it did add an element of variety to the game.
In addition to the weird set up the controls and background graphics also present some problems. To operate the menu you have to grab an imaginary dot and move your arm up and down which as a little confusing for my children. Also once you begin operating the menu screen you cannot switch out players because it will not read the new players – imagine trying to walk a four-year old through the menu screen so she can play when she cannot read, it was frustrating to say the least. Then there are the graphics, which are distracting, at best and downright irritating at worst. It is difficult to describe but the patterns on the clothes the dancers are wearing appear to be stationary with the outline of the dancers moving across them – it is very tough on the eyes. However, these complaints aside I would recommend this game to country music fans. If you are looking for a party game to share with friends for a fun night in, Country Dance All Stars will do the trick – if you can master the controls and get past the strange graphics.
- Excellent song list
- Family friendly fun
- Karaoke sing-along
- Cumbersome interface issues
- Practice modes are tiresome to access
- Awkward graphical choices
3 / 5