As a lover of dance games for the Kinect and mainstream Hip Hop music, I was super excited to try out The Hip Hop Dance Experience. Assuming that it would be more fun with another player I recruited my sister and set a date – we were ready to dance. What I quickly discovered is Hip Hop dancing is truly difficult and that high level of difficultly can suck the fun out of a game.
The controls and menu for this game were easy enough to get around and the game clearly indicates the difficulty level for each song on the opening screen. Once a song is chosen, the player just jumps right in – the tutorial for each move is a different option and not necessarily tied to the song of your choice. These moves were challenging, especially with the lack of tutorial. The game presents players with two views of each move – there is a dancer facing you and one that you seem to be behind. These multiple view was slightly distracting but not enough to blame our poor performance on it.
The game has several modes that we explored the single player dance, battle dance, and the practice mode. The battle dance and single player modes are largely the same because players just follow the dancer on the screen as closely as possible. This was fun enough but the moves are so difficult and the dance goes so quickly it was hard to follow along. Also, the game does not have any indicators for the moves so you don’t know when the moves will change. The difference between battle and regular mode is that you dance side by side – otherwise it is the same single player. The practice mode allows players to pick a single move and work on it until they get it perfect. This seems like a great idea, except the practice is not ties to any particular song so you don’t know if you are practicing moves for the songs you like – making it seem like a waste of time.
After several epic failures on the part of the adults in the house I had my daughter – who happens to dance competitively in Hip Hop – come try this game. She did better than I did (huge surprise) but she still thought it was hard because of the lack of relevant practice. We did not even attempt to have the younger kids play, they would have been frustrated quickly.
The graphics and song choices were good.; there was wide variety of music available including popular radio mixes and traditional Hip Hop songs. And if you are a skilled dancer, I think you would truly enjoy this game. However, as a fun game for a family of limited talent I would recommend that you stick Dance Central or Just Dance.