The TL;DR version:
This is the party version of the three dance titles out on the kinect, the two player mode is great and the solo career is nice and short. The setlist is also excellent and will not disappoint.
Game play its much simpler than the other two titles, if anything it feels closer to a wii game in looks and motor-skill-level but it works pretty well.
This will be my choice for achievement hunters and based on length and skill required.
The basic set up is there are four spots to dance on, you must move to the correct spot to dance on and perform the move which travels down each line (much like you would see in Guitar Hero/Rock band) as it gets to the “platform” you will either be rewarded with one of four grades: perfect and great are passes and almost and miss are not. String passes together to boost combos and earn more points to become an amateur, star or a pro rank on each song
I feel personally as someone who has ALOT of space dedicated to play kinect games in that this game demands even more room and most, it may just be the way I dance but playing two player we both felt very conscious of each other and the limited space to dance in.
The amount of moves within the game are rather limited and simple to catch on.
"Hard level setting" is not really a jump in the actions but more the speed and accuracy more than anything else, the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as the other two games. However if you are at the other end of the spectrum and are not a great dancer there is no “break it down mode” or teaching helpful tips its trial and error but even dancers as stiff as a board can make “great”
It works very well as a party game and for people who aren’t traditional dancers, the game is rather disjointed, the moves don't always go with the music and don't expect to become a better dancer for having played this game.
Some of the menu user interfaces could do with a little more polish and finesse but its not the worse interface i’ve come across on kinect by a long shot.
Graphics, Sound and Camera/Control:
The graphics are cartoony and looks geared to a younger audience, music video right from the song playing on a screen in the background... it has your xbox avatar within gameplay and picking up the game it was a little challenging figuring out what the game wanted you to do based upon the simple blocky icons coming down the dance path, however taking a hint from your avatar helps.
The sound is censored G-rated tracks (starting with the word whiskey getting bleeped out)... right from the song most start midway or end half way so they are short but very enjoyable despite this fact.
There is a mode called “video box” where you can sit back and just enjoy the music with the music video running within a boarder (to remind you are not just watching music videos?) this is a nice touch as you own the music so why not get to enjoy it without having to play the game.
The loading time is pretty atrocious but I recommending installing all kinect games to your hard drive anyway just as a safety component especially if your not on concrete floors and/or your xbox is on the ground.
The solo career is rather short compared to the other two dance games out at present, so while you won’t get a whole lot of solo play out of it (twice though once on easy and once on hard) but the co-op party aspect may get you putting in this game after you’ve collected all the achievements
It would be fun to break out with friends/family who don’t even game and just want to try out the kinect, the interface is easy enough for non gamers to pick up and the competitive/co-op aspect is great to share too.
However being that there is no online multiplayer this is quite a letdown not even the leaderboards are “live” this would take away from my replay value.
Here is the juicy stuff that you’ve come for, my personal experience (and your mileage may vary based on skill and a willing second warm body) this was the easiest of the three dance games to earn any gamerscore... its still no cakewalk to complete but none of the (real) kinect games are (here’s looking at your Harry Potter) I had net myself a juicy 330 GS in my first session (200+ within the first two songs after the tutorial) and I already laid good tracks in to the solo career and tried a handful of songs on hard just for this review.
It is very hard to put estimated time to 1000/1000 on these kind of games as skill plays a huge part, even if you’re a goofy dancer 500gs is easily up for grabs if you have a second player and 4-6 hrs.... with enough time I think even a gumby uncoordinated person may be able to pick up enough of what the game expects that they can complete to 800gs. I would say that for a person with a reasonable range of motion and rhythm that this game can be easily completed in less than 15 hours (alas having a second capable person is required)
There are two local co-op achievements where a completionist might rage, you will need a second person with good dance ability and for some reason even if you are both excellent dancers the kinect has a bit of a fritz when there are two people dancing in a smallish space.
You will need to basically both need to perfect/great every move.
If the three current titles are Goldilocks bears then this is the baby bear version of dance kinect games for me as a achievement collector where Dance evolution/masters is a little too hard(core) and the Dance Central is soft because it requires alot of time and a fair amount of memory skill coupled with alot of hand holding.
for those who actually want to get good at dancing I would say this is not the game your after (go see dance central) and for anyone who wants a real challenge as a moderately good dancer and you want more of a longer game (go see dance master/evolution) this is also not for you.... but if you want something you can throw in and get your friends around to have a good time or just want the gamerscore pure and simple then you’ve got a fantastic purchase at under £25.99 and good addition to anyone’s kinect experience....
PS UPDATE: this is now available for both ntsc and pal systems and it is stackable! the disks are region locked so you will need to have both systems if you want to earn 2000/2000