[Review] Dance Central Spotlight

Posted by | September 15, 2014 | Reviews | 2 Comments

One of the biggest concerns voiced about video games is that they’re making kids fat. Critics of games bemoan the hours spent sitting on a couch in front of the TV. As a reaction to this, the motion-gaming movement was born. It started with the Wii and continued with Xbox 360’s Kinect and the PlayStation Move. Now it’s pretty easy to find a game that encourages movement as well as fun, but I don’t believe any of these games has as much potential for such a low price as Dance Central Spotlight, which was recently released for the Xbox One.

What Is Dance Central Spotlight?

Dance Central Spotlight is an extension of the three Dance Central games that appeared on the Xbox 360. Available exclusively for Xbox One, it uses the Kinect motion sensor to track your entire body and scores you based on how well you can execute specific dance moves. All of the dance moves are designed by professional choreographers, so they feel more “real” than games like Just Dance. Two players can dance at the same time, and you can select from a variety of characters to be your onscreen avatar. That character gives you guidance on how the moves should be performed.

Dance Central Spotlight is different from the previous games in that it only comes with 10 songs. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather than spending $60 for an extensive list of songs you may or may not like, here you spend $10 for the base 10 songs and can purchase others as downloadable content (DLC) for $1.99 each. This gives you the opportunity to build out the game with music you really like and want to listen to. In addition, there are some songs that were available for download with the previous Dance Central games, and if you happened to have already downloaded one of these songs, you can re-download it it into Dance Central Spotlight for free. Harmonix, the game’s developer, plans to make more of these songs available for Dance Central Spotlight over time.

Get Creative

Each song has eight different dance routines attached to it. At first, only the “Beginner” routine is available. As you play, you “collect” different dance moves by performing them well. Once you’ve collected all the moves for a specific routine, that routine becomes playable. Besides different difficulties, the additional routines represent different dance styles, such as “happy,” “sweet,” or “fierce,” as well as exercise-focused routines built specifically for cardio or strength training. While these other routines may feature some of the same moves as the basic routines, they’re are completely different ways to dance the song, which is something that has never been done in the previous games beyond amping up the difficulty of the moves.

Besides the freeform ability to dance through a single routine, Dance Central Spotlight also features a fitness mode that provides you with a preselected set of songs and routines based on how long you’d like to exercise and if you’d like to focus more on cardio or strength training. After you enter some basic stats about yourself, such as height, weight, and age, the game will keep a running tally of how many calories you’re burning based  on how well you’re executing the moves.

Objectionable Content

Dance Central Spotlight is rated “T for Teen” by the ESRB with a descriptor for “Mild Lyrics.” Some of the core songs feature suggestive lyrics and references to alcohol, but if there are any expletives included in the songs, the game will mute them. Some of the dance moves may also be considered objectionable, as they involve thrusting and rolling the hips in a slightly suggestive manner.

The Takeaway

Dance Central Spotlight packs in a lot of value for its $10 price tag, and since more songs are going to be added as optional DLC in the future, it could have pretty long legs as a game. It’s also a super fun and easy way to get your kids or yourself up off the couch and getting some exercise.

Nicole Tanner

About Nicole Tanner

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.