Nickelodeon Dance 2 (Wii and Kinect)
Hey kids, are you ready to dance? Well, Dora the Explorer, Go Go Diego, and eighteen other current Nickelodeon characters are -- and they want you to join them.
The sequel to last year's Nickelodeon Dance, Nickelodeon Dance 2 from High Voltage Software and 2K Play, brings not only twenty Nick characters, but also a collection of 30 tracks to which kids can shake a tail feather. The track list is comprised of a kid-friendly mix of original songs from popular Nickelodeon kid shows like 'The Backyardigans' and 'Go! Go! Diego!''. It also contains covers of familiar licensed songs like 'La Bamba' and a bastardized iteration of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. In all honesty, the song selection isn't half-bad, considering for whom this game was made. Sure, adults will be rolling they eyes whenever one of the Nick tunes play.
The game claims to give players a fairly diverse offering of play modes, including quick play, dance, workout, and freeze. Largely, these different play modes aren't much different at all. Quickplay and dance seem redundant; and workout has all of the same tracks the others have, though the dance moves are more workout-like. The final play mode, freeze, does offer something legitimate that the others don't: the freeze mechanic (think "Red Light, Green Light"). Adults will likely find it annoying, but kids will probably love it.
Actual gameplay, however, is where things fall a little apart. Nickelodeon Dance 2 does do a fairly good job at introducing new and young players to how the game works through a tutorial that covers everything from how the menu operates to how to dance the Nickelodeon Dance way. For those who have seen or played any of Ubisoft's Just Dance games, things will seem rather familiar as the game follows the monkey-see-monkey-do method. Across the bottom of the screen is a series of icons that tell the player what kind of dance move is next. Unfortunately, the icons use dark pink arrows against a purple background -- a color combination that makes it almost impossible to read and understand the directions.
For better or for worse, this game is very forgiving in its grading of the player's dancing; which it tracks via the Wii Remote in the player's right hand. Each maneuver the player mirrors from the on-screen dancers and instructions are scored, filling up a three-star meter on the side of the screen. At the end of the song, Nickelodeon Dance 2 assigns the player a score based on the number of stars filled during the track. It's a simple scoring mechanic that even some of the youngest players should be able to comprehend, but the game is so generous with its stars that three stars seems to be achievable with all but the most minimal of efforts.
Simple yet entertaining (for children, that is), Nickelodeon Dance 2 does an acceptably good job of what its developers set out for it to do. Those too young for higher-end dancing video games like Just Dance or Dance Central are probably the perfect ones to put on the moves to this title, though anybody over the age of 15 is likely to want to throw the television on mute after about ten minutes of listening to the game's music.
Final Game Guys grade: C+
(2K Play provided a Wii copy of this game for review.)