Developer: Konami
Price: $0.99 (SALE), regular $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1.5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★½☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0181You don’t have to be good at DDR to love it! Konami ported the fantastic music game to the iPhone a while back, and their recent sale prompted me to see how well it translated to the portable platform. While fancy footwork and dance mats aren’t included in DanceDanceRevolution S, the game works great with tap-based controls. The songs are fun and it’s the same awesome game as ever, but a limited track list combined with some truly awful integration decisions keeps it from being an instant-buy.

If you’re familiar with DDR, playing this version will be a no-brainer. Arrows fly out from the bottom of the screen; the targets (“Step Zones”) are at the top. Your dance mat is replaced with a set of outlined arrows near the bottom. Tap on the “mat” when the arrows reach the Step Zone. The controls work surprisingly well—my fingers don’t obscure too much of the screen, and everything is responsive.

The song list and characters will also be familiar, though the content was clearly trimmed to keep the app running on the mobile platform. There are supposedly twenty songs in all, though many must be unlocked. I really wish that there were more; twenty songs just feels weak in comparison to DDR on other platforms. Even with the shorter song list, there’s no doubt about it: this is DDR. The transition to the iPhone was handled wonderfully, and the game is just as fun as ever; the songs are the upbeat tunes that fans are accustomed to.

For the record: I definitely appreciate the fact that one of the starting female characters is named Bonnie. I’m famous!

This edition of DDR comes with Standard mode (i.e., one track at a time), Course Mode, Practice Mode, and Shake Mode. Course Mode should be familiar; you’re given a list of tracks to complete, and you can’t fail. Practice Mode is for, well, practicing. Shake Mode, though…Shake Mode is baffling. It only has one song, which is more demo than anything else (it’s labeled as a lesson!). And yet, it’s been a while since the app was released…where’s the rest of the content, Konami?

IMG_0196Now for my biggest gripe: iPhone integration. DDR is stable, but it has some major problems. Hit the “home” button by accident mid-song? Sorry, but you’re back at the title screen when you relaunch the app. Get a push notification? Back to the title screen. Hit the power button and lock the screen? Hey, look, it’s the title screen again! Not including a pause feature on a mobile platform is incredibly shortsighted. There isn’t even a manual pause button while you’re playing a song. It’s incredibly annoying to be stopped mid-song by a power level warning, and if you pick a song by accident, you have to play through it; there’s no going back!

Other iPhone game mainstays are also missing. There’s no multiplayer, no online leaderboards, no challenging other iPhone users. Really, Konami, throw us a bone! Sadly, if the app’s history is any indicator, we won’t be seeing frequent updates on this one.

And yet…and yet…

And yet, it’s easy to forgive these missing features, because it’s DDR. Even though the tracklist could use some expansion, the music has the same catchy quality, and the game is addicting and fun. I’d even venture to say that DanceDanceRevolution S is better than the current king of iPhone music games, Tap Tap Revenge—I get sucked in more easily, and somehow I just have more fun with DDR.

If you think that you can put up with the lack of pause or auto-save, and you can bear the price, DanceDanceRevolution S is a must-have for DDR fans and rhythm/music game fans in general. Grab it while the 99-cent sale lasts!

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