DancePad Review

Our Review by Kevin Stout on July 9th, 2012
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: GROOVY
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DancePad may be big rhythm game for a mobile platform.

Developer: Moonshark
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad (third-generation)

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Rhythm-based games have a decent-sized fan base. And after the rise of Guitar Hero, the genre may have recently reached its peak. It's a genre that I don't believe has seen an innovative solution on iOS. The Tap Tap Revenge titles were popular, but they are basically Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) and Guitar Hero but insanely easier when it came to input. DancePad gives players a DDR feel without taking all of its inspiration from the arcade/console classic.

What sets apart DancePad is that players aren't just tapping "notes" or "steps" as the fall from the top of the screen. The game basically turns the iPad into a dance floor. Steps to each song show up all over the dance floor (making the player actually "move") with shrinking circles to indicate the rhythm of the song and when the steps should be taken. There are a few types of steps: the basic step, the hold, and the slide step (I made up the names). Players just tap basic steps on the correct beat, tap and hold the hold steps until their timers disappear, and slide along the dotted line for the slide steps. For the sliding steps, a ghost icon slides along the path the user should slide over to indicate the speed the slide should occur.

This is definitely the best rhythm game I've seen on the App Store, but the game isn't without flaws. I like quite a bit of the music but unfortunately, players never get a full song and none of them are challenging. The game assumes its players are casual gamers, that they want a watered down, shorter look-alike of their favorite console and computer games that can be played in the short time they're standing in line at the bank. There's definitely room for those types of time-waster games in the App Store. But when a game presents itself as a full-featured game in a genre with fans amassing hundreds of hours of playtime, don't insult us with thirty second songs. We've all seen the DDR showoffs at arcades and the local guy we hear whispers about five starring all songs on Expert in Guitar Hero. We need a comparable, hardcore rhythm game on iOS and DancePad has the potential to be that game, but song length and difficulty are two things it needs to iron out.

My gripes about the difficulty and song length may not be a huge deal to casual players. But I think this game has potential that can be mined for casual and hardcore players alike. Bottom line, though, DancePad is definitely worth picking up. It's free, has plenty of free songs, and the extra songs available for download are on sale for $0.99.

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