UK REVIEW--There are some things in life that just aren't meant to be combined. Take toasters, for instance. They may make delicious toast, yes, but trying to make some while enjoying a relaxing dip in the tub, not so much. We Dance makes a similarly misjudged combination with its controls, combining motion tracking with an old-school dance mat. The result is a painfully difficult experience that only the most proficient multitasker is likely to master. Even if you choose to forgo the dance mat entirely--instead playing with just a Wii Remote--the routines are less than inspired, with dull choreography and stilted avatars. A hearty selection of tracks means there's a lot to dance to, but without fun, accessible routines to back it up, there's little reason to take it for an audition.
Playing We Dance requires a little more setup than your average dance game, making use of an eight-way dance mat that plugs into one of the Wii's GameCube ports. The mat is optional, but if you don't use it, then you miss out on a lot of the game's content. That's because We Dance is divided into three difficulty levels: easy, which tracks only hand gestures; medium, which tracks just the dance mat; and hard, which tracks both. To play on easy, you simply hold the Wii Remote in your right hand and replicate the actions of a virtual dancer. You're awarded points based on movements tracked by the Wii Remote, with a total displayed at the end of each song. The game isn't great at recognizing your movements, though, so even if you just stand there and wave your arms around, more often than not, you're given perfect ratings.
When you increase the difficulty to medium, you're scored purely on the movements of your feet. Eight boxes are displayed in the bottom corner of the screen, corresponding to the eight pads on the dance mat. Coloured icons fall onto them, letting you know which foot to place on which pad at the right time. This is similar to the setup in Dance Dance Revolution, but having eight pads rather than four makes it more difficult. The dances are also intended to be more natural than those in DDR, so an onscreen dancer is displayed in the box performing the movements. Trying to follow the natural movements of the dance while trying to stomp on the correct pad can be very difficult. Often, what the onscreen dancer is doing doesn't appear to match up with the pad directions, which makes for a frustrating experience.
This is exacerbated when playing on hard, which combines the mat and the motion sensors. Trying to follow hand gestures while trying to press the correct pad with your feet is incredibly difficult, making it tricky to rack up points. There is an included Dance School mode, which provides lessons on each routine, but its confusing instructions make matters worse. In Dance School, each individual movement of your feet is laid out in sequence, with arrows indicating which foot should be moving to which pad. Completing the movement correctly advances the tutorial to the next move. However, interim steps are often left out, and the pad doesn't always track your movements correctly, turning what should be dance instruction into a convoluted game of Twister. Whether you score points or not, though, it's impossible to fail out of a song.
That wouldn't matter as much if the game were fun, but sadly, the dull choreography leaves a lot to be desired. The routines lack Just Dance's over-the-top silliness or Dance Central's technical prowess and consist of boring movements that do little to inspire. The way dances are displayed doesn't help much either, with stilted and animated avatars failing to convey movements in a natural way. You can get together with some friends for some four-player action, but the routines aren't geared toward multiple players, so you'll often trip up over each other's feet. At least, you have some good tracks to listen to while you do so. There are 40 in total--mostly in the pop genre--ranging from such older songs as B-52's "Love Shack" and Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" to such modern hits as Pendulum's "Slam" and OK Go's "Here It Goes Again." The music video for each song is also played in the background, so non-dancing observers have something to watch other than your gyrating hips.
Likewise, if you just want to kick back and watch some music videos, you can do so in Dance TV mode. However, music videos are only played in a tiny window surrounded by garish speaker walls, which is strange and irritating. The gaudy touches extend to the rest of the visuals too, with stark white backgrounds playing host to exceedingly bright neon colours that clearly ape the style of Just Dance--albeit without its subtlety. Aside from the standard dance mode, there are party games on offer, which take the form of dancing minigames. Sadly, these aren't much fun, requiring you to simply jump or pose at specific moments in the music. More disappointment comes in the form of the game's download store, which is currently empty, but more tracks are promised in the near future.
With all of its failings, We Dance is difficult to recommend, particularly when the likes of Just Dance or Michael Jackson: The Experience are a lot more fun to play, especially with friends. Its boring routines negate any enjoyment you'd get out of playing on easy, while the awkward marriage of motion controls and dance mat makes the game far too difficult to grasp on hard. You might work yourself up a sweat, but it'll be out of frustration rather than enjoyment.