Dance on Broadway Review

Good songs can't save this poor attempt at a rhythm party game from being a dull and repetitive experience.

If ever there was a game that's a blatant cash-in on a successful franchise, Dance on Broadway is it. With just a single game mode, no way to download new songs, and low-rent visuals, its content is even sparser than that of its progenitor Just Dance. And with its boring choreography and difficult-to-follow dance instructions, it manages to be a lot less fun too. That's not to mention the complete lack of rewards for your performances or the erratic motion controls, which fail to consistently register your movements. While the quality of the show tunes on offer is of a high standard, the game's many flaws don't allow them to shine, making for a dull and often frustrating experience.

There is a single game mode available in Dance on Broadway, which is the equivalent of the Quickplay mode in other rhythm games. You pick a song from a selection of 20 Broadway hits--which are all unlocked from the start--hold the Wii Remote in your right hand, and then dance along with the onscreen dancers. Up to four players can dance at once, each competing for points, which are awarded based on movements tracked by the Wii Remote. Each move is scored as bad, OK, or great, and at the end of each song, you're given an overall score and can see how it compares to the scores of your friends. If you're bad, you don't have to worry about failing; you just carry on with a low score.

Rather than having all players follow a single dancer, players have to keep track of four dancers. Each of them is colour coded and corresponds to matching dance commands that scroll along the bottom of the screen. These are intended to help you anticipate what moves are coming up and highlight which character is about to perform them. However, they're more confusing than helpful because of their vague instructions, which often don't match up with what your character is doing. It's much easier to simply follow the dancer, though this, too, is not without its problems. Unlike the stylised video footage used for routines in Just Dance, Dance on Broadway uses 3D animated models. This means the routines take on a slightly robotic look, making them stiff and less fun to play along with--even with friends. This is exacerbated by the boring choreography, which lacks the outlandish and often embarrassing moves that made Just Dance fun.

The blocky dancers are often difficult to follow.
The blocky dancers are often difficult to follow.

No matter how well you try to follow the routines, your moves are tracked with very little accuracy. Even the most gracious dancers will have trouble scoring highly, which is made all the more frustrating by the fact that randomly flailing the Wii Remote in the air will often net you more points. At least it won't affect your progress; you can't fail, and there isn't even a Career mode. There are no rewards or unlockables for performing well, making Dance on Broadway a complete bore for solo players.

The one saving grace is the track selection, which spans many Broadway hits. Highlights include older songs such as "Cabaret," "Luck Be a Lady," and "All That Jazz," while more recent hits include "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "Good Morning Baltimore." Though they aren't the original songs from the films or musicals, the included cover versions are well produced, with singers that sound very similar to the original artists. The visuals once again let the game down, though, with badly rendered backgrounds, ugly song artwork, and pixelated score bars and menus. The 3D models used for the dancers are very blocky, with stage backgrounds suffering from low-resolution textures and jaggy lines.

Life is a cabaret old chum; except when you're playing Dance on Broadway.
Life is a cabaret old chum; except when you're playing Dance on Broadway.

Even taken as a party game, Dance on Broadway fails to be any fun. The mediocre choreography, poorly animated dancers, and terrible motion tracking make playing with friends a dull and repetitive experience. The lack of a simple Career mode or rewards also means there isn't any incentive to keep dancing in single-player, and with no way to download new songs, you'll quickly tire of the game's repertoire. Despite the well-produced music, even the biggest fans of Broadway show tunes will find it difficult to overlook its many flaws. No matter how much you feel like acting out your dreams of Broadway stardom, it's best to simply let Dance on Broadway die a box-office death.

The Good

  • Good song selection

The Bad

  • Badly animated dancers
  • Motion controls fail to register correctly
  • Boring choreography
  • Lack of objectives and rewards in single-player
  • No way to download new tracks

About the Author

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.