On our extreme journey of revolutionary dance, we've experienced countless mixes (and a few ultramixes), seen a supernova or two, and explored the rhythmic universe. After all of that physical movement, can we really be bothered to stop by a party?
Consider Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party a singles mixer, with DDR newbies swapped in for unattached attendees. With its streamlined interface and lack of extensive options, Hottest Party seems targeted at those gamers who missed the first several dozen iterations of the decade-old arcade hit.
Focusing on a fresh audience allows Konami to introduce new gameplay elements that might otherwise annoy jaded series veterans - namely the addition of motion controls. While moving your feet, the left and right arrows typically executed via the dance pad may be substituted for quick or extended hand-based shakes of the Wii Remote and its Nunchuk attachment. Timing these shakes can be tricky on the higher difficulties, but they're otherwise a fine addition to the experience.
More than half of the 50 included songs are covers of well-known pop, rock, and R&B hits from the last 40 years. While some cover tracks hew closely to the original versions ("Caught Up," "1, 2 Step"), others are sped-up and "dancified" ("Lips of an Angel," "Clocks") with mixed results. Without master tracks, Hottest Party skips out on video backgrounds, instead employing only the floating platforms and vibrant, Tron-like settings seen in recent series entries. In place of a singular, gyrating avatar is troupe of synchronized dancers performing the specific routine tied to each track.
The simplistic Groove Circuit mode, which holds the key to the rest of the soundtrack (primarily Konami originals), is a welcome upgrade from the inconsistent Quest mode included in DDR Universe for Xbox 360. However, it takes only a few hours to unlock all but one of the songs, which is part of what holds Hottest Party back from rhythm gaming transcendence. The inclusion of Workout mode and a couple of new four-player gametypes can't make up for the lack of online play and downloadable content, while the gimped soundtrack (most recent iterations packed 70+ tracks) grants the game considerably less replay value.
With its ability to attract new gamers, the Wii is a perfect home for Hottest Party, which may be the most mainstream-friendly series entry in years. Fanatics may find more to like in DDR Supernova 2 for PlayStation 2, but there's no shame in showing up late to this bash.