Published by Sony Computer
Developed by SCEE London Studio
Every so often we are given the opportunity to take a look at a game that's not really a title that you would consider as being applicable for deaf gamers. As in all previous instances like this we are simply taking a look at the game in order to see how accessible it is. By its very nature, DanceStar Party isn't a game that's intended for a deaf audience but many people like to dance irrespective of whether they can hear or not so a look at the game is certainly worth it.
DanceStar Party offers a variety of single and multiplayer modes that cater for up to twenty players. There are beginner, intermediate and professional difficulty dance routines for each of the forty included songs. If that weren't enough for you, you can even create and record your own routines. Each song can either be played for its full length or you can opt for a shortened version. Whilst it has no bearing on the game as far as we're concerned, it's worth mentioning that there's a good mix of old and new songs here which can only serve to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. You can also purchase more songs from the online store.
During any given dance you'll see a person carrying out the dance in the middle of the screen and on the right side of the screen, as you look at it, you'll see illustrations showing you what actions to carry out. At times I found these illustrations a little confusing but this isn't really a problem because as you can look at the dancer and simply copy their movements. You are given text feedback on your performance and a numerical score is kept at the top of the screen. All of the songs are subtitled. DanceStar Party also includes the option to sing. This option is disabled by default however and is something that can simply be ignored. When you've completed your dance you're give the results and the opportunity to upload the video highlights to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. You can also upload the various snapshots that the game has taken of you during your performance if you wish.
During a dance you'll hold the PlayStation Move controller in your hand and with the aid of the PlayStation Eye camera the game is able to keep a track of your movements. Obviously it's only possible for the game to truly track the movement of the hand that's holding the Move controller and this doesn't allow the game to analyse all of your body movements. However, as long as you don't go out of your way to try and fool the game, by only moving the arm that's holding the controller, it does seem to be fairly accurate in recognising your actions.
The game also allows you to keep track of the calories you're burning in Workout mode. You'll pick songs which have been grouped in collections ranging from a sedate to an energetic pace, and dance to them whilst burning calories in the process. Whilst it's great that there's a mode that allows you to monitor the calories you've burned, I don't think it really needed a separate mode to show you how many calories you've burned. The option to have displayed the information in all of the game's modes would have been preferable.
As we said at the top of the review, this isn't a game that can be fairly reviewed by deaf gamers as audio plays a big role here by the very nature of the game. That said, from my time with the game I haven't experienced anything that prevents deaf gamers from playing the game. The game's presentation is absolutely fine with all of the important feedback being given visually. On the whole DanceStar Party is a solid dancing game which, obvious problems aside, can be enjoyed by deaf gamers who just want to have a dance.