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The Smurfs Dance Party

Score: 58%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Land Ho!
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Rhythm/ Party

Graphics & Sound:

The Smurfs have been on TV since my childhood and finally, they've been updated and brought back to the big screen. To celebrate, there is also The Smurfs Dance Party for the Wii available for Papa Smurf to tell you the story of the Smurfs.

Since Papa Smurf is telling the story of the movie, you would hope that you get to see actual movie clips, and you do. I think it's really nice to coordinate the two so well as it gets you in the mood to go watch the Smurf's movie after you finish playing. Plus, if you haven't yet seen The Smurfs, you will get to learn more about the movie before you go see it. The cut scenes of the story are clips from the movie. The quality of the scenes is quite good. You also get Gargamel as one of the dancing characters and he really creeps me out. He makes a really good Gargamel, for sure. It would have been amusing if he had Azarel dancing with him though! There are also several of the smurfs as your dancers including Clumsy, Papa Smurf, and Smurfette.

The music selection is very important in a rhythm game. There are 23 songs available to play. You'll recognize a lot of them as hits throughout the years, like "Walk This Way" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." Fair warning though, the lyrics aren't exactly as you remember them. "Who Let the Dogs Out" is now "Who Let the Smurfs Out" and other words have been changed accordingly. For some reason, "Walk This Way" just seems really dirty when you change the words to be "Smurf This Way"!


Gameplay:

In The Smurfs movie, the smurf gang ends up in New York City and they have to find their way back home. Making it even harder is the fact that Gargamel is there with them. They find some help from the Winslows. Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) take care of the smurfs and do their best to help them find their way back home. In the Story Mode from the Main Menu of The Smurfs Dance Party, you will get to see this broken down into 8 chapters, with a song for each chapter. The song will focus on one or more of The Smurfs characters, so they will be your dancers on the screen. The game will autosave for you after you complete each chapter, so if you don't want to play all 8 at once, you can return to the Main Menu at any time.

Also on the Main Menu is the option to Dance. Here you can choose to play whatever songs you want one at a time. This is a very good place to put kids if they're wanting to just choose what they want to do each time. This is where you can also choose to play as a team with another player or you can choose to play "Freeze & Shake Mode" in which you'll need to pay close attention to the different icons. If you want to keep going without a break between each song though, then you want to choose Playlists. Playlists let you play through a specific set of songs. 7 characters have their own lists with different numbers of songs that pertain to them and you can create your own lists with up to 10 songs. You have four "create your own lists" at a time. You can also just play on random which will randomly select 10 songs for you to play. Playlists will keep you playing more as you just feel the need to finish out the playlist, so you end up playing more songs.

Finally, there is a link called Parents from the Menu. The Parents section lets you view your progress, awards, and more. The game even keeps track of how many calories burned but since it never asks for your weight, I can't imagine that it is a very accurate count. I'm guessing that they just picked a generic weight for a child? I'm also really not sure why the awards would be in the "Parents" section. I would think that kids would want easy access to see the awards they've earned.


Difficulty:

The word "difficulty" really has no meaning in The Smurfs Dance Party. Since it is obviously meant for children, I'm guessing they didn't want to ruin a child's self-esteem with any failure. The most you can do to fail is to miss a step, but even then, you aren't punished for it. You can actually set the controller down, score 0 points for the song, and yet you will still complete it. I guess that this is good for a game meant for kids because the real purpose is to just keep them playing! There is the Smurfometer on the left side of your character that you want to get up as high as you can, but it's really not hard to get it to the top.

Earning the trophies is not extraordinarily difficult either. Most of them are just a matter of playing the game over and over and over until you get there. Probably the hardest is Perfect Dancer (which will earn you a Grouchy Figurine), simply because that requires you to not get a single miss on a song and it's not always easy to miss nothing. Master Dancer (which will earn you a Smurfette figurine) will take a bit of time as it requires you to max out the Smurfometer for every single song and that might take you a few play-throughs.


Game Mechanics:

The Smurfs Dance Party is a very easy game to play. It only requires one Wii-mote per player. You simply hold the Wii-mote in your right hand and follow the dancer in the middle. They will be moving both hands and feet, of course, but you only keep the Wii-mote in that same hand. There is no need to move it between hands or put it in your pocket or anything like that. There is a bar on the bottom of the screen that scrolls from left to right. It shows you what moves are coming up next so that you will be prepared to switch between moves without missing a step.

The Smurfs Dance Party is a decent game, but really only for children. Adults will find that the characters are too childish and that you miss out on any sort of challenge. It is a good game to get used to dance games, but being that you only have one Wii-mote, it's not extraordinarily accurate. I found that on some songs, you could refrain from even touching the controller and it would still register some steps correctly. If you're looking for something that will give your kid some exercise and they're addicted to The Smurfs, then this is the game for you.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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