TGS Hands (and feet)-on impressions: Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party

tgs04.jpgOkay, so I play a lot of DDR. I have to bike probably a couple of miles just to get to the closest game center that has a DDR machine and I still sometimes go three times a week. Obviously I was excited to hear that there was going to be a DDR release for the Wii, but I didn’t get my hopes up too high, especially when I found out the game was being showcased at TGS in the “Kids Corner.”
Hottest party comes with Konami’s flimsy plastic dance-mat, and if they plug into the game-cube port, your DDR Mario pads should be compatible, and so should these slightly nicer pads. However, the Japanese site suggests that the pad included is just for Wii, and doesn’t have a note about GCN compatibility.
The game-play is identical to any other in the DDR series, except that occasionally graphics of fists will appear in place of the left or right arrows which require you to shake either the wiimote or the nunchuck in time with the music instead of stepping on an arrow. In the song I played, though, I had a hard time getting the controller to respond; this may be due to an early build or the fact that I just wasn’t sure how to move the controllers the right way. Otherwise, the experience seemed consistent with other DDR games, but the song list didn’t seem to include any familiar favorites. There are four difficulty levels but I wasn’t able to verify how hard the game really gets- however, I did see some kids play a beginner level that I’m sure even a complete novice could pass with flying colors.
Hottest Party can also handle up to four players on one console, but no internet mode is being advertised and only two-player matches were being held at TGS.
verdict: Players that are serious about DDR-ing at home know a good pad is essential, but since Hottest Party is only the second DDR release for a Nintendo console in the US market, nice 3rd party mats are few and far between. Since the song list is also a departure from the series, Hottest Party, like Mario, may indeed end up being more of a beginner’s title and not one for the hard-core fans. However, if you’ve got a Wii and your Gamecube pad has been in the closet for a while, there’s no reason not to bust it out for a second run with some new control features.
official site(s): Konami’s US DDR Hottest Party Site
Japanese Site