My first foray into the world of Dance Dance Revolution was only 10 years after it first surfaced in North America and Europe. It is not that I hadn't heard of DDR, as it's affectionately known, it's that I never really had the opportunity to experience it. I grew up in a small town in western Michigan and was in the middle of high school when it became really popular. I do remember seeing it on the King of the Hill in the episode "Returning Japanese." Okay, that wasn't actually DDR, but it was as close as I had come to seeing the real thing.
The box that Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 – the latest DDR title – is packaged in is a fairly compact size for what is included: the Wii Dance Dance Revolution Dance Pad Controller and the game itself. There isn't any extreme excess packaging as sometime happens with game releases that come with things beyond the game, though the Dance Pad Controller does come folded with a piece of white tissue paper (my rabbit is still thoroughly enjoying it). The Dance Pad Controller is the similar to every other dance apparatus associated with DDR.
Connecting the Dance Pad Controller to the Wii was quite simple and took less time than reconnecting a Wii remote. Getting the game itself started was also not difficult. The brightly colored menu shows many different options ranging from Tournament mode to Free Play mode to Workout mode.
There is also a DDR School mode that teaches first timers the basics. In the DDR School mode there are six Step Lessons, six Gimmick Lessons, and five Hand Lessons. After completing DDR School, a player should be well prepared for the other modes. In addition to the DDR School there is a Training mode where players can hone their skills even more. Essentially though, gameplay boils down to this — stepping on the specific square at the appropriate time registers the correct move and the player gets points.
One of the best features of DDR: Hottest Party 3 is that you can now use a Balance Board to complete the dances. One can also use the Wii remote with the nunchuk for added upper body dance moves. The Wii Balance Board works like it does with Wii Fit — you lean and rotate your hips to the music. While using the Wii Balance Board, you also use the Wii remote with the nunchuks for an added challenge.
With the Balance Board, the Dance Control Pad, and two Wii remotes with nunchuks it is possible for four people to play at one time. However, that would mean two people just using the Wii remote and nunchuk which is not going be a great aerobic workout. Additionally, it is a bit challenging at times as it is difficult to press the buttons on the remote in time with the song.
While playing the game in the Free Play mode you can choose which song will play as you dance. The best part of this is being able to see the video to which you're dancing. There are 50 songs within the game and they range from "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" by the New Kids on the Block, to "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice, to "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga. Many different types of music are available, though the whole song or video is never played.
The music and sound throughout the game are of a very good quality. It is very similar to what you'd experience on a CD or in digital format. The graphics in the game are quite good: nothing is pixelated and everything is very bright and fun to watch. It reminds me a lot of time spent in Japan. The music videos themselves also look quite good.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 and I can only imagine how much fun it's going to be for the next game night with four people playing at a time. The only complaint I have about the game is that I had a problem with the Dance Control Pad. Maybe it was my abnormally large feet, but I had quite a bit of problem getting the dance beats to register. It is also suggested that one does not wear socks while using the Dance Control Pad. When playing with bare feet however, one will find that their feet tend to stick to the Dance Control Pad which makes it slightly more difficult to play. This problem did not occur while using the Wii Balance Board as your feet never move.
Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3 is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Mild Lyrics and Suggestive Themes.