Dance Central VR is a move and groove it single and multiplayer dance game. It’s also a mega blast from the past with Kinect roots. Harmonix pulled it out of their vault and brought it into the VR age. It has 32 songs by popular artists past and present and is as close to clubbing as this thirty-something will attempt.
Getting a Workout Up In The Club
I approached Dance Central VR with the mindset that it would be as challenging as Beat Saber but with more complicated foot and leg work. It was. For someone who’s been away from two-stepping and body rolls since clubbing in the ‘00s I didn’t do half bad. I actually slayed standard mode pretty hard. Aimed and nailed 5 stars – with practice over one week!
As expected, there’s a learning curve. If you played DDR and Dance Central on Kinect before you’ll have the arm and leg muscle memory for this game. If you play Beat Saber on the regular, you’ll get the quick thinking and fast arm movements. No one will jump in and get 5 stars. If you do, then you must be a dance god or goddess.
Those that are rhythm and movement challenged will have to practice a bit with coordination and mirroring. The leg movements kind of tripped me up some, but that’s part of the fun of it. Nonetheless, it’s freaking addictive and an even better workout.
My fitness watch recorded my 45-minute to hour long dance sessions as all aerobic and fat burning. So, play this game to give your whole body a booty shaking workout. Don’t forget to pour out the sweat from your Oculus Rift or Quest after you’re done. I kid, use a headband and air dry.
These Song Picks Were Everything
For my dance offs, I chose hits like “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga – a dance favorite! I also hit up 80s and 90s jams like “What Is Love” by Haddaway and “Be My Lover” by La Bouche. As a 90s MTV kid, you better believe I danced to “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa.
If you’re a 00’s kid or like top of the pop and rap songs, there’s plenty of songs to choose from. Get fly with Cardi B and Bruno Mars with “Finesse – Remix” or “YES” by Louisa and 2 Chainz. If you don’t want to set up a playlist, the lazy can play the mixes towards the bottom. I suggest “Glitterati” – you won’t be sorry!
Body Movin’ Mechanics and The Dance Floors
To get into the nitty gritty, the mechanics of the game are based around coordinated arm movements. You’ll meet and then need to mirror the characters in the game – Emilia, Hart, Miss Aubrey, Mo, and Oblio. The characters can be assigned different songs and can be summoned in different areas of the club. Think Main Floor, VIP, Bar, Studio, and more areas to explore.
Texting, dancing, and checking their voicemails will get you more respect and filling their heart to max unlocks things. I have yet to see what it unlocks but with more game time I’ll figure it out. There’s also Co-op and PvP where you can host a lounge session or compete with other players around the world.
The interesting part of this game is that the NPCs improve your dance skills. The club characters will need to be mirrored but the dance cards on the side will help you anticipate what to do next. Pay attention to arm movements but also keep an eye on the hands and leg movements. It’s a lot to get thrown into, but these will help elevate you from good to perfect and then to flawless. Don’t you want to be flawless and five star? Work!
Dance Central VR – Where There’s Room For Improvement
My only suggestions to improve Dance Central VR are with one of the hand controls. With the Rift, I had to push in the joysticks on both sides to ball up my fists. This also recalibrates the in game height and it makes a background noise that was kind of annoying if I let the button go. Not sure if there’s a way to reassign it so this doesn’t keep happening.
I’d also really like if this game was available on Steam and they allowed mods. Beat Saber does this, but Dance Central VR doesn’t. Borrowing from Beat Saber, adding a level editor for choreography would be a nice touch. This game is social with dance-offs but being able to show off custom moves would set it on fire.
As an Oculus Rift player I was so focused on the dancing I forgot the headset doesn’t have leg tracking. There are kicks and side steps that I’d like to see happen in VR. If someone was streaming their gameplay for their social feed they’d be missing the footwork. This is where some of the drama of will they or won’t they nail it comes in. I wonder if the Quest will track the legs.
I’m Sure This Isn’t The Last Dance
Overall, Dance Central VR brought back youthful memories of my time in West Hollywood on a night out with friends. It’s got a cool club vibe and keeps you moving with popular music. It also helps clubgoers level up their dance skills with standard and pro mode, as well as with PvP and Co-Op.
I can’t wait to see if they’ll release more music packages for this game. Hit me with more 80s, 90s, and 00’s hits if you can, Harmonix!