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Review of Nickelodeon Dance 2 for Wii

A year ago I reviewed the original Nickelodeon Dance for the Wii. Well, a year later, Dora and all her friends from Nickelodeon are back with Nickelodeon Dance 2.

As with last year’s review, I’m going to try to review this game through the eyes of its intended audience: toddlers and young children who are in the target audience of Dora and her friends at Nickelodeon and who watch them on TV every day. And for those kids, this game is a really good one. For the rest of us, I’d stick with games like Wii Fit or Just Dance.

When you start the game you’ll hear some catchy music and see a startup screen with Dora, Diego, Molly from the Bubble Gumpies, and Bot, Milli and Geo from Team Umizoomi. If you don’t press anything, Dora will nag you by saying “if you want to play, just press the “A” button on your Wii remote over…and over…and over again every three seconds until you comply.

Strangely, you don’t see a cursor on the screen so you have to use your plus control pad to make choices. This probably eliminates some frustration for younger players who can’t point and click as easily as older kids, but I can also see a lot of kids who are used to every other Wii game in the world waving their remotes looking for a cursor.

Your options are Quick Play, Dance, Workout, Freeze, Achievements, and Options. If you don’t press a selection, Dora will chime in and explain what it is, and then begin nagging you to press a button every three seconds again. I’ve listed each of the choices below, as well as Dora’s explanation of what they are.

Quick Play. “Choose this to play a random dance or workout song”. Dora’s not exactly right here. When you select this option, it’ll randomly put you in a sub-menu under the “Dance” or the “Workout” menu, where you still have to scroll through it and select a song.

Dance. “This lets you choose dance songs to play”.

There are three sub-menus under the Dance menu that correspond to different difficult levels: Starting Steps, Smooth Moves, and Fancy Footwork. Next to each song, you’ll also see icons that correspond to the intensity level of the song (there’s an icon of something walking, running, and sprinting). Certain songs are locked, and you need to earn a certain number of stars to unlock them.

Here are the songs under each.

Starting Steps Songs:

Bubble Guppies Theme Song – Bubble Guppies (2)
Butterfly Dance – Team Umizoomi (1)
Get Up and Go Go – The Fresh Beat Band (2)
Team Umizoomi Theme Song – Team Umizoomi (3)
Tonight Is a Holiday – Bubble Guppies (2)
The Travel Song – Dora the Explorer (1)
Mary Had a Little Lamb – Dora the Explorer (1)
Shapes All Over the Place – Team Umizoomi (2)

Smooth Moves Songs:

At the Zoo – Bubble Guppies (3)
Freeze Dance – The Fresh Beat Band (2)
Here Comes Santa Claus – Dora the Explorer (2)
Hurry Home – The Backyardigans (2)
Just Like a Rockstar – The Fresh Beat Band (3)
Once Upon a Time – Bubble Guppies (2)
We Totally Rock – Bubble Guppies (2)

Fancy Footwork Songs:

Anything to Help My Friends – Team Umizoomi (2)
I Wanna Be a Cowgirl – Bubble Guppies (3)
La Bamba – Dora The Explorer (2)
The Piranha Song – Go, Diego, Go (3)
Stomp the House – The Fresh Beat Band (2)
Tweedily Dee – The Backyardigans (3)
Questing, Questing – The Backyardigans (2)
Reach for the Sky – The Fresh Beat Band (3)

Gameplay is pretty much identical to Just Dance and all the other copycat games that have come since it: your child holds the Wii remote in his or her right hand and mirrors the moves of the character on screen dancing. Icons will scroll across the bottom of the screen, which most will ignore.

Scoring is much, much more lenient than with more grown-up games–there are no numerical scores, and the goal is to fill up three stars. This is great for kids  2-6 years old who may be frustrated by more difficult adult-oriented games on the Wii and even worse, the Kinect. There are plenty of accomplishments to be collected.

Many of the songs will be familiar to those kids whose eyes are glued to Nick Jr. every day. The “dance” portion of the game actually does introduce kids to real choreographed dance moves, albeit much simplified. Dora will even shout out what dance move is being done.

Workout. This will take you to the workout dance songs. These songs are

Workout Songs:
Bananas – The Fresh Beat Band (1)
Go, Go, Go – The Backyardigans (3)
Good Times – The Fresh Beat Band (3)
Sing-Along Party Mix – Dora the Explorer (3)
The Band Plays On – Bubble Guppies (1)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Dora the Explorer (2)

The workout portion of the game really does focus on more aerobics-type moves rather than dance moves, and the highest difficulty songs really will get your kids to exercise and work up a sweat.

In a funny way, I actually think the way that Nickelodeon makes a very clear delineation between dance moves and aerobic exercise moves is better than even how Just Dance does it.

Freeze. “Choose this to play dance songs where you have to freeze at different times during the song”. This is a bit of a fun new feature that lets two players compete against each other.

When you choose this, you see the same menu of all the songs above. When you play the song, gameplay is also the same as usual, except at random times in the song the narrator will shout at you to “FREEZE”, at which time you have to freeze in your tracks. It’s fun for kids to compete against parents or against their siblings and have fun as they see who can freeze the best. With scoring as lenient as it is, chances are both players will end up in a tie, which perhaps is the best outcome.

Overall, I was impressed with Nickeolodeon Dance 2 as a way for toddlers and young children to get some good exercise, especially on rainy or cold days when it’s hard to go outside. Parents will appreciate the wholesomeness of the songs and the dance moves, while children will appreciate that the game was made easier for them, and that they’ll have a game of their own they can play without feeling left out or frustrated. I highly recommend it for any parent of young kids, especially those who are fans of Nickelodeon.

 

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