Review: Let’s dance with Mel B

Dancing games have become very popular over the last couple of months and while there are tons out that work very well for Xbox’s Kinect, the PlayStation 3’s Move peripheral is still lacking in certain areas.

A screenshot from Let’s Dance with Mel B (image: Black Bean)

The major drawback of Move and Wii games stem from the use of the peripherals. With both systems having handheld controllers, it’s easy to cheat the games into thinking that the user is actually doing the right moves. But ultimately it’s the users who are being cheated, as they don’t get the full experience of the titles.

But cheating aside, former Spice Girl Mel B has released her latest offering into the videogame market, with Let’s Dance with Mel B. The title uses the Move controller for the PlayStation 3 version, controllers for the Wii and full body motion for the Xbox360 Kinect version (the PlayStation 3 version was used for the purposes of this review).

As mentioned before, the PlayStation 3 version might not be as accurate as the Xbox version, but it all works rather well. The aim of the game is for the player to replicate the dance moves shown on screen by Mel B and her group of professional dancers.

Players won’t necessarily need to be good dancers to start out with, but it might help to have a bit of natural rhythm and run through the game dynamics before embarking on a career in dancing. While Mel B and her dancers occupy a large portion of the screen, the player is shown what move will next be used, and can thus prepare, but the actions are so swift that it’s very difficult to keep track.

In a nice touch, by means of the PlayStation Eye, the player is projected onto the screen next to the dancers, so it’s easy to spot wrong moves and to laugh at one self. Holding either one or two controllers in either hand, the moves need to be done according to the on-screen instructions.

When a correct move and transition in achieved, players will get a higher score, but when moves are incorrectly replicated, fewer points will be awarded, leading to a lower overall score. It’s easy to fool the system with certain moves, but where is the fun in that?

In terms of the music available, the track list boasts artists such as Rihanna’s Disturbia, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, Fergie’s Quando Quando Quando, Spandau Ballet’s Gold and Gloria Gaynor’s I will Survive. Naturally it includes the Spice Girls’ Wannabe. There are fewer than 30 tracks on the disc, which might seem like a lot, but they get overused and over danced pretty quickly. There is no doubt that future DLC will add more variety.

Let’s Dance with Mel B is by no means the best and only game that gamers should by, but it does have its merits. The gameplay and design is clean and easy to navigate, while the dance moves are easy to learn. But with a limited track list and moves that can become monotonous at times, the fun will die down quickly after prolonged use. It does, however, provide for a really great physical workout.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor