Dance Dance Revolution has been tearing up arcades, homes, and parties for quite some time now. However, all that Konami has had to offer is secular music. Many Christians have a conviction not to listen to secular music and chosen not to participate in this worldwide phenomenon. But now a Christian alternative is available. Digital Praise released Dance Praise, a clone of the popular DDR franchise, with some innovative twists.
Dance Praise plays very similar to its secular counterpart and it comes with a custom ?soft pad? that plugs into the computer?s USB port. The selection of songs the game has to offer is fairly diverse in genre as well as difficulty. We were amazed that the stepfiles, which are the patterns that the ?dancing? follows, have reasonable difficulty on the hardest settings. Though an easy mode is available and is helpful enough to get new players ready for harder settings.
The game?s music library has older Christian hits from bands like Seven Day Jesus and Audio Adrenaline, as well as more modern hits from The Benjamin Gate and Out of Eden. The very popular ZOEgirl and Steven Curtis Chapman also have tracks available. If the selection is too small, there is an option to purchase new songs and their respective stepfiles from Digital Praise. 50 songs are available with the base game without purchasing an expansion, so there are plenty of options to fit your personal taste in music.
One thing that makes this title different from DDR is that the in-game dance display is not customizable to the extent of DDR. The arrows travel down and culminate at the bottom of the screen instead of rising and finishing at the top. Score meters are kept track of vertically on the left and right side of the screen instead of the top like DDR players are used to. Retraining the eyes can be quite annoying for the veterans of dance games and the Bemani series of Konami games. Options are not too limiting in terms of maximizing the dance experience, though. Auto-fail can be deactivated, but it is nearly impossible to fail a song and make it stop mid-way. Even when trying to miss arrows as horribly as possible by the game?s standards, we could not fail a song.
The hard difficulty level is legitimately difficult. Most song played at the normal difficulty setting is passable by a casual player and the easy setting works fine for beginners. There are enough difficulty options to keep players dancing for a while. Replay value of a dance game varies, but Digital Praise is doing a lot to increase it with the options they offer to expand the song collection. Also, the dance pads are a fairly nice quality and responsive enough to meet the demands of a casual player. Durability of soft pads, which can cost around twenty US dollars, often is an issue when playing home versions of these games. Don?t wear shoes while playing and try not to stomp on the pad. They?re sensitive enough that a light foot tap will register as a hit.
Digital Praise?s offering to the gaming community is a good one. They?ve done something that many other DDR clones or alternative off-license versions could not: make Christian music available with challenging stepfiles. Any Christian who had qualms about playing DDR because of secular music can now be free in Christ while playing this title, because each song is quite uplifting. The lyrics even show on screen so that others watching can sing along or if the player?s concentration is strong enough, he can read while dancing. The lack of the animated backgrounds is saddening, but the general premise of the dance arcade spirit is here. What Dance Praise lacks in graphics it makes up for with fun, entertaining new in-game features. Score multiplying arrows, subtract arrows, bomb arrows which will cause scores to tank, and dust cloud arrows that cover the bottom quarter of the screen are among many of the surprises players will find while getting their exercise.
A major drawback to this is that these arrows can?t be turned off. Those who seek the ?perfect attack? of flawlessly hitting every arrow may not get the best high score. Also, the song results are not graded; however, the narrating voice is informative enough to ?advise? each player. The computer also keeps track of what song might be best for the player with a tuning option. If the player isn?t sure what he should be dancing to after a few songs, picking that will give him a better idea and it?s fairly accurate. There?s also an option that will randomly select three tracks from the list. Songs are longer than what DDR fans are used to, so a workout is guaranteed!
True to the roots of the genre, this game also comes with a workout mode and while the accuracy of how many calories burned is in question, it does have a nice gauge to estimate how many calories can be burned with the set of songs performed. Those who love to use DDR to lose weight can use this to do the same thing, as it does get the heart rate going fairly well.
For Christians who have been waiting a game like DRR, but have been unable to make stepfiles for other clones of the game, Dance Praise is the title for them. It?s unique and gives something to the dancers who really have an interest. It?s a perfect niche title with enough replay value and party power to invite friends over for. Youth groups especially will love this game.
Dance Praise gives Christians the chance to dance to great contemporary songs from days past along with more modern music. Songs that were popular ten years ago can be found here as well as some recent hits. Artists that parents and their kids can both appreciate are available, like tobyMac and Stephen Curtis Chapman. Songs that one might think would never make a coherent DDR track work in Dance Praise. The game?s a winner, even if the graphics aren?t there to back it up. Sound quality and hardware response times make up for all of it. The narrative voice is pleasant and is often helpful to players. Parents have something that kids won?t think is a dorky Christian knock-off of a popular secular game. It?s something that everyone can play without worrying about content, which is rare, and it has a potential to stick within the Christian community if the trend can spread.
» By Dave Herbert, Plain Games. Published 12/7/2006 2:59:28 PM.