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Dance Magic (PC) artwork

Dance Magic (PC) review


"Import & play with your own songs in this dance game where battles take on a whole new form."


Dance Magic (PC) image


Dance to Save the World

Dance Magic, originally developed for the PS3 in 2013, is a dance/music & rhythm game now ported to PC. With three different game modes, including a unique Battle mode, prepare to dance your way through the 30+ pre-designed (or infinite amount of custom) songs! Local and online coop is supported.

Tournament Mode

Tournament mode is essentially a string of pre-determined AI dance battles, similar to Battle Mode. Your tournament begins by choosing one of three starting characters, after which 5 eccentric AI enemies will line up for you to face. A sort of progression element is included in the form of character, equipment, and music/song unlockables. The currency needed to unlock these items are attained through this Tournament Mode.

Battle Mode

The controlled character has a set of 5 different moves to help defeat the opposing character by reducing their health to zero. These moves are:

  • Attack: basic attack that will drain the enemy’s health.

  • Rage: an attack that deals double the amount of damage a basic attack would, however, is completely negated if it encounters an enemy’s shield.

  • Shield: reduces damage of an incoming Attack, or negates a Rage attack. Max: 3 active shields.

  • Dispel: destroys a single enemy shield.

  • Interrupt: interrupts the enemy’s current combo chain.


  • These moves are individually performed by hitting four specific button inputs to the song's beat. Each character has a different pattern for each move so they are not truly interchangeable, but it is relatively easy to memorize the button prompts after a little bit of playing. Performing a specific combination of moves will provide you with a stun attack (ie. Attack + Shield + Dispel) which lasts for a few seconds.

    This unique game mode is a very refreshing twist to the generic match-the-notes-to-the-rhythm/SHMUP-rhythm games. By forcing the player to adhere to rhythmic requirements, a lot of pressure and anxiety is created when you know what move you have to do, but must play to the beat. Although I am a huge fan of rhythm games, I always welcome new takes on beat-play.

    Dance Mode

    A static chart (note board) will begin to populate itself with notes as a moving bar scrolls through the chart. Your goal is to press the required button input as the bar scrolls over the respective button prompts. This is very similar to other rhythm games (DDR, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc.) with the exception that the line (or receptors) moves as opposed to the chart/notes. Although the notes are presented well before the bar moves over it, in order to allow the player to prepare ahead of time, bonus notes are sporadically injected throughout the songs which appear at any time (sometimes right before the bar is about to move over it). This adds a very fun element of surprise and player engagement. When choosing a song to play (many will be locked at the beginning), the player has the option to select Beginner, Easy, Medium, or Hard difficulty levels. These are offered for play variety and are freely changeable in between songs.

    Custom Songs

    My favorite component of Dance Magic is its support for custom songs in Dance Mode - BPM (beats per minute) calibration is needed. The BPM calibration is extremely simple; just hit any random note to the beat of your song. Although the BPM calibration will suffice, and comes handy as a cheap method for custom song support, the notes/chart could be much more harmonized with the music if they implemented a beat analyzer instead. As it is, due to the unpredictability of a song and note/chart generation off of a single average BPM, certain parts of a song will feel a little awkward/de-synchronized to play. Audiosurf does a fantastic job with song analyzation by deconstructing a song and creating a moveable track from it; something Dance Magic could take note of.

    Either way, I am still very happy that DM supports custom songs, as there are only a handful (or less) of games on Steam that do. Also, it might be nice to know that no matter how many notes you miss, you cannot fail. This also applies to the native songs provided by the game. This feature allows you to enjoy your music at a high difficulty level without getting pre-maturely cutoff, like in many other rhythm games.

    Verdict

    There doesn't seem to be much of an online community, if any, but I don't fault them for that. Dance magic is such a fun dance/music/rhythm game that even if I could only play it solo or with a local coop buddy, I would still be satisfied. Especially since there is support for custom songs. I can't stress how rare it is to find a rhythm game with custom song support. With this in mind, I can easily recommend Dance Magic to fans of the rhythm and music genre, or people that want to interact with their favorite music.

    4/5

    silversuriv's avatar
    Community review by silversuriv (September 16, 2016)

    silversuriv loves to review games as an escape to reality, preferring to stay on the analytical side of the spectrum. Steam

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