With the recent release of the CGI/live-action movie The Smurfs, Ubisoft decided to hop aboard the blue bandwagon with the tie-in video game The Smurfs: Dance Party. Based on the highly successful Just Dance franchise, The Smurfs: Dance Party is a smurfified version that, although lacking in substance, will delight young audiences.
The video games Just Dance and Just Dance 2 are two of Ubisoft’s bestselling products to date. Naturally, Ubisoft doesn’t take any chances with The Smurfs: Dance Party and practically recycles the same control schematics as the aforementioned two for the game, although the style of play is slightly changed to accommodate scenes and characters from the movie.
In The Smurfs: Dance Party Wii game, players hold a single Wii remote in one hand and try to mimic dance moves onscreen. The game features 24 songs to dance to. Once a song starts playing, figures indicating the motions that need to be performed start scrolling. Players must then mimic the actions properly in order to score points and move on the next dance number. To further eliminate any confusion, different characters from the movie also appear on the background and simultaneously perform the steps themselves.
The game has two modes, Story and Dance. Story features a campaign-like mode where scenes from the movie are interspersed in between dance routines. Dance is the customizable mode where players can pick a track they want and start bopping immediately. The game features all the main characters from the movie – Papa, Smurfette, Clumsy, Brainy, Gutsy, and Grouchy – in beautifully rendered animation. As a bonus, Hank Azaria reprises his role as the evil Gargamel and appears in the game as well. The Smurfs and Gargamel show up on different tracks and dance along to the beat, helping players master the moves they need to perform. The animation is quite superb, and seeing Azaria waving and flailing his arms around while a Baha Men-inspired song “Who Let the Smurfs Out?” plays is quite a hilarious (and disconcerting) sight to behold.
With easy-to-follow dance moves and an extremely forgiving difficulty level, The Smurfs: Dance Party is a lighthearted game that will entertain Smurf fans everywhere. Also, the featured tracks showcase modern songs such as “One of the Boys” by Katy Perry, classic oldies “Blame it On the Boogie”, smurfified hits like “Mr. Smurftastic”, and original compositions including “Gargamel”.
In terms of substance, the Wii The Smurfs: Dance Party game is weaker compared to its Just Dance counterparts. The song selections don’t hold as much weight and popularity as the Just Dance song lists, and most of the features the game has are recycled from the other two.
Because the game is made primarily for younger players, much of the dance routines are pretty repetitious and basic, making it not quite suitable for older gamers. Although the difficulty level starts to rise the further you progress in the game, most of the moves cycle back and forth, shortening the game’s lifespan of enjoyment.
One of the flaws comes from the motion sensing, which is basically average. Oftentimes, some of the moves don’t register well, and the onscreen figure that cues you in on the succeeding dance step frequently doesn’t make much sense, leaving you wondering what routine is it you’re supposed to be doing next.
The best part of the game is clearly the inclusion of the Smurf characters. However, this may also serve as its weakest point. Not everyone is a Smurf fan, and those who aren’t have little reason to pick this game up. The dancing is quite inferior to other titles out in the market today. Despite the lovable blue characters, there’s little else in the game that can hold your attention.
The Smurfs: Dance Party requires only the Wii console and standard Wii remote to play. Up to four players can do multiplayer co-op at once.
The Smurfs: Dance Party is an enjoyable, family-friendly game that will leave players laughing and ribbing each other, taking turns poking fun at whomever is performing the silly dance routines. Unfortunately, the excitement is pretty short, just like the titular characters. The limited number of songs and the repetitious dance moves will soon lead to this Wii game gathering dust on the shelf as soon as it wears itself out. For Smurf fans, this may be a title worth considering if you want a quick laugh. Those who don’t have any affection for the blue beings and just want a good dance title will have better chances elsewhere.