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As I've mentioned before, my family loves to dance. I think you know this about us. So when the opportunity came up to review The Hip Hop Dance Experience, I jumped on it. Shook on it. Twirled on it. Whatever I had to do.
My overall impression of the game is that I really, really like it. What do I like about it? Well, the original videos to the songs play in the background, which is fun for a nostalgic-for-when-MTV-played-videos gal like me. The manner in which those videos is shown is almost an added subtlety, and I wonder how many Kids These Days would even recognize the videos of some of the Old School songs. How old school? Well, that's another thing I liked about this game. I played five games and here are the songs I chose: Creep (TLC), If It Isn't Love (New Edition), Hip Hop Hooray (Naughty by Nature), and then two not so old school songs: Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO) and 1 Thing (Amerie). I like hearing the older songs, and notice that the game's dance moves are very similar to the dance moves from the video (which you KNOW I love).
One thing that is really helpful is that there are two dancers on screen, each doing the same moves, but one is facing you and one is facing away from you. This allows you to see more clearly what you should be doing and lets you choose which you'd rather follow (everyone has their preference - following or mirroring). Below you can see the man on the left, facing the same direction as the player, and the woman on the right, dancing mirror-image to the dancer.
Another interesting feature? BREAK TIME! That's right, at certain points throughout the songs, you get a break - to regroup, catch your breath, or freestyle. You know you'll freestyle.
Each dance move has a name, and there is a setting where you can focus on practicing the moves individually and by name. When you play and you get your results and score, you're told which dance move was your best and which needs the most work. As you can see below, on my very first game I scored much better at the move called 'Sweep It In' than the move called 'Shimmy Shake.'
Now, this game has an ESRB Content Rating of T for Teen with the warnings: Lyrics, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. I have to say that this didn't make me as excited to introduce this game to my kids, so instead I played a few rounds by myself to try the game out. Here's the thing: I think the rating probably has to do with the nature of some of the music more than graphics because I didn't see anything that I deemed inappropriate. Of course, I was concentrating on the dance moves more than lyrics or other content (and I didn't find the dance moves to be inappropriate). I will probably have to monitor which songs I'll allow my kids to play, though, if for no other reason than that there are THREE songs with Chris Brown's name attached, and I don't even go there. No Ma'am.
Like I said, overall I like The Hip Hop Dance Experience, and though it will require a little monitoring on my part when the kids play it, I don't mind . . . because it's almost my turn anyway.