PS2 REVIEW: INTO THE GROOVE

Remember when you stayed home from school and you actually were sick? And all you could do was watch daytime TV? It makes you wonder why anyone would ever want to stay home. Even though the programming has gotten better over the years with new daytime shows that transcend the soap operas and Oprahs, there is decided distinction between them and primetime shows. In the Groove is a dance game in the style of Dance Dance Revolution. It's a decent spin-off with some very interesting and unique features but the production values suffer, making it seem like a daytime show as compared to the slick, party atmosphere of primetime DDR.

If you're new to the genre this may not be the game for you - yet. It takes the dancing genre to a higher level that the novice may not be ready for. This game will really kick your ass into gear but it's really geared toward dance freaks that want more than what's offered in the arcades.

To the uninitiated here's a description of the gameplay: As songs play, you will see various icons displayed on the screen. These icons, in the form or arrows, indicate where you are to place your feet on the corresponding icons on the dance mat. The visual display of the moving arrows is designed to help you keep pace with the beat of the music. As long as you place your feet on the right grid at the right time you will receive more points and unlock more songs. If you don't have much coordination you will definitely be at a disadvantage but keep in mind that this is something that you can learn. You don't have to be born with it.

What sets In the Groove apart is that the arrows move differently than they do in DDR. They sway, shimmy, shake, bounce, spin and distort to convey different expressions of movements. They are much easier to see but they don't make the gameplay any easier. You can expect to do some Twister-style moves as you will not only use your own two feet on the mat but your two hands as well. If you're not in great shape, you'll feel the effects of this game in the morning as you twist your body like a pretzel.

Another interesting twist is that some grids are like mines. If you step on them accidentally they will disrupt your combos and cost you some points. It takes a lot of concentration to keep all these things in mind and that's why I would only recommend this game to experienced dance fans as beginners will surely get frustrated.

As I've already mentioned, the production values are lacking. There are no licensed songs, only originals that you've never heard before. They don't sound bad but you can tell they're not hits. They're like Wal-Mart Muzak versions of popular tunes.

Although two players can take part in the game there's no real party vibe to it. It's better than Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies, but then again, what isn't? Definitely worth a rental if you have the mat and you're sick to death of the last batch of Konami's songs.

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System: PS2, X, GC
Dev: Roxor
Pub: Red Octane
Release: June 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Preview By Shelby
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.0