Hey pretty baby with the high heels on, you may want to take them off for this strenuous dance game or you will do yourself an injury.
Already released on the Nintendo Wii, Michael Jackson The Experience is the perfect suitor to the dust gathering hands free experience of the Kinect in which you will twist, jump, zombie shuffle and moonwalk to some of Michael’s greatest hits.
The games structure is very simple with the menu screens easily navigated by moving your arms up and down and holding in place to confirm selection, making the experience very enjoyable. From the off you are able to select all of the songs on the disc, pulling out some obvious greats like Bad, Thriller and Speed Demon to name a few from the 29 track list.
Each song has four modes to play through. First up is Practice, allowing you to pull apart the song and try out a specific section; Dance allows you to dance to the whole song; Performance mixes up both singing and dancing, while Master Performance is the same, just a lot more punishing on the scores.
The Kinect will beam your ghostly image directly onto the centre stage, with a rather handy square on the floor showing the camera range so you don’t wander away too far. There are two ways to see what moves are coming, either by the dance cards that appear on the bottom right of the screen which show an illustration of what move is next, or the more preferable and fun way is to just watch the support dancers move in the background and learn on the fly.
If playing a Performance mode the game will alternate between the dancing and singing, with the Kinect microphone easily picking up what you are belting out. As with any dance game you are scored on your performance, with the occasional “miss” or “perfect” popping up and then scoring you via a five star method. Get a good run on the moves and singing and you can earn score multipliers, plus at certain points of each song a golden crown will appear above your head, reaching for this will boost your score even further.
The presentation is just as pleasing as the control method, with each song having it’s own dance stage inspired by the videos attached to them (which also play in the background), so Speed Demon is set on a dusty hill in between two motorbikes and Thriller is set outside a graveyard with a group of zombie backing dancers.
Ensuring you have ample space in your living room is vital as you will be swinging your arms and legs to all sorts of dance moves, which tend to be pretty hard to master; thankfully there is an in depth tutorial on how to pull off some of Michaels more skilled moves. These are presented by some videos hosted by professional dancers, allowing you to physically see what is required of you. This area seems a little stale in presentation but is essential for the harder dance modes.
There are a couple of multiplayer modes that are ideal for those having a party, with quick switch singing and dancing for up to four players sure to get the whole room involved.
Considering many singing games only have a small selection of Michael Jackson songs, the singing element is welcome, but its a huge shame you have to mix it up with the dancing, as not everone can get up and boogy.
The Michael Jackson The Experience is a solid dancing and singing game that does the King of Pops legacy proud. Although a little restricted in song choices and longevity, this is still one of the better games for your Kinect. Rating: Excellent