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Hands-On: Dance Central VR Made Me Dance Like No One Was Watching

Hands-On: Dance Central VR Made Me Dance Like No One Was Watching

I’m not a good dancer. You can ask anyone that went to school with me, attended my wedding, or were ever unfortunate enough to witness me playing any of the various Just Dance or Dance Central games and they’ll all agree that I just can’t dance. But that didn’t stop me from having fun with Dance Central VR.

At GDC 2019 last week I met with Harmonix at an offsite demo suite to check out this new iteration of their popular dancing rhythm game and was delighted to find it running on not only the Oculus Rift, but also the Oculus Quest.

Check it out for yourself:

For a game that’s suddenly been announced out of nowhere there’s a lot of meat on its bones. With 32 songs at launch ranging from well-known modern hits to classic dance jams it’s shaping up to have a really solid track list. So far that includes:

Not bad, right? The first one I picked was Finesse and the dance moves did not disappoint. For those unaware, Dance Central works by having you mirror the moves of an NPC that’s dancing in front of you. There are cue cards off to the side as well to guide you on what’s coming next once you know the moves and you just follow along to the beat of the song. Since this is on the Quest and Rift that means it’s tracking your hands and head movement to match the dance moves. You’ll also have to match the hand gestures as well, such as making a fist or flat palm.

All in all the gameplay is pretty much identical to how it worked on Xbox with Kinect, except this time you’re in VR. And now there’s multiplayer too. You’ll be able to hop online and join people in a social hub space, do solo and team dance battles, or even just hang around the DJ booth and chat. It’s an impressively social game when you really dig into it. The cross-platform multiplayer should help it become a popular party game destination both online and locally with friends. Passing the Quest around will be super simple, especially if casting works like Go.

During my demo Harmonix also showed me the Wardrobe where you can deck out your avatar with various clothes and outfits you’ve unlocked as well as a multitude of hair styles and even different cell phone skins. There’s a dance studio too for practicing where you can break down songs into segments and slow them down to really nail the dance moves. Each song will have two difficulties and they’re including high score leaderboards.

Harmonix told me that Dance Central VR is fully-funded by Oculus as an Oculus Studios title which means it will include fully cross-platform multiplayer and will be 100% cross buy so if you own it on one headset then you’ll own it on both. This also means that it’s an exclusive to the Oculus Home Store.

For someone that likes music games a lot such as Beat Saber, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, DDR, and the original Dance Central games, this new VR iteration feels fantastic. Dance Central VR will be hitting Quest on day one as a launch title and coming to Rift at the exact same time as well.

If you’re going to PAX East, you can check it out for yourself. And don’t forget to let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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