The concept of an adult male over the age of 21 that has a child attempting to play [i]Dance Dance Revolution[/i] anywhere other than the comfort of his own living room is a terrifying thought for me. This is probably the reason that I have never played a [i]DDR[/i] game prior to this weekend. On Friday, [i]DDR: Mario Mix[/i] arrived at my doorstep, and a little part of me was excited. [i]DDR[/i] has been a craze in the gaming world since it first debuted in the arcades. Very high-priced pads soon made their way into homes around the globe. My home was noticeably devoid of any such device and still is since I wouldn’t consider the Nintendo pad ‘high priced’ but rather durable and rugged.
The day after Thanksgiving is normally a day for leftovers and football, but this year that all changed when we spent far too much time bouncing around the living room on a [i]DDR[/i] pad. [i]DDR: Mario Mix[/i] is the latest game to get the [i]Mario[/i] treatment, but how does it hold up? Having never played a [i]DDR[/i] game puts me at a slight disadvantage here because I can’t draw a comparison between prior versions of the game or even the quality of the pad. On the other hand, it may give a fresh perspective from a [i]DDR[/i] rookie.
The first thing I thought when I unpacked the box was ‘Power Pad.’ The Power Pad is the NES accessory made popular by the [i]Track and Field[/i] games from way back when. The Nintendo [i]DDR[/i] Pad has a non-slip surface on the underside to keep it from moving during intense sessions. Its layout is identical to a standard [i]DDR[/i] pad with A and B buttons in the upper corners. Start and Z find their places near the top of the mat. The surface of the mat is a thick plastic with diagonal ridges. It gets slightly damp if your feet sweat during gameplay or if your son happens to toss some scrambled eggs under your feet. Either way, it is easily cleaned with a wet cloth. Just make sure you dry it off before proceeding. It is advisable to only play barefoot as the use of socks will surely cause slippage. With this being the case, you may want to score some antibacterial wipes to clean the pad between gamers.
The actual game features a storyline and also the ability to free-play any of the tracks. In the story mode, Waluigi has stolen the magical Music Keys. These keys maintain rhythm in the Kingdom and must be reclaimed. You will dance your way through five short worlds with many familiar Nintendo-based songs, as well as remixed versions of classical pieces. In addition to dancing, you will find yourself enduring extensive obstacles such as ice spikes and koopa troopas. Penalties are assessed to your momentum meter if you step on the ice spikes, and koopa troopas require two hits to dispose of them. The Boss fights in [i]Mario Mix[/i] were cleverly designed and typically directly engage you with the boss by stomping items back and forth.
[i]DDR: MM[/i] has a few difficulty levels available to play ranging from normal to super-hard. I have been told that super-hard is the equivalent to a standard [i]DDR[/i] game, so [i]DDR[/i] vets will probably find themselves bored with the difficulty options. Each higher level is playable after unlocking the previous difficulty.
Like many [i]Mario[/i] games, [i]MM[/i] sports a series of minigames. You will encounter these minigames during the story mode and will be able to play them at your leisure upon completion.
[i]DDR: MM[/i] is, without a doubt, a beginner’s [i]DDR[/i] game. It sports some features that may attract veteran [i]DDR[/i] players, but I doubt it will ultimately appeal to that crowd. [i]DDR: Mario Mix[/i] is for the casual ‘dancer’ looking to have some fun here and there, alone or with a few friends. Since I happen to fit that description, I have really enjoyed [i]MM[/i]. Since I doubt anyone will be renting out [i]DDR:MM[/i], you should find a friend with a copy, or you could always take a chance on this one if you think you might be into [i]DDR[/i]. Just don’t blame me if this is your gateway into a plethora of [i]DDR[/i] games.