Get ready to put on your dancin’ shoes
Social games let you farm online, run stores online, play sports online, and even sing online, but is it possible to dance online? As it so happens, yes. Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing is a free-to-play browser-based social game that lets you glide across the dance floor with angelic grace, even if you’re about as smooth as a three-legged tomcat in real life.
Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing is, of course, based off the enormously popular “Dancing With the Stars” reality television series, which began its life as the UK’s “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2004. The show’s well-known dance-off format has since been sold to over 38 countries worldwide, prompting the Guinness Book of World Records to declare it the most successful television format in its 2010 edition. It’s no surprise that BBC Worldwide partnered with ABC to marry the property with another behemoth: social gaming.
“We think that [Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing] is perfect for people who watch the show,” says Robert Nashak, BBC Worldwide’s Executive Vice President of Digital Entertainment. “The female casual game market is booming, and the dancing, stars, and music really appeals to the shows’ fans and the average casual gamer.”
Of course, Nashak stresses, Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing is a game for everyone. It’s designed to be a “premium social experience,” which is evident in the game’s smooth graphics (which were motion-captured with the assistance of the show’s stars) and popular music. You can set your routines to Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, KC and the Sunshine Band, and other tunes that make Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing an authentic experience. There’s no cheap knock-off music here.
The game’s interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, especially for players who are already familiar with online social games. You begin by designing your own avatar, including gender, costumes, skin tone, facial features, the works.
You then choose your dancing partner, and you’ll see a few familiar faces during the selection process. Think you can keep up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Derek Hough, Kym Johnson, and Mark Ballas?
Then you and your partner hustle to the studio, where you learn the basics of the game. You practice a number of moves, including cartwheels, jitterbug whips, and everything else that’s necessary to turn you and your partner into the Lords of the Dance.
Practicing moves requires Energy (represented in classic social game fashion by a lightning bolt icon), and a move must be practiced several times before it’s finally Mastered. But once a move is Mastered, it can be placed in a routine and launched at your competitors.
At first, your partner builds the routines that are utilized on the dance floor. Once you hit level 8, however, you unlock the ability to choreograph your own routines. Dance for your life!
Up on the Stage
Practicing a routine is only half the battle. Before showtime, you also need to set the mood and lighting for your performance. Ideally, you want to put together a performance that blends visuals, movement, and music into a smooth delight that goes down easy.
Once you’re on the stage, you’re judged in several categories. The mastery of your routine is ranked, and you’re also assessed on how well you nailed the competition. “Nailing the competition” involves clicking on the dancers at the right moments during the routine in order to spiff things up. You also need to click on the stage’s lighting at key points to give your routine the perfect tone.
When it’s all over, you’re supplied with your score, as well as coins and experience. Leveling up unlocks new in-game content.
Dancing With Friends
Dancing alone is a melancholy experience, which is why BBC Worldwide built Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing around a social platform. The game runs on its own site, but it can be accessed via Facebook.
In its current state, Keep Dancing is the ideal community hub for fans of “Dancing With the Stars” to meet new friends, bond with current friends over a shared interest, or simply hang out. Moreover, BBC Worldwide has big plans for future social content, including the ability to send gifts and invite friends to vote on your routines.
Like most free-to-play games, Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing gives you the option to do a little shopping at the in-game store via microtransactions. Current available purchases include more Energy (since practicing routines eats it up—hey, try dancing for five straight hours and see how energetic you feel at the end of it all), and alternate costumes.
It’s Only Natural
Between its authentic costumes, celebrity partners, motion-captured graphics, and familiar music, BBC Worldwide worked hard to make Dancing With the Stars: Keep Dancing a genuine experience for the show’s biggest fans. Why not do some dancing via your web browser this Spring? You’ve already raised cows and lorded over cities: it’ll do you some good to try something different.