Dirty Dancing Review

By Joel Brodie |

Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Dirty Dancing is here, and who can forget the incredible dancing, hunky Patrick Swayze, Baby’s coming of age, Jennifer Grey with her original nose… The game takes place in the steamy summer of 1963. The minimalist plot is loosely connected to the movie, and revolves around you staying at the Kellerman Mountain House while training to compete in a dance contest.

The first thing to do is design your avatar – select male or female, skin tone, hair type and color, facial features, and outfit. You can also design your cabin by buying furniture and rearranging it to make the place feel at home. Once you’re settled in, you can explore the camp grounds and start playing the minigames. Success will bring you cash flow, which you can use to unlock new locations and dance steps.

About those mini games – there are a lot. Pinockle Mahjong has you matching 40 cards by suit and number, attempting to clear all the cards away. Jokers are wild, but you must remember what card you match them with, so you can match up its mate too.

Breakfast Buffet is a challenging match 3 game. Your goal is to move rows and columns of tiles, each containing different pictures, while attempting to make matches of the same type. This is complicated by spoiled food and flies, which prevent you from moving those rows until the tainted object is cleared.

For you movie buffs, there’s a Trivia game, with all kinds of questions about the film. Bell Boy Bedlam is a time management puzzler, which has you overseeing bellhops that are serving customers at the hotel. The Talent Show is a hidden object game, where you must find the objects on the list I-spy style, before time runs out.

Once you’ve saved up a bit of cash, you can unlock other areas of the camp grounds. In Melon Mayhem, you need to move a watermelon across the dance floor, slider puzzle style. Video Jigsaw has you piecing together jigsaw’s of animated movie clips. Then, Log Balance will dare you to keep your footing as you navigate along a log above the water, jumping over knots and swatting at troublesome fish as you go. The Pinball game is a real 1980s flashback.

So, what about the dancing? I’m getting there. In order to win the game, you need to buy new dance steps. Once you’ve unlocked them, you need to learn how to dance. You must click the dancing steps as the flash on the screen. Precision counts, with precise clicks earning you a higher score. Timing also counts – you must wait for the steps to flash green before you click, or else you stumble. Your confidence meter goes up and down, depending on how well you do. When your confidence has run out, the dance is over. Learning all the steps proficiently will unlock the final dance. Then the dance competition is yours to win!

With the exception of the Trivia section, you don’t need to have seen the movie to enjoy the game, which means even generation Y should be able to play. However, since most of the appeal comes from the movie tie-in, its more of a game for die-hard fans of the film. The story, unfortunately, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you’re on vacation with your family, why are you working so hard? And, why are you interested in learning to dance? These things are never explained.

There is also room for improvement when it comes to the mini-games. The Talent Show (a hidden object game) was repetitive with several ambiguous objects, so it was easy to get stuck. A hint system would have been useful. And, Bell Boy Bedlam (a time management-style challenge) was overly confusing to learn and too difficult to beat, even on the second level. I would have enjoyed a service game which allowed the user to serve customers directly, a la Diner Dash, instead of ordering four bellhops around.

I was disappointed that the mini-games generally lacked stand-alone appeal. As a collection, there is enough to keep you interested, but none of the games are strong enough that you’d want to play them on their own for extended periods of time.

While Dirty Dancing is worth the download if you’re craving some 1987 escapism, and offers a lot of things to do, the game play is mediocre. I’d like to say “I had the time of my life,” but I’m not quite feeling the music.

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