ABBA You Can Dance Review


ABBA You Can Dance will be pretty familiar to anyone's who played the Just Dance games on the Wii. You (and up to three of your friends) hold the Wii remote in one hand and try to mimic the motions of the on-screen dancers. Each move is rated on a soft scale that runs from a complete fail to "perfect", and at the end of the song your success in nailing all of the moves is translated into a score. If you have a USB mic, you can plug it into your Wii and sing along with the songs as well. You can add the karaoke to the dance routines or simply sing without the need to dance along, but your vocal performances are truly karaoke in the sense that the game doesn't require you to hit the notes and doesn't score your performance.

The dance moves range from simple arm movements to more complex spins and slides, but the game can only really track what the hand holding the remote is doing. This has two consequences � you're not really required to do the leg work or body motions as long as the game thinks that you are and the game is far more accurate in detecting and scoring your motions the simpler that they are. This isn't an issue if you're just interested in getting your 70s groove on, but those of you intent on setting high scores or actually competing with your friends will end up frustrated at the game's effectively arbitrary scoring.

Not your momma's Momma Mia

The game includes twenty-six ABBA songs to dance along with, so you get all of their big hits (at least most of the ones that I could think of) and a number that you probably haven't heard of before if you started listening to music after disco died.  A number of the songs include original music videos starring ABBA themselves and these alone are a treat just to watch.  When you pick a track with a music video, your dance moves are reduced to a series of motions that you need to mimic as they scroll by on an arc to the side of the screen.  While it's fun to watch the original videos, dancing to them feels more like a game of Simon Says played while watching TV.  The other tracks without original videos feature dancers doing routines choreographed for the game.  Each dancer will have one of their hands highlighted in an eerie white glow and your job is to make your hand (the one holding the remote) do what your designated dancer's hand is doing.  You'll get a little exercise and have a little fun with these, but you won't be learning any moves that you'll want to take to your favorite club next Saturday night. 

The game also includes a musical mode in which one to four players takes on the role of one of the characters in the musical.  The musical is no Mamma Mia (I'm sure those rights came with a separate price tag), and you'll probably feel more like you're in some adult education drama class more than you're on Broadway.  The narrative is a thin love story set at a high school in the 1950s, which, quite frankly is a mind-boggling choice.  While you're doing greaser hair-combing moves to ABBA hits, you'll be constantly wondering why the musical wasn't at least set in the 70s.  Kind of tosses a blanket on that 70s party idea you were mulling over while thinking of picking up the game...

The 50s ... Elvis, Marilyn, and ABBA

This is what it all comes down to - if you want to sing and dance to ABBA because you love their music and just want to have a good time, then take a chance on it.  If you're looking for a game that will challenge your dance skills and your final score matters to you, you'll probably want to save your money, money. money.

Final Rating: 65%. More for the ABBA fan who wants to sing and sway long to vintage clips than the dance game fanatic.