Dance Central Spotlight

LQ: 9


Brain grade: 8
Fun score: 10

Game Type: , , ESRB Rating: Teen Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 12+ Other Requirements: Xbox One Kinect Thinking Skills Used: , ,

Xbox One

Dance Central Spotlight is an exclusive title for the Xbox One system and its Kinect motion sensor peripheral. This popular dance game has single-player and two-player modes, and allows a second player to join in at any time by stepping within view of the Kinect and raising their hand. Players earn points by following the lead dancer on screen as if they were looking in the mirror. The closer players get to correctly executing moves, the more points they get, unlocking additional routines (there are up to eight) for each song. Though the ultimate goal is dancing perfection, the emphasis is on practice, and one does not need to be a dance expert to have fun. At the low price of just $10, the game comes with 10 popular music titles, including songs by Rihanna, Lorde, and, with the option to purchase many more favorites and their accompanying multiple dance routines at the Xbox store. This title has the potential to be fun for the whole family, though parents should be aware of suggestive lyrics and dance moves. We feel more comfortable recommending Dance Central Spotlight to kids 12 and older.



Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

DanceCentralSpotlightScreenshot1In Dance Central Spotlight, concentration is key. Players are instructed to watch and match the lead dancer’s movements as if they're looking in the mirror. Dancing in time with the instructor and the music is how players earn more points and collect dance move cards, unlocking additional routines for each song. Players who get distracted by friends and spectators, look away from the screen, or allowing small (or big) flubs to derail them won't be as successful. Dance Central Spotlight isn't stingy with points no matter a player’s skill level, and allows a player to stop at any time and practice a move until they think they have it by saying, “DJ, practice that!” The game makes the learning process fun by rewarding players who persist despite mistakes or general lack of skill.


Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

During each dance number, a queue containing the individual steps to current and future dance moves scrolls down the right side of the screen. Though just keeping up can be overwhelming at first, as a player gets the hang of some of the basic moves and dancing in time with the dancers on screen, looking ahead to the individual steps and dance moves gets easier and noticeably pays off. As your child progresses in Dance Central Spotlight, the in-game success that results from this kind of planning can open their eyes to the ways they can apply it to the real world.


Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

Dance Central Spotlight's non-judgemental approach doesn't judge kids for losing control but it doesn't reward them eitherDance Central Spotlight gives players visual and textual cues as to how they are doing during dance numbers. When parts of the lead dancer’s body are glowing red, that means the player’s movements aren't synchronized. When the lead dancer’s movements leave trails of light, players know they are in the groove. The longer a player stays in sync, the more points they get. Text clues like “nice,” “awesome,” and “flawless" swirl around the dancer’s feet, along with a notice that a dance move has been “collected.” Kids who play Dance Central Spotlight are urged to think about how their actions impact the future without actively aggravating them. If players get mad and stomp off, the game pauses. If they stop dancing but remain in front of the screen, they simply stop accruing points. The game never shames a player for leaving or not dancing well, and instead offers gentle encouragement ("Yeah, some of these moves are a little crazy...") making practice of mental and physical self-control a friendly and less frustrating experience.

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