Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 06/08/05 | Genre: Music
In the Groove is a Dance Dance Revolution (also known as DDR) clone from RedOctane. RedOctane first became popular several years ago when they began offering an online rental service for videogames similar to Netflix. They branched out and became the developer of the best DDR dance mats for all consoles. Now that they are firmly established for making peripherals and renting games, the company has begun to create their own unique gaming experiences.
Before we go any further with In the Groove, this review also made use of the RedOctane Ignition Pad 3.0. This multi-console gaming pad is the best thing I have used outside of an arcade. Players have to put together foam puzzle pieces and place it into a zipper portion of the dance pad. Once zipped up, you will have a dance experience like no other. The pad does not slide, is very responsive, and despite the high MSRP of around a hundred bucks--it is worth every penny to any gamer who is serious about their dancing game. To try it out, our Assistant Editor, Emily, and myself used a cheap third party pad (an old Konami pad that came with a DDR game) and tried them out against the Ignition Pad 3.0. While the dance pad can't make up for bad skills, it was simply amazing to see how much better In the Groove (and other games that utilize a dance pad) performed with the RedOctane Ignition Pad 3.0. If you can afford it, it will make your dancing experience improve dramatically.
Now that we have the Ignition Pad 3.0 out of the way, In the Groove may be a DDR clone but it offers a lot of features that are missing from the popular Konami franchise. The main menu features a variety of different play options. You have the standard one player option, one player with two dance pads, two-player mode, fitness mode, and marathon. Marathon is pretty interesting and intense because it has four tracks that play non-stop. I hope you are in shape for this one because I was not!
Players will find that the gameplay is pretty much the same as DDR. You have to hit the arrow button on the dance mat as it comes up on the screen. The difference here is in the difficulty options. In DDR, I found that their difficulty level was inconsistent from song to song. Some songs were incredibly easy and others were very difficult on the same setting. In the Groove balances this by giving you a true Easy and Medium settings. Once you go above Medium, things get really hairy. On the hardest difficulty setting, only the pro players will manage to complete the song without problems. I am definitely not one of those players. However, I can usually win any two-player challenge. My secret is I dance so horribly that anyone around me will fall down laughing at me. I get the points and they don't. Just ask Emily to confirm this for you!
The song selections for In the Groove are all very fun to dance to. However, you won't find many titles you have heard before. Despite this, I had a great deal of fun with all the variety of genres. I don't personally like rap music but dancing to it can be quite entertaining.
Overall, In the Groove, combined with the RedOctane IgnitionPad 3.0, is an excellent game worth picking up. Even if you already have every DDR title ever made, you will find enough variety, fun, and challenge with In the Groove to warrant a purchase.