Nov 4, 2010

Finger Dance Revolution

I'm a software developer by trade and when I worked my first job we'd always make fun of the marketing guys as "do nothings". We'd hear of them going golfing or out to nice dinners with clients and think "That's work?". Here I am 15 years later with a completely different understanding that marketing isn't just work... it's hard work! It's just different from what I was doing. And maybe that's why the marketing guys would make fun of us for sitting around playing with our computers while thinking thoughts similar to those that we had.

And now to change gears (don't worry as we'll come back to it)...

Finger Dance Devolution is Dance Dance Revolution for your finger. It's the second stop on my search for good music games on Android, but it won't be my last. Finger Dance Revolution is just what you'd expect. Arrows fly up the screen and you've got to tap them as they meet the arrows at the top with precise timing to score and nail the dance steps. The graphics are nice and the songs are generally pretty good. One disappointment is that the full $1.99 version has only 8 songs versus its lite (aka free) cousin's 4 and I'm not sure that's enough to warrant a purchase.

The graphics are good and the arrows move smoothly to the top of the screen. The touch controls execute well. And while this isn't nearly as satisfying as playing with my feet it is certainly a solid engine for this kind of game. Enter what I perceive as the big problem... the track data. Just like I didn't appreciate the marketing/sales department many years ago I think often we don't appreciate the intricacy of the skill a game level designer has to employ. And without good 'level data' a game can be left in shame. In the case of Finger Dance Revolution I just don't feel like the arrows match up to their songs very well. DDR always made me feel as if I was conducting the music. Repeated patterns in a song had the same dance steps and they were fun to repeat. I'd look forward to a particular song. It was a thing of beauty. Here, I don't feel like the arrows always match the beat of the song very well, and I certainly don't see that there are patterns used for similar musical sequences. Often I'll find myself adjusting to the beat only to realize I'm no longer tapping arrows. And I certainly don't see patterns matching up to the chorus of a song. It's almost as if the steps were randomly generated for each song and while I doubt it's that extreme, and I'm exaggerating this a little I do feel like this is the reason I won't be coming back to the game.
Conclusion? It's a shame to see a piece of software where the game engine is expertly developed, but that suffers from weak 'level data'. If you're looking for this style game, and there's no reason not to try out the lite version, then this isn't a horrible choice by any means. Actually it's quite good compared to what I've seen so far. Just not good enough for a 5 star review. I can only hope this gets fixed to make the game a 5 star title. For now it's 3.5 stars.

Edit: I'm more than interested in hearing from anyone that disagrees with my assessment of the level data.


  1. I haven't played any other Dance Dance Revolution games so I don't have a very good reference point but I thought that the arrows lined up pretty well with the beat.

    Perhaps the device matters? I was playing on an original Droid. I've done some development for Android and there are differences between devices that I think the individual developer (without lots of devices to test on) might not catch.

    As far as the level data, there were sequences, for instance during the bridge of a song where it seemed to be just throwing in random arrows to keep you occupied when there was no beat.

    That might be a good place for them to throw in some sort of sequenced power up or something...

    One other thing is that I'm not sure how I feel about the input being in a compass configuration and the header being horizontal. It felt like a mental disconnect to me.

    Although this isn't my type of game, overall it seemed pretty well done but certainly could be improved on.

  2. I am using an original Droid as well.

  3. Try TouchMix: only 8 songs but they're well designed (at least on Easy.)