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A well-polished but shallow game

DIE2DANCE by Calunio
- review by psy_wombats

DIE2DANCE is a game made by Calunio in one weekend for the RMN Game Binge #1, themed Disco and Fire, both of which are exemplified in DIE2DANCE.

You play an ill-favored demon tasked with reviving the Hell Disco Club. Your job is to give the dancers their moves so they line up with the currently playing music. That's about all that needs to be said about the story or premise -- this is an arcade style game and your real goal is to reach the highest score possible.


Unfortunately, this is by far the weakest aspect of D2D. This games come down to aligning the dance moves of our three ravishing disco dancers. After figuring out how exactly to input their moves, you have to try to match them... but that depends on your understanding of how the dancers work. Here's how things progress:

The game mechanics, all of them

Got that? Good. You've got 3 seconds during the intro to memorize it. Unless you can infer these from the dance patterns (and it's not something that I was able to do) or make note of them, most of this game will pass with you watching the screen and praying that the dancers will line up by chance. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't and then everything blows up.

However! If you do make note of the progression times, it becomes fairly simple to work out a pattern that will *always* work for any song. After that it's just a matter of patience to rack up the points, as the songs only vary in which moves to match, not actual mechanics.


This is about as solid as it gets. There's a neat mix of Calunio-style pixel art and higher res graphics with disco themes, resulting in something like this:

TFT is such a whiner

It'd be hard to ask for more than this in a full-length game, let alone a weekend binge. There aren't any clashes between the two styles, and the game has a unifying graphical theme. Well done.


This deserves a mention just because this game's background music is all classic disco tracks. It might seem obvious given the theme, but without the actual disco music (or with maybe two tracks on repeat) this game would be a lot more boring. As it is, there are maybe 10 songs to match to, and it should be mentioned that while I spent over an hour figuring this game out, I was never bored.

Also, each dancer has their own "OW" and I have to say the high point of this game was listening to TFT whine over and over again while being poked.


DIE2DANCE works well enough as a novelty game, but there really isn't a lot more to it than that. As an arcade game, it lacks depth and so instead of a learning curve, there's more a learning "jump." And as a casual game, it's far too luck-based to be appealing. It might be worth a download just to poke around the #meridiandance crew and see if you can work out one of the winning patterns, but this game isn't worth a serious time investment.

Total: 3/5


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Thanks a lot for the review!

I'm not sure if I understand your understanding of the game mechanics. I completely agree that they're a bit obscure, I take full responsibility for that, and I have short time to blame, and I totally understand what you said about "learning jump". But I don't think there's really a luck factor in the game, and to some extent, it's not really necessary to memorize the dancers info beforehand.

Each dancer alternates between a number of moves (2, 3 or 4, depending on the dancer). You don't have to remember that number, as when you poke them to input a sequence, it will automatically end when you input the last one. Each move lasts a few seconds (different for each dancer). If you're a freak and your brain is a digital watch, you could easily beat any sequence by calculating the exact timing of each move and setting each dancer sequence. If you're not, the inexactitude becomes intuition, but not really luck. What you have to do is just make sure each dancer has the right move in their sequence, and try to time their moves... which you can do by holding and timing when you finish the sequence input of the last dancer. Yes, it is a learning jump because once you learn that it gets MUCH easier, but before you do, it really looks random. But it never gets too easy because the time limit of each song gets lower from one song to the other.

I'm flattered by the "calunio-style pixel art" :D
Ah, I should explain what I mean by luck... At first, I didn't have a good grasp on how the dancers behaved, so I gave them a few random moves and the one move that they needed. Then I'd wait and see if their moves eventually lined up. If they didn't, I'd try again.

Eventually I found one that worked right away:
Left dancer: x x MOVE
Middle dancer: x x MOVE x
Right dancer: MOVE x

The time taken to input their moves allows the left/middle dancers to progress to MOVE, so when the rightmost dancer is done, they all line up and the song is won. It works for all the songs in well under the time limit. If I wasn't using that strategy, I only ended up scoring by chance.

I did get some intuition for how the dancers worked, but because when a dancer was off their MOVE, I couldn't tell how long they had before they were performing the MOVE, I was blind trying to line up the other dancers. If there was some mechanic where each dancer had all of their moves visible, (not just the one currently performed,) then I think there might be a few more intermediate levels between luck-only and 100%.
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