Review by Kevin Cox
"Ouch... this is one addictive game!"
Like I said, this game is addictive! DDR Mario Mix is a great introduction to the world of DDR, as the game's tunes are fun, upbeat, and recognizable to long and short-time Nintendo fans.
The music in the game is just one of those "wow" factors. From the first song, the World 1-1 theme from Super Mario Bros., to the final song, Bowser's Castle from Mario Kart: Double Dash, there isn't a single song that's even half-bad. While I'm generally not a fan of remixes, especially on such classic songs I know and love, the 29 songs you can dance to are all spectacularly redone! Not even one of them is annoying... which is something I believe cannot be said for most games in the series.
The visuals are also just outstanding, with almost no visible polygon edges. While you're dancing away to a song, Mario and/or Luigi will be dancing away on the TV screen as well. Of course, it's never as boring as that. Every song has other things going on as well, whether it's all the objects in a cabin dancing along with you, outracing an avalanche, or even Koopa Troopas wandering around the background, this game is fun to watch as well as play.
Minigames are scattered through the game as well. They're a fun distraction, but not as much fun without the songs on each side. However, some minigames will give you up to 100 coins for a successful performance, so practicing them might not be a bad idea for higher difficulties.
And then there's the difficulty levels. Approximately nine in all, though four of them really just add fun Mario-style gimmicks to otherwise-normal songs. Easy difficulty is just that. Left arrows and Right arrows. Which is why I say that this game is a good introduction for the beginner, as I had never played a DDR game before. And I got a few "F" rankings on Easy my first run through. Higher difficulties add the up and down arrows, many more jumps between two arrows at once, many more eighth notes (sometimes even eighth-note jumps), and then there's the triples, which are faster than the eighth notes. Normal difficulty and up, your legs are going to get a workout. Super Hard difficulty with Mush Mode on... good luck, you'll probably need it. Especially on that one 180-beats-per-minute song.
The replay value, naturally, is astronomical. You can play Story Mode in eight different ways, once you've unlocked them by beating lower difficulties. And then there are nine ways to play in Free Mode, though those last two have to be unlocked. Some people probably won't rest until they've gotten Rank A on every song, every difficulty, and every combination of things. Which will take a long time, as Rank A demands that almost every single note be "Perfect". And then there are four songs you can only buy in Story Mode... on your second or later playthrough!
The game's biggest problem, ironically, is the Dance Pad itself. I find that it just slips around all over when I have it on top of a rug... maybe it would behave on a wood floor. That has led to my thinking I was hitting Right, but really hitting the directions of use between Down and Right. I'd get a weight to keep it in place, but my feet would probably slam into it faster than "Bowser's Castle" times "Dr. Mario".
Overall, I would rate this an excellent game that deserved its recent rerelease. It almost gives me a feel for what gameplay on the upcoming Wii will be like... DDR x DS. I like it, but my legs are burnt out from all that dancing.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/06
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