Review by Typh

"Great mix, although it might bore experienced players."

Konami's Bemani studio developers, the geniuses behind Konami's rhythm games, have spawned yet another Dance Dance Revolution incarnation, DDR: Mario Mix. Although one may think this is a crazy idea, this is not the first time Konami decides to make a DDR based on popular characters, one example of this is a Disney Mix for the Playstation.

Did you ever feel like listening to the classic NES 8-bit music? Nostalgia, perhaps? Whichever the case may be, DDR: Mario Mix will revive those classics with new beats that will draw you to the dance floor.

Mario Mix features a Story Mode, Free Play Mode -you can play any song you have unlocked so far in this mode-, Workout Mode, which counts calories depending on the number of times you step on the Action Pad taking in consideration your weight; and at last but not least, the Mini-game Mode (more on this later).

The game is packed with 29 songs that you will unlock as you play the game's Story Mode. The songs range from the original Super Mario Bros. (NES) to the newest Mario-themed RPG, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN).

The following rubric will be considered since this is a Rhythm game:

Controls/Action Pad 10/10

The game can be played with either the Action Pad or a controller (why someone would want to do the latter is beyond my comprehension, though). The Action Pad is made by Nintendo, and it is one of the highest quailty mats around, it even tops Konami's Dance Mats for PSX/2 or Xbox. The Pad is highly responsive and again, it seems that it will last a very long time if you take care of it. And finally, yes, the Action Pad can be used with other games (although it is missing several buttons: X,Y, trigger buttons)

Sound 10/10

This is where the game truly shines. Although it may not have a big selection of songs, it has 29 remixed tracks never featured anywhere in a Nintendo game (aside from their original appearance, of course). One thing needs to be noted, though, 6 out of the 29 songs are remixes of classical music, and only one of them is 'worthy' of being there, one of the compositions from Mozart that was featured in Mario Bros.'s level start medley. (NES, not the platformer, the one that was endless), however, the other classical remixes are also good too.

The nostalgia factor plays a big role here, as you will find the songlist very surprising if these songs have any meaning to you, if not, it will just be a whole be a regular songlist featuring Mario songs you might have not even heard of.

Gameplay 9/10

The game features the classical DDR formula. Arrows will scroll from the lower part of the screen to the upper part and the player must step on these arrows to match with the rhythm of the song, this is pretty much it. There are songs that feature different BPM (Beats Per Minute) and this obviously affects the arrow scrolling speed.

This time, Mario Mix includes a new way of stepping on the arrows, called the Mush Mode. This mode adds Mario-themed elements and disguises them as arrows or even obstacles which the player must avoid. Although Mush Mode makes the game a little hard, it does not even come close to the difficulty of a regular DDR. Overall, The gameplay is still good, and the new Mush Mode offers a new way to play which makes the game more interesting.

Variety 7/10

The game only features 4 modes: A [very] short Story Mode, Free Mode, Workout Mode (which is nothing more than a calorie counter) and a Mini-game Mode.

Almost everything is unlocked by playing the Story Mode, and players will need to play it several times in other to unlock everything. This mode is enjoyable at first, but one you play it for 2 or more times, it gets repetitive. Secondly, the Mini-game mode tries to add a little variety but somewhat fails to do it, as most of the mini-games are not creative, except for two or three which are actually fun (Whack-a-Goomba comes to mind).

The Free Mode is very disappointing. There are no traces of the difficulty chart, no mods available, and there are also only 2 dancers, Mario and Luigi. Instead, the developers gave us a song list with nothing special, there is not even a Random/Roulette panel! The developers should have added something else or maybe incorporate some old elements from past DDRs.

Difficulty 7/10

There are 4 difficulties to choose from and one unlockable difficulty level. One may think the hardest setting would be enjoyable for DDR fans, unfortunately, sometimes, it is not. The difficulty on the easiest difficulty level is laughable, it is even easier than DDR's Beginner setting and you only use the horizontal arrows under this difficulty. Super Hard (the hardest difficulty level) is mostly considered to be Standard or easy Heavy songs on other DDRs (although there is one exception; a certain song can surely be a 9-footer).

Overall 8.6 ~> Rounded Up: 9/10

While Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix is a very good game which almost everyone can enjoy, experienced DDR fans might feel left out, as the difficulty is certainly disappointing and there are not many options to choose from. The game features excellent remixes from old-school Mario Songs, so if you have fond memories of those games and you feel like trying DDR out, you will enjoy this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/01/05

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