For reasons unknown to myself to this very day, the dancing genre has become extremely popular over the years in large. This is partly due to the success of the Dance Dance Revolution series, which has been regarded as the "music" game of choice. Well apparently there is a competitor that actually has some fire behind it, and that comes from the Pump it Up series, which makes its console debut in Pump It Up: Exceed for the PS2. So does this game make you want to dance until the wee hours of night? Read our full review to find out!
I have to be honest with all of you, the whole dancing video game craze that has been going around hasn’t caught the likes of me, probably because I don’t have even a hint of dancing talent in me, but that is a total different story entirely. Now I did a little research (yes research) on this Pump it Up series, and I found that it actually has been around for quite sometime in Korea and in fact it seems as though they actually choose this game over the DDR series. Now although the two are extremely similar as you want to keep up with the rhythm on screen, there is one essential difference - the DDR Pad has four buttons and the Pump It Up pad has five. Sounds like a big deal? Not at first, but let me tell you that the addition of an extra button really makes a huge difference even you do get down with the game.
To elaborate a little bit more on these differences, the DDR pad looks more like a normal game pad (up down left right) while with the Pump it Up pad you have the four corners and the middle yellow button which makes for the five buttons. Having played and watched people on both pads, you can see that there is sort of a different style of dancing that you get with both, and it is interesting how one extra button can really make a big difference.
The actual game itself has two different modes to choose from, which are Arcade and Home. To be honest with you it is really hard to call these two as different, as the Home Mode is more of a practice mode that allows you to keep playing even when you make a mistake, while the Arcade mode just gives you the "you lose" screen when you mess up. That is really the only difference between the two modes, and let’s just say I prefer the home mode, as mistakes are my specialty.
The game itself has some good music variety, although I must say you’re not going to find some of the more notable names on the list. But that’s fine, because the songs they do have are actually quite good. You have some rap, some techno, some weird pop style music, and even some Korean classics as well. The amount of music in the game is good, and although I honestly cannot dance even to save my own skin, the game still had some good dance music that I could imagine myself one day actually being able to dance to.
The game does include some online leader boards, which means you can go online and see how you fair against the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the game does not include any online play whatsoever. This is quite puzzling, as online play would have been perfect for a dancing game such as this. Perhaps the developers are just testing the waters with their debut title, and will incorporate the online features further down the road.
Pump it Up: Exceed really just does not have anything that really separates it from the DDR series, besides the pad, which you can buy bundled with the system. The actual gameplay is mostly the same and there is nothing in the gameplay that really makes you say wow I wish we had this series earlier. On the same token the game is still solid, and the variety in the music selection was definitely a big plus as well.
Of course visuals are not very important for these types of music games, but then again you do spend a lot of time staring at the screen so it would have been nicer to have more going on, on screen. You of course get your fair share of weird animations and weird backgrounds, but there is once again nothing in the games visuals that you will say wow the developers did a great job on this area of the game.
Of course it is always fun to see yourself jump on a pad and make a complete fool out of yourself, especially when you have no rhythm and no skill in the dancing field at all. However I still did appreciate a lot about this game even if it never really managed to find anything new in this genre, which to be honest, seems to be running out of ideas. I must say the variety in music and being able to track your rank online did help my experience, but it would have been nice to have more multiplayer options to really increase the fun value of the game.
Pump It Up: Exceed is a pretty standard dancing music game that really is not going to overly impress anyone with its visuals and gameplay, although it has some catchy tunes to dance your troubles away. This game is once again going after a specific market in mind and for those that just cannot get enough of this whole music dancing genre, then I would recommend trying Pump It Up: Exceed. It will give you a new taste with the five-button pad, and it does have some really catchy and fun tunes to dance to.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.