One of the most timeless questions in the world of dance is: What do you do with your hands? Do you stick up your thumb like a hitchhiker? Flap your arms like a chicken? Wave them in the air like you just don't care? There are lots of options, and that's why Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party for the Wii is a little disappointing. Instead of going for grace and gusto, Hottest Party goes for random, nervous twitches. And if you're like us, you do enough of that when you're really dancing.
But aside from the lame Wii Remote action, Hottest Party is another DDR game with most of the modes, moves, and crazy arrows seen in previous versions. But unlike later PlayStation 2 releases, Hottest Party isn't completely encumbered with random modes and features. As a result, it's much easier to dive into, even though it doesn't add anything to the series.
In case you're new to DDR, it's a rhythm game that has you stepping all over a mat to hit arrows that match the corresponding arrows flowing up the screen to the caffeinated beat of a popular dance track. If you're new to the series, it's all you can do to keep from tripping over your own feet, whereas veterans lithely skip all over the place, seemingly hitting all the arrows at once. New to Hottest Party are diamonds that correspond to hand movements. If you see one of these coming up the right or left side of the screen, you move your right or left hand. It's not dancing; it's DDR.
Of course, you can turn the hand movements off and tweak a few other options, such as freeze arrows and other gimmicks, but none of these preferences are saved if you turn off your system. So, every time you play DDR, you have to reset them.
When you begin, you have three play options: free play, groove circuit, and workout mode. In free play, you just pick a song, a venue, and a difficulty, and then dance away. Groove circuit, on the other foot, has you traveling through venues and completing various challenges before battling each area's boss character. This is Hottest Party's single player bread-and-butter, and it should be somewhat entertaining for both novices and veterans alike. If you've played a DDR game before, you pretty much know what to expect. Still, this mode misses a couple steps.
Specifically, it doesn't have you progress through its tracks in any particular order. Right off the bat, you have a huge list at your disposal, as well as objectives like "Get a B rating in three songs." Any three songs. Although we appreciate the freedom, we think a guided tour through the tracklist is a better way to go. You're guaranteed to play everything at least once, and you'll probably enjoy something you didn't expect to like. But in groove circuit, you wind up dancing to the same songs over and over again.