Fantasia: Music Evolved is more fun than I expected

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Yesterday I rented Fantasia: Music Evolved (Xbox One) with very little in mind other than to use it as a background activity while having some beers. It turns out to be more fun than I initially expected, which is a pleasant surprise. Coming from Harmonix (of Rock Band fame) I guess I should’ve known up front it would be a quality experience, but Fantasia never really ended up on my radar.

The first thing I noticed about Fantasia is that it seems quite responsive and not at all unpleasant to play (something the 360’s Kinect was somewhat notorious for). Performing the motions feels smooth and enjoyable, and I can’t get enough sweep cues and punch cues. I just enjoy doing the hand motions. The visuals are also pretty superb, and I absolutely love the effects on screen as you perform.


I apologize for the rough cut between songs in the clip above, it’s a bit jarring.¬†

I’m quite early in the game and it’s not overly challenging, but I assume the performances can be made to be more complex as you progress further into the game. I haven’t yet been able to check out the multiplayer mode and I haven’t unlocked composition spells yet, but I’m excited to dive deeper into the Fantasia experience. I’m just hoping we’ll continue to see some quality Kinect games now that Microsoft has unbundled the Kinect.

If you’re looking for a fun family friendly Kinect experience this holiday season, I highly recommend checking out Fantasia: Music Evolved. If you want some more great Kinect experiences, both Just Dance 2015 and Dance Central Spotlight make for an enjoyable time.

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Just Dance 2015 and Dance Central Spotlight on Xbox One

Yesterday I played my first two Kinect games on the Xbox One. That’s not to say the Kinect hasn’t been useful, I love using it for voice commands, streaming, logging in, switching / snapping apps, changing channels, the list goes on and on. I just haven’t used it to play a Kinect game yet (I have used Kinect features in games and enjoyed it). Last night I downloaded both Just Dance 2015 and Dance Central Spotlight and enjoyed both quite a bit.

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I had never played a Just Dance game before, but right from the start I was impressed. I really love the sleek and quick menus and the collection of songs available is quite enjoyable. The game features about 40 songs but you can buy more for $1.99 a song (we bought a handful including PSY’s “Gangam Style” which is so fun to dance to I’m surprised it wasn’t included in the game).

Just Dance 2015 menu

A look at the menu on Xbox One. You can navigate either with hand motions, voice commands or with a controller.

The dancing in Just Dance 2015 is simple enough to make it accessible to just about anyone, but it can be challenging in a fun way with some more complex moves (some even requiring you to get down on the floor, or hold another dancer). At the end of the song you’re presented with a highlight reel edited by the ‘autodance’ feature which will make you look as good as possible (but still quite goofy if you’re me).

You can choose to share your highlight reel with the Just Dance community and even Facebook if you like. At the moment, however, the Facebook functionality in Just Dance 2015 is not working on the Xbox One for many users. Once it launches the IE app to connect to Facebook there’s a URL redirect error. I’ve e-mailed Ubisoft support (as have many other users) but I haven’t seen a response yet.

My highlight reel from “Gangam Style”. Not the best dancer, but hey there was alcohol involved!

Just Dance 2015 challenges

There’s some multiplayer functionality available in Just Dance 2015 as well. You can compete with other dancers by adding challengers and you’ll see their scores alongside yours throughout the song.¬†These are pre recorded scores you’re competing against but it gives you an incentive to up your game. I’ve also received challenges in my Just Dance feed from other players. I assume the game is curating these challenges rather than being issued by the players, but I haven’t played enough to know for sure. You can also compete against live dancers in the World Dance Floor mode, however I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. When I was playing last night there were on average 25 dancers online in World Dance Floor mode at any given time throughout the evening.

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Dance Central Spotlight is Harmonix’s dancing game available as a $9.99 download on Xbox One. As opposed to Just Dance which bundles 40 songs into a $50 package, Spotlight charges a minimal fee for the game and throws in a small sampler of songs (10 songs) and then allows you to purchase only the songs you want for $1.99 a song (some bundles are available for $3.49). I actually like this business model of charging just for the content you want. There are quite a few DLC songs available for download already with more to come (I picked up “Turn Down for What” and “Party Rock Anthem” so far and plan to pick up a few others).

Dance Central focuses more on a core set of moves and incorporates those moves into the various songs. The game wants you to learn those moves and master them as the difficulty raises and more and more moves are introduced. From my experience Just Dance has unique dances for each song and doesn’t reuse any routines, however this can lead to quite a bit of chaos (which can also be fun). Once you learn the moves of Dance Central it’s easy to nail routines and feel like you’re not just flailing limbs around like what tends to happen in Just Dance.

So far I’m enjoying both games quite a bit and they have me wanting to check out Harmonix’s Fantasia Music Evolved as well. I may end up picking Fantasia up in the few weeks to experience some more Kinect content. If you’re looking for some fun party games that make use of the Kinect I highly recommend checking out Just Dance 2015 and Dance Central Spotlight on the Xbox One.