Dance-based video games have tried in every which way to be the next big thing and it's safe to say that the whole dance revolution has lost its steam and fizzled out somewhat. This doesn't mean that there aren't a few notable mentions worth bringing to people's attention. Just Dance 4 is the perfect party game that's not too hardcore with the points scoring, whereas the Dance Central series takes a more performance-based approach for the serious gamers out there looking to perfect dances and fly high terms of points and rewards. There are even multiple dance games which don the name of various famous music artists such as The Michael Jackson or The Black Eyes Peas Experience, both of which focus around the dance routines and songs of their respective titular artists. There really isn't much ground left uncovered by these aforementioned games, apart from that of the musical side of the music industry. Once confined to stages on the West End of London and various theatres around the country, Broadway music now has a new medium and it sits comfortable on a disc that slips into the Nintendo Wii to bring the Broadway experience into your living room.
Aside from the Broadway theme that runs throughout, the format of this game is nothing new. The procedure is much like any other dance game and involves simply executing various dance moves in time with a variety of high-quality Broadway numbers. Sadly, this is where the game's similarities with notoriously excellent dance games like Just Dance end. These dissimilarities are more accurately described as disappointing omissions of features that you would normally expect to see as standard in a dance-centric game. For starters, there is only one mode of gameplay which is the equivalent of the standard quick-play mode in any other dame. This mode involves picking any of the songs at your leisure and simply dancing along to it and scoring points for your performance. Though such a mode is at home in a game like this, it really shouldn't be the only format the game offers to the player.
Instead of keeping the player interested with the promise of unlocking some songs, everything is available from the outset, a silly error from developers Ubisoft that precludes the chance of any mystery or progressive challenge in the game. You can play with up to four other players provided you have the motion-based remote controls, with each player following a different dancer on the screen, each of which is colour coordinated. Having each player following different dancers allows for the layering of up to four varying routines. Dance commands also appear on the screen, though these often clash with the actions of the on-screen dance instructors. Since the game is attempting to be as broad as possible, you also can't bomb out of songs due to poor performance and are simply allowed to continue with a low score. This negates any sort of challenging aspect that this game could have possessed should the developers tried to have taken a risk or two in the game's production.
Players can forget the remarkable accuracy displayed by Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor in rival dance games; the tracking of your moves in Dance on Broadway is nowhere near as precise and moves simply don't register enough to make it feel like you're actually giving anything more than an average performance throughout. It feels as if the only redeeming quality of this game is that of its song selection, which ranges from Chicago's All That Jazz and The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Timewarp and further numbers from Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Lion King, and more. Still, there's only so far that the songs can carry the game since these end up having the life somewhat sucked out of them as a result of the drab visuals, lifeless on-screen characters, and generally poor sensing of your movement during the routines.
Rather unfortunately, this Broadway experience is lacking in both substance and style and feels more akin to a milking of a genre for all it is worth than a genuine and passionate attempt at bringing some meaningful, well-choreographed dance routines from Broadway to console game. While the songs are certainly a magical aspect of the game, they are the only truly positive dimension of it and are let down by poor graphics, lacklustre presentation, and absence of variety.