Dance Studio Pro, by developer Drop D Studios, takes a unique approach to rhythm-based tapping gameplay on the iPhone and iPad, allowing users to create, share, and download music tracks from their personal iTunes collection. It’s a cool premise, and though the ends don’t quite stack up to the means, Dance Studio Pro is easily worth a look—even despite the three dollar price-tag—especially as the app’s user base grows, and more tracks are added to the mix.
Concept and Gameplay
Minecraft is to closed development on the desktop environment as Dance Studio Pro is to rhythm games for the iPhone and iPad: What we mean is, both open the floor to the end-user as far as game creation goes. Rather than supplying a preset list of tunes for users to select from, the app instead allows players to choose songs from their iPod library, and then create their own stages. This means there’s no longer a need for expensive track packs, as seen in games like Rock Band or TapTap Revenge. Rather, Dance Studio Pro makes full use of whatever the player has lying about on their iDevice.
When a track has been completed, the end result can also be shared with every other Dance Studio Pro user on the Web. Mixes are instantly available for download, free of charge, though the user musth currently own the song to match the step patterns, or there’s no beat-based fun to be had. If a user doesn’t have the necessary tune, there’s always a link to iTunes to purchase it, but we’re still a bit put off by this scheme. Considering Dance Studio Pro costs three dollars, we feel it should at least come with a few complimentary tracks, even if they’re only DJ-ing mixes ripped off SoundCloud.
Design and Graphics
We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Dance Studio Pro’s presentation: The app sports an excellent set of design elements, including a wicked graffiti font and grungy motif that carries the action forward. We were also impressed by the responsiveness of the app’s controls. Like TapTap, Dance Studio Pro has players slapping directional keys along the bottom of the screen in time with the song. These controls were quick to the touch, and though we kept accidentally pausing the game by clicking above the arrows, we can’t find a single flaw with Dance Studio Pro’s setup.
However, we can complain a bit about the app’s pricing: Considering there’s a $2.99 price of entry to enjoy Dance Studio Pro’s beat creation fun, we’d very much appreciate a set of complimentary tracks. Sure, we already own “Poker Face” and “F**k You,” but why not give us a few cheap remixes to jam to, as well?
Complaints aside, though, Dance Studio Pro is quite the cutting edge piece of rhythm gaming, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to give the app a test drive.
Dance Studio Pro requires iOS 4.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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