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JAEPO 2018 – DANCERUSH STARDOM Coverage

“Twenty years after the birth of Dance Dance Revolution, the next-generation dance game is here!”

The next game in Konami’s BEMANI series, DANCERUSH STARDOM (formerly known as ‘STEPSTAR’, ‘ShuffleDancerz’, ‘Dance Generations’), was at the recent JAEPO 2018 in Japan. The lines got long quickly as usual for Konami, but Bemanistyle was there, first in line to try it out.

The line closed to new joiners (temporarily)

DANCERUSH STARDOM

The game has been through multiple location tests, reported on (here, here and here) so plenty of details are already known. As a reminder, it’s a step-focused dancing game that tracks your feet with a large LED-filled sensor panel, like a DDR/Chunithm mix. There are four types of steps: step, slide/long, jump, and down (crouch). By default, the game will guide you on which foot to use (like Nostalgia), but L/R are not tracked and that guidance can be turned off.

For my turn, I completed the the Running Man dance lesson (more on that later) followed by Butterfly (kors k feat.Starbitz). Can’t resist the classics. The game’s very easy to get into and the timing/judgements are generally on the lenient side. Some players might be a little surprised by just how much freedom to move there is whilst still easily hitting the required steps. The game itself is inspired and designed around shuffle dancing specifically, and that comes through in the presentation. But the end result is a game that seems to strike a good balance between freedom and direction in play. Just my first impression, but it can live up to the ‘next-generation’ billing. There’s a definite evolution of DDR’s core concept.

NEW THINGS

Here’s a summary of the new things we learned:

Language Selection!

DANCERUSH STARDOM already seems to be geared up to challenge international markets. ROUND1 has already announced that the game will be coming to the US this summer, and the machines at the show were all multi-language. At the first select screen, players could also choose Japanese, English, Korean, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese for play. We took a look at the English mode and the localisation seemed pretty complete (if somewhat creative in places).

Lesson Mode:

One positive change in the JAEPO version was the LESSON MODE folder now being separated from the “How to Play” folder in the Location Test version. Aimed at easing new players and non-dancers into the game more gently, this mode teaches players specific dance moves and gives a little time to practice them. Running Man and Down n’Slide lessons were playable at the show, with T-step and Charleston lessons are also planned for inclusion.

Entering this mode does use up a song choice but may be worthwhile for your first couple of games, as the ‘unique’ step patterns aren’t always super intuitive mid-game. During the show, players who went through the Running Man lesson received special DANCERUSH STARDOM eAmusement passes as a present.

KAC DDR Finalist Fungah after completing the lesson
The special eAmusement card
4-Player Local Play:

Many of you will have seen the videos already (almost 400K views on Twitter alone), but JAEPO also had the first public demonstration of the game’s 4-player mode. With 4 players across 2 linked machines, dances can be performed as a unit. 1v1 or 1v2 is also possible! Reaction to the video says it all, but it feels fresh for the BEMANI series, and could be a way to bring new groups of players into the games (in a similar way to Dance Evolution, Taiko, etc.).

When played on Premium Mode, players can record their dance routines and upload them through eAmusement (as described in previous reports). In the case of link-play, the dance videos from the two cameras will be automatically combined into one.

Dance Contests:

The recordings made through Premium Mode can also be entered into online contests. The winners will have their dancing/choreography added to the game – added in the form of the dancing silhouettes that appear to the sides of the note lane during gameplay.

There will be three contest varieties at launch – ‘Regular’, ‘Stardom’ and ‘Unit’. Details are not known at this point, but the Unit Contest will only be open to groups of 3-4 players playing with local matching.

Local Matching Bonuses:

Players will be able to unlock songs faster when they play through local matching. There will also be other special bonuses (of some kind) only obtainable through local matching.

Additional Changes:

The game has been polished even further from the non-STARDOM version we last reported on in November. Various UI elements were changes to have better spacing and sizing. The songwheel has been made even more color-coded to each specific song, as well:

The “stars” that you collect after each song have a limit of 200 now. Whether that’s indicative of a new “Dancer Rank” system, or an unlock system of sorts, or just the maximum possible…we will have to wait and see. Additionally, the CLEAR/FULLCOMBO/EXCELLENT splashes have been vastly improved!

I think that’s about it from the show, but we’ll of course be reporting any new news as it comes!

DANCERUSH STARDOM is scheduled for a March release in Japan, and in summer for the US. It will have 50 songs at launch, with around 4 songs added every month after that.

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