Can't get enough of 'Dancing with the Stars'? Game on

With the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars now underway, families who can't get enough of the show might be interested in "dancing" on their Nintendo DS or Nintendo Wii. Both titled Dancing with the Stars: We Dance!, the games provide different takes on the beloved reality game show.

Nintendo DS version

Dancing with the Stars: We Dance! (sometimes titled Dancing with the Stars: Get Your Dance On ) for the Nintendo DS is a rhythmic tapping game. As the celebrity and professional dancers from the past several seasons (but not the current season) take to the ballroom floor on the top screen, their dance moves send stars floating down to the bottom screen. The object of the game is to tap a star as it floats over its outline on the lower screen. How well you do in this rhythmic tapping affects the score that the judges give the dancers at the end of their routine.

For those new to rhythm games, the game offers both a tutorial and a practice mode. In those modes you will learn to tap, flick, trace and twirl the stars. When you are ready to get serious, you can explore the Season Mode. There's also a Quick Play option that lets you try just one dance.

Unique to this version is the ability to select your favorite dancers from the celebrity pool of Joey Fatone, Mel B, Apolo Ohno, Jane Seymour, Drew Lachey, Sabrina Bryan, Cameron Mathison, Jennie Garth, Helio Castroneves and Mark Cuban; as well as eight of the show's regular professional dancers including Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Cheryl Burke, and Tony Dovolani. You can pair up any two, even choosing to go with two celebrities or two professional dancers. The pair you select will appear in the Season Mode as your game participants. You can also choose the costumes for each of the dances.

The rhythm part of the game works well because it is offered on three levels of difficulty. Beginners should have no problem with the easiest level.

But, this game loses some of its appeal because the close-up character animations are so bad. The celebrities and pros are unrecognizable, displayed as blocky, bloated figures. However, while dancing, these blocky figures transform into lithe, graceful dancers that showcase the various dance moves well. This inconsistency in the presentation of the characters takes away from the enjoyment of the overall game.

Likewise, while the comments from the judges are made by the voice talent of Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, the show's real judges, their visages are all wrong.

However, since watching the dances is fun, the game cleverly offers you the ability to simply watch the dances in a replay mode after you finish the rhythm game for a dance.

Bottom line:Adequate rhythm game with poor character visuals but smooth dance moves — best for hard-core fans of the show. It has better one-player action than the Wii version.

Wii version

On the Wii, Dancing with the Stars: We Dance! is a movement game where you swing both the Wii remote and the nunchuk in different directions to match arrows on the screen. The arrows appear along the side of animations of the couple you have chosen to represent dancing. The game does not use real video footage from the show.

In this version, you are not allowed as much freedom in selecting dancers to watch. At first, you can only choose to be Joey Fatone partnered with Kym Johnson or Jennie Garth partnered with Derek Hough. Playing through a complete season in Show mode will unlock an additional couple. To unlock them all, you will need to play through eight times.

Playing the game using the Wii remote and the nunchuk works reasonably well, but not perfectly. Not all your motions will register, even though you did them at the right time. And this is a game that works better with a wireless nunchuk than one that is tethered.

The character animations in this game are better than those in the DS version, so that here, the stars are recognizable.

Bottom line:Passable motion game for the Wii that is fun for fans of the show. Since it has a two-player mode, this version is best for families and friends looking to play together.

Gudmundsen is the editor of Computing With Kids magazine. Contact her at