Dancing is hard to fake. It's easy to look and feel cool when you're holding a musical instrument, and it's very hard when you're throwing increasingly complex shapes. It's to Dance Central's credit that it a) doesn't punish you for not being very good, and b) effectively trains you to become better.
Anybody can step up and play. The 31 songs (covering everything from Jungle Boogie to Rendez-Vu) are arranged in order of difficulty, but if you can't keep up then all you get is a low score - on the standard Easy mode, outright failure isn't possible.
Chasing high scores is the goal, though, and if you have two left feet and a soul which contains not even trace elements of rhythm, the Break It Down mode will teach you a passable approximation.
It takes you through the component moves, with the option to step through it in slo-mo if you want it. It's as supportive as the main game - if you repeatedly fail a move, the tutor mutters a few kind words and moves on
to the next one - but if you stick with it then you quickly develop the muscle memory to ace the songs.
And, well, it's brilliant. Once you get over the initial self-consciousness and throw your heart and your hips into the music, it's every bit as enjoyable as Rock Band and palpably better for you as well - if you want to know how much, the Workout mode bolts a calorie counter on to each track.
The only real gripes are the absolute certainty we're going to get rinsed for DLC - you'll exhaust the existing lineup quite quickly - and the lack of synchronised multiplayer: at the moment, you and another player take turns on an individual song, with individual scores at the end.
It's a fine party distraction but we'd prefer simultaneous play. You do, however, get told how each score compares to your Friends List, so there's scope for Geometry Wars 2-esque leaderboard battles.
The only regret is that it's so approachable as to make it less effective as a dancing tutor: the ability to muddle through moves and still succeed, and the lack of a hardcore boot camp that shows what you actually look like, means Jacko-esque proficiency isn't guaranteed. As an approximation, though, it's huge fun and one of the best games in the launch lineup. And even if you aren't an expert, you'll still knock 'em dead at the next wedding disco.
Great fun, and mildly educational