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Tough Non-Slip Dance Platform Review


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On 08/12/2010 at 08:46 AM by Jason Hillhouse

The latest and greatest in dance pads is "Tough" indeed.
RECOMMENDATION:

For non-expert DDR players.

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out the old Konami dance pad and played some DDR on the original Xbox. The long sessions and practice I put into the game in college got me pretty good at the game, and before long I was an expert DDR player. Performing the songs at that level really put a beating on the pre-packaged pad, and it slowly started to wear and lose accuracy as time went on. Hyperkin recently released a more durable version of the classic peripheral, which they have named the Tough Pad, and it certainly lives up to the name.

The semi-hard material that the pad consists of is extremely durable, especially in comparison to the flimsy plastic Konami’s version was made of. This creates a flat and stable surface to dance on every time, which is nice for those who just can’t drop the cash on a true plexiglass dance pad that's nearly identical to ones seen in arcades.

It really is a sturdy mat and serves as a great improvement upon the plethora of first and third party peripherals that have always felt a little cheap in their manufacturing. The arrows on the pad also have a nice bumpy texture on them that helps to keep track of where your feet are hitting throughout the songs. I certainly liked this feature as the pad slowly scooted across the carpet while I danced. The carpet shifting is common to all dance pads though, and the textured buttons actually alleviated the issue quite a bit.

Sadly, the awesome hardware aspects of this pad don’t carry over as well to the software side. In what seems to be an oversight in its design, the pad still uses corner buttons during gameplay. While I’m not 100% certain about the technical aspects of this, I do know that the Konami pad disabled use of the corner buttons during songs in order to stop any rogue arrow presses from going off.

For those unfamiliar with how DDR controls work, the X, Y, A, and B buttons trigger their corresponding directional arrow in the game and those are the buttons represented in corners of the mat. Being such a default behavior of the previous pad, it took me quite a few songs to realize why my combos were almost nonexistent. Every left or right arrow press would immediately be followed by an up or down arrow press caused by my heels hitting the two corner buttons. While this was acceptable behavior on low difficulty songs which didn’t require any nice combos to complete, expert songs proved to be near impossible to score well on with bad arrow presses being sent for every other step.

As much as I loved the construction of this pad, the issues surrounding the corner buttons keeps it just out of reach of being a truly great peripheral. It certainly doesn’t make this a bad purchase for average players in need of a well constructed pad, but expert players who are all about high scores and combos will be better off sticking with the first party version.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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