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Diva Girls Divas on Ice (Princess on Ice outside the US) joins a variety of dance-centric rhythm games made possible by the Wii-remote and Balance Board. The tactile nature of the DS lends itself surprisingly well to the sport.
Sports games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive games. Depending on the sport, these have either an action or strategy focus. Popular sports games are often released on an annual basis, each year the game receives new player rosters and general game improvements.
Diva Girls Divas on Ice is unique in offering a fleshed out ice dancing gaming experience. Players work their way through a story that follows the divas from ice skating obscurity to fame (and, we imagine, their fortune).
As opposed to the higher impact of the cheerleading fun of We Cheer Wii or Cheer Squad, ice dancing brings the emphasis back to control and precision. Although a little more complex the action here has a slower pace and with it a more laid back feel. This is more of a proper video game with motion controls, than a rhythm action activity with a game tacked onto it.
The touch screen of the DS is used to make the ice jumps, spins and other moves. The directness of this interaction coupled with its simplicity make it both more accessible and useable than the Wii version.
As well as the skating, players can customise their characters. Outfits, accessories, and equipment are required by performing well to then be chosen for the next session. The skaters themselves also improve over time, challenge activities build their skills to unlock new and more difficult moves.
Young players will initially be attracted to the princess diva nature of the fairy castle setting and competitors. Although the skating itself is a big part of the experience, our six year old seemed to be as interested to meet Kelly, Gabrielle, Alyssa, and Madison and hear about their journey towards skating for glory in the Miracle Ice Festival.
Each ice dance can be completed in around 10 minutes, although with the various dress up decisions beforehand we found a good half an hour was needed to fully enjoy each round.
Very young players may find some of the exacting skating moves a little hard to handle. Once they get to grips with the DS controls they should be able to progress of a fashion regardless of their ability.
Intermediate players and those a little older will find the challenge of the skating more enjoyable as they work their way up the ranks.
Experts and those older still may want to try Diva Girls Divas on Ice Wii for a more fully fledged challenge.
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