Another Dance Dance Revolution game down! After playing through DDR: Disney Mix, I thought I'd jump ahead and try some of the Wii titles. There were quite a few DDR games released on Wii, and the first of these was called Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party and was released in the fall of 2007. The game is pretty much your standard DDR with the addition of Wii controls that add left and right arm motions. The Wii remote and nunchuk controls work much better than the EyeToy controls (which were awkward and basically more trouble than they were worth in the PS2 DDR games I've played), although they're still not ideal as you have to put a lot of focus and attention on them to get the timing exactly right. The game also has "gimmick arrows", which include things like arrows you have to step on twice and arrows that, if you miss them, cause part of the screen to be hidden. These gimmicks are included to a much greater extent than in other DDR games that I can recall (except perhaps the Mario game), and some of them are a real annoyance (particularly the arrows that spin around and don't line up with the screen until right before you have to hit them, which mean that they basically require you to memorize them). The game has the option to turn off these and the hand motions, which is an important and very welcome feature.
Otherwise the game is pretty much your usual DDR. In the main mode you work your way through various venues, but the challenges are all pretty basic, such as "beat any 3 songs on basic or higher" or "get a B or higher rank and a 50 combo". Along with unlocking venues (i.e. floating stages of different shapes with various psychedelic visuals) you also unlock songs and alternate character costumes in this mode, and after you beat the main set of challenges the game unlocks a new set of challenges that are much, much more difficult.
The game features a mix of dance tracks that include cover songs, a couple by the original artist, and a bunch written for the game. The songs are all pretty good, although the fact that most are covers will turn people off (although that's par for the course for the DDR series). I was disappointed in the new art style, which has a sort of Bratz-like aesthetic, and I was disappointed that pretty much none of the series' previous dancers were included. I was also disappointed that the game doesn't display your previous high scores in the song selection screen (although that's often the case with the DDR games), and it's also too bad that the game doesn't record a separate set of scores for when you turn off the hand motions, since they are so finicky and require a lot more effort to have on.
Although it does require effort to play with the hand motion controls on, they make the game feel fresh and more like a whole body (and mind) experience. In the end I would rank this around the middle of the games in the series that I've played so far. It's not quite as appealing as the games that feature just the classic feet-only gameplay, but there's a good variety of songs and it's still quite enjoyable. The game was followed up by two games that are extremely similar, Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 and Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3, but I enjoyed this enough that I'll be playing through both of those games before moving on to the other games in the series.