Persona 4: Dancing All Night
ATLUS

I’m not really sure why the characters from "Persona 4," a life sim/RPG hybrid from 2008 that’s spawned two fighting game spinoffs, are starring in a dancing rhythm game.

But I’m not complaining. Yu, Rise and the rest of the investigation team have some pretty sweet moves, and they kick it to some enjoyable songs.

The story of "Persona 4: Dancing All Night" stands alone, so if you like rhythm games but have no idea what a capital-P Persona is, you can jump right in and try to solve the mystery behind the world of the Midnight Stage. Or ignore Story Mode entirely and just do the songs in Free Dance Mode — all the dancing, none of the chatter!

There aren’t any earth-shattering inputs here: Hit one or more of six buttons, sometimes holding and releasing, with a control stick nudge thrown in every now and again. It’s simple, yet effective, wisely avoiding the touchscreen and touchpad altogether.

I’ll admit the inputs don’t sync up where I would expect. If you’re pressing the buttons to the beat — as you should! — the indicators, to me, seem to be on the front edge of the “now now now” circles, rather than centered inside them. Not the choice I’d have made, but once you’re aware, it’s easy enough to adjust to.

The other downer is this game seems better suited for the 3DS and its dual screens. There’s so much going on with the dancing that it can be hard to notice the next moves you’re supposed to input. I suspect that’s meant to be part of the challenge, of course, but a clean command interface on the bottom with pure dance madness on the top seems like another good option.

But the game we have is on the Vita, and it makes the most of its controls and graphical abilities. It’s another fun entry in the ever-more-convoluted "Persona" series, and it might ease the pain of "Persona 5" getting delayed to 2016. Until then, shake your groove thing.

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Copy editor and video game reviewer for The Courier

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