Can an iPhone teach you to be a skilled ballet dancer? In my case, almost certainly not — but it's a whole lot of fun to try.
Bounden is a mobile game that pushes you to dance. Arcade and console experiences like Dance Central and Dance Dance Revolution task you with following on-screen instructions as you attempt to follow a routine, but Bounden provides much less obvious direction. It's a two-player experience, and each person holds an end of the phone with one thumb on screen. Each dance routine is represented by an on-screen sphere, and your goal is to move a tiny reticle around the screen so that you hit round markers located around that sphere. To do so you'll need to swing your arms in unison and twirl your partner in time to the music. You can't help but dance while playing.
It makes you dance, but it doesn't turn you into a dancer
Each of the five included dances can be performed a specific way — with choreography contributed by the Dutch National Ballet, no less — and you're able to watch videos of the ideal performance. What you'll likely notice instead, however, is just how little your routine resembles that of the graceful, gentle dancers in the included YouTube videos. Bounden makes you dance, sure, but it doesn't turn you into a dancer. Instead, it becomes a hilariously awkward showcase, as you and your partner struggle to move the phone around in time to the music. You'll come across times where it seems that you need to bend in impossible ways, and reach points where you've run out of room to move. The fact that one of you needs to keep your eyes on the screen at all times makes things even more challenging.
But your likely terrible dance routine is what makes Bounden so fun — it's like a game of Twister set to beautiful classical music. I struggled to actually complete many of the routines most of the time — you fail if you move too fast or too slow for extended periods — but had a blast anyways. Bounden is available on iPhone now for $3.99, while an Android version is in the works.