Review: Just Dance 2014
Badly mimicking dance moves, sweating profusely and realising that I’m as much out of shape as I am out of dance moves, Ladies and Gentleman Just Dance is back with a 2014 edition.
There are many words that describe me as a person but dancer isn’t one of them, that said I don’t mind stepping up to a dance game or two, as long as it’s from the privacy of my own home. Just Dance returns and will also be busting out some dance routines on the Xbox One come November 22.
There’s plenty of modes to play through, all of which can be accessed from the main menu although at first glance it isn’t very obvious what you’re meant to select first. You see, each mode is accessed by selecting a song, all of which are displayed in one long list on the main menu which can make navigating through the 47+ song list a bit of a chore. Once unlocked, each song has several modes to play: from dance battles to dancing with a chair! I did find the all important practice mode missing, it’s very much a case of learning on the dance.
Thankfully Just Dance is quite good at dishing out adequate instructions on how to perform the next move. Picture diagrams are queued in the bottom corner of the screen and serve as a reminder of the next routine but they aren’t very obvious what each move entails – step in the coach. Your onscreen mirrored coach can be selected from four different styles and provides the perfect cue for what you are meant to be doing with your arms, legs, body and feet. Even more helpful is the neon coloured glove that is worn on one hand of your coach, it provides the perfect guide to be able to sync your clumsy moves, although to start with you may look like me – flapping about like a fish out of water!
As with all Ubisoft games, the presentation is slick with cartoon styled dancers and funky effects that even the youngest will love. After each dance you can even spruce up your routine by adding special effects to the short video that Kinect has recorded. The speed of the recording is sped up slightly, helping my poor dance moves look far more acceptable. If you’re brave enough, you can share the video over JDTV which I found highly amusing and even shared some footage too – those that don’t have a sense of humor need not apply.
It’s all very well having an accessible and competent dance game but if the tunes aren’t quite right then the whole experience falls flat and this is where Just Dance excels. The tunes are incredibly catchy and you’ll probably know all the words (come on now, be honest) so why if Kinect has a built-in mic can’t we also sing along? Check another box for Just Dance. With full lyrics including cues for when you should sing, Just Dance has karaoke on tap with bonus points awarded at the end of each song for having a stab at dancing and singing. It’s a brilliant addition to the tried and tested dance game genre although you can cheat and just turn up the TV speakers, Kinect isn’t clever enough to recognise whether it’s you singing!
Each game profile tracks the total calories you’ve burned, slightly depressing when you’ve put in a monster session of dancing to see you’ve hardly burnt any! There’s also a ‘Just Sweat’ mode which is a fitness-esque crossover, you can do a dance workout for 10, 20 or 40 minutes going from one song to the next back-to-back with your burnt calories being tracked for that session – don’t think you can cheat either, Kinect tracks your moves and works out the calories burned appropriately so no slouching on the couch scoffing a burger while pretending to work out!
Just Dance 2014 steps up its dance routine by bringing more players together at once, it will become your go to dance game when you have mates over – that is if you have a big enough playing space to fit them all in! With up to four local players or eight players online, Just Dance is the perfect party dance game. Online multiplayer in dance games is something that I’ve found rather lacking in recent titles and no, leaderboards do not count as competitive multiplayer Dance Central! The World Dance Floor is the multiplayer mode of Just Dance, it’s here you can dance with and against your friends or take on random players. Beating online players in your party boosts you overall online rank, like leaderboards, it’s a pride and prestige thing. You also contribute to an overall community rank which will in time unlock additional songs for the World Dance Floor. Much like the main game, online is non-threatening, yes your gamertag is visible, but it’s completely anonymous – nobody will see your bad dance moves.
Completing routines will earn you Mojo Credits which can be used to unlock additional songs and modes within the game shop, which also lists content that is only available to buy at certain times of the year. Playing online during ‘Happy Hour’ also doubles your credits so even the most timid dancers among us may at least give the online mode a go with the promise of this bonus.
I found Just Dance to be extremely accessible, the only difficulty is the rating given to each song, rather than have a different routine for varying levels of difficulty the moves remain the same. This means all skill levels of dancer will be attempting to pull off the same moves, no problem for those that frequent the dance floor on a Friday night, but for us older gamers who may have two left feet, the moves can be a bit too much. That said, Kinect isn’t too fussy about tracking. Unlike Dance Central where you are judged on performing the exact moves, Just Dance seems to focus on your arm movements – it’s simply down to the individual to decide how accurately they want to mimic the dance. It would have been better to have been able to select what Kinect would judge you on maybe with an easy, medium and hard setting.
The routines are superb, well they look superb onscreen which is more than can be said about my moves! What I loved about Just Dance is that it’s pure fun, it doesn’t penalise you for not being the perfect dancer meaning that everyone can have some fun rather than feel rubbished by a system that asks too much of you.
Just Dance certainly got my sweat on as well as a large smile, yes I felt a bit stupid and I certainly can’t dance that well but I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun. The songs all have a feel good nature to them and you’d expect to hear them all in the club…well certainly the high school disco although Disney’s Prince Ali from Aladdin is a rather strange choice to include. Just Dance doesn’t alienate anyone, young or old, dance pro or Dad dancing extravaganza – everyone can have fun with Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2014.
Review: Just Dance 2014 Results
What we liked:
Easy going dance title
Kinect isn't too fussy about move accuracy
Brilliant, fun and a groovy party game
What we disliked:
Menus aren't well explained for those new to Just Dance
Four players requires a lot of room
No practice mode