Just Dance

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on July 1, 2010 in

I must admit that I was excited to try Ubisoft’s game Just Dance.  It sounded like a good way to mix exercise with fun.  I had visions of me learning the latest hippest dance moves to amaze my friends.  I put in the game with my eleven year old niece at my side.  I was very intimidated to pull out my dance mojo, or lack thereof, while in the presence of family but I bravely forged ahead.  I decided my best move would be to choose the Warm Up mode to loosen up these old bones.  The neon glowing silhouette of a woman onscreen took us through several slow motion moves intended to prepare us for the upcoming dancing.  Suitably relaxed and laughing from some of the goofy warm up moves, we then flipped through the song choices until she found one she could relate to.  And then the hilarity did, in fact, ensue.

The game interface is pretty minimal.  Center screen is displays your dance coach (the neon glowing silhouette of a person).  This coach, each dressed appropriately for the song’s style, leads you through the moves and grooves of each dance.  There are two score gauges to each side of the coach.  Each gauge represents a player’s score and fills as you score points.  If a player successfully strings together several moves they earn combo points.  Score enough combo points and the player will set their gauge on fire earning bonus combo points.  At the lower right hand corner of the screen pictogram stick figures scroll by.  These figures show a preview of the next dance move.

The Wii-mote is the only form of control over the game.  You must hold the controller in your right hand as you dance to score points on a scale starting from a miss (X), to OK, and ultimately Great.  There seems to be room for loose interpretation of the dance moves presented.  For the lazy gamer you could probably get away with merely shaking, swaying, or swooping the remote with your right hand and earn a good score.  The game relies heavily on the gamer’s earnest desire to dance.

The game is as simple as the title implies.  The objective of this game is to Just Dance.  There are three main modes of the game.  The first is Warm Up that helps you get ready for dancing, the Quick Play mode is a fast way to get to dancing, and the Challenge mode where you and three more friends can compete for respect.  There are three modes under Challenge mode.  The first is Classic.  Here you compete directly against each other.  The person with the most points at the end wins.  The next mode is Strike a Pose.  This is a dancing version of Red Light/Green Light.  Each player dances until a Stop sign appears on their score bar and stay still until they are told to Go again.  The final mode is Last One Standing.  Here the person with the fewest mistakes wins.

The song selection is a sampler of popular dance music styles from several of the past decades.  The thirty-two song list includes songs that rock the sock hop, rolls through the surfing craze, spins through disco beats, pumps out the 80’s and 90’s tunes, and slides home into a few recent hits.  They even slipped in a folksy country song for good measure.  Once you choose the game mode you have the choice of playing the short version of the song or the full version.  If you can’t decide which song they offer a Suggestion option that randomly selects a song for you.

One disappointment in the game is the Tutorial section.  I selected it in the menu to find it only displaying still screenshots of how to play the game.  I was really hoping to find a way to learn some of the moves they throw at you during the game.  I would have loved to have something similar to the Break it down mode described in the upcoming Xbox title of Kinect Dance Central.  A slow motion step by step break down of the main moves would have added a huge value to this game.  The Kinect game also has the bonus of evaluating the movements of your entire body and not just the movements of your right hand. I wonder if Ubisoft was unhappy with the motion tracking camera they introduced in the Your Shape Featuring Jenny McCarthy game. Strangely there is an ad for the fitness game on the back page of the game’s manual.  The camera would seem to be a better fit for a dance game control system.   Another item that would benefit this game would be the availability of downloadable tracks to add new music to the core game.  I would love to add more music to fit my mood of the moment.

As it stands this game is a very fun party game that had my niece energetically proclaiming this game as “AWESOME!”  The demographic for this game is absolutely the casual social gamer.  It is fun and allows you to get down and get goofy to your heart’s content.   With a little added effort I think this modest game could become a full fledged craze.  It is a game that glorifies the fun of letting go and having fun.  Some may not feel they get a full priced game value from this game but I am having a lot of fun making a fool of myself and getting my groove on.

A copy of the game Just Dance was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of examination and review.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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