The Just Dance series is an interesting beast – everyone that gives it a chance absolutely loves playing it, but you would be hard pressed to find someone to openly admit loving it. Except for me. I love shamelessly dancing around in the privacy of my living room even though I know that I look like an idiot, and I admit that. Just Dance is all about indulging your guilt pleasure and it basically exemplifies what “hardcore” gamers hate about “casual” gamers. Blah blah, all of that nonsense. Notice how I’m talking about the Just Dance series generally and not this game specifically? That’s because besides the soundtrack and minor alterations, it has functionally been the same game for years.
This isn’t news to you, though. If you’ve ever played a Just Dance game in the past you know exactly what to expect. I reviewed this game on the Wii, but it’s on the PS3 and 360 as well and functions just how you think it does – the Wii and PS3 versions track the movement of the controller, the Kinect attempts to track the movement of your entire body.
You’re tasked with mirroring (note: not replicating as if you were standing side-by-side, but mirroring as you face them.) This sounds easy, but the dance moves can often get very complicated and the dance cards really don’t indicate what you’re supposed to do – this is still a pretty big problem. It’s really just a matter of trial and error and the longer you play a song, the better you will eventually get at it.
Graphically the game has seen a bit of an upgrade as the anonymous characters you’re mirroring have a lot more personality and even faces in some instances. Besides that though, there isn’t much to look at besides menus. Everything works fine and is very intuitive, loading times are short and the game tracks your movement well.
The soundtrack is hard to objectively evaluate because it’s music – it’s inherently subjective. That being said, I’m a huge fan of this game’s soundtrack. There is a little bit of everything in this year’s game all the way from Nicki Minaj, to Europe and even Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. Yes, Ubisoft is literally rick rolling the world in this game. Also, if you can do the entire dance for Livin’ la Vida Loca without laughing, you have no soul.
There are various ways to dance in this year’s game, but nothing revolutionary enough to make you buy it if you don’t like the series already. You can play through the song’s traditionally, but as you do so you are tasked with completing objectives within each song. Leveling up your “mojo” will unlock different game modes, song mashups, etc. Just Sweat is back in Just Dance 4 and allows you to play different routines designed to get you up and moving. There are dance battles as well that pit two different songs/stlyes against one another, as well as song mashups and general multiplayer. Overall, there are plenty of ways to have fun but it’s really just a matter of iterating on past success at this point.
The fact of the matter is that the 4th game in a series that has gained fame by forcing people to dance around in their living room like silly people isn’t going to convert any non-believers. Is it the best Just Dance game ever? Well, it’s hard to say. It has new features, new songs that are all fun to play and Psy’s Gangnam Style has already been confirmed for DLC (which should be a selling point in and of itself, basically.) I had a blast Rick Rolling myself and telling that cute imaginary boy next door to Call Me Maybe, but it’s also not for everybody since the game is little more than a fancy expansion pack.
This review was based on a physical retail copy of the game for the Nintendo Wii provided by Ubisoft.