When Walmart needed a family to review the latest incarnation of the UBISOFT Just Dance series, they knew who to call. To outsiders, our obsession with dance-related games may not make sense, but they don’t understand how hard we can bring it.
For those who do not bust a move on a regular basis, the Just Dance series of games is a great place to start. At its essence, you choose from a wide selection of songs and follow the moves of the dancer’s choreography as closely as you can. You’re scored based on your accuracy… but that’s not the draw of Just Dance. Unlike Dance Central, which appeals to the serious, I-want-to-be-JLo’s-backup-dancer audience (like myself), Just Dance is perfect when you have a party with your friends and are looking for some laughs and good fun.
The song selection from current radio hits and classics to the completely obscure. It never takes itself too seriously, which makes it both approachable and fun for everyone. In JD 2014, the silliness is cranked up a notch as you dance along with a guy in a panda suit or do a group number as giant fruit. The ridiculousness is addictive and as much fun to watch as to play.
We’ve played nearly every version of Just Dance released so far and they haven’t changed much. However, we were pleasantly surprised that 2014 has introduced a number of new things to freshen things up. The most prominent is the new Just Dance Live mode, which pits you against other players from around the world in real time. This mode is highly addictive and really appeals to those looking for an added challenge. As you dance, you’ll see your rank update and feel the panic as some jerk from Brazil jumps ahead of you when you miss a move. I’ll admit to being embarrassingly pumped about finishing #1 in the world after killing it on Miss Understood.
Another enjoyable addition is the ability to share and view stop-motion like replays of your performance. Watching a family in France dance to “Prince Ali” from Disney’s Alladin or a guy in Mexico shaking it to Shakira can be pretty entertaining.
There are a few other tweaks to the standard game mode that were also appreciated. Group numbers now have actual interactions between those dancing, such as jumping on the back of your friend, which makes things that much more interesting. Replayability is high as instead of having to do the same dance to your favorite song every time, there are oftentimes several variations that you can unlock. Either group numbers, mashups, or “Extreme” versions which crank the difficulty way up for those looking for something more challenging. Even dance game veterans will be a pool of sweat after attempting the Extreme version of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been”.
It’s not without flaws however. The interaction with the menu system is a little better than the last version, but can still be frustrating. For example, figuring out how to exit from Just Dance Live mode was so difficult to figure out we usually just quit the game and restarted. We also wished that you could easily switch between Xbox Live accounts as you played so the kid’s high scores would be separate from mom and dad’s, but you can’t.
More importantly, even though Just Dance 2014 has several songs aimed squarely at kids, there are many that are not. Though the lyrics are censored, we didn’t feel comfortable with the kids dancing to “Get Lucky”, “I Kissed a Girl”, or “Gentlemen”. Similarly, you often pick a “team” when competing in Live mode and our daughter was asked to choose between the Batman or Kick Ass team, which surprised all of us.
For the most part, the family can still have a good time with Just Dance 2014. Longtime fans will enjoy the new additions and should add it to your wish list this upcoming holiday season.
Whatever you do….
Available At: Walmart
Pricing: Varies between $33.67-$48.98, depending on the game system