Time to dust off those dancing shoes once again as I delve into the wonderful world of Ubisoft’s fourth instalment of their triumphant series that started it all, Just Dance. Utilizing the Xbox 360’s Kinect peripheral to sense the players’ movements.
There’s no better way to enjoy these games than in the confines of your very own living room with popular tunes past and present such as Carly Rae Jepson’s smash hit Call Me Maybe to timeless classics like Europe’s The Final Countdown.
Just Dance started off their series on the Nintendo Wii but with the release of the Kinect, it just had to transition to the Xbox and it does so flawlessly with its huge library of 50 tracks spanning a number of eras as well as downloadable tunes on the way.
Just Dance 4 doesn’t contain a story or campaign, however it makes up for this with Just Sweat, Battle and Dance Mash-up modes as well as a mode which allows you to just jump right in with a song without worrying about objectives and just to have fun.
Just sweat mode returns from previous games where players do a selection of dance routines which make a workout session assisted by an on screen calorie counter measuring how much you have burnt off, perfect for weight loss programmes or just regular working out session and saves on that gym membership you haven’t used for the past few months.
Battle mode is where players must dance battle with another dancer from another song and dance routine.
Both players have a health bar which depletes if you get moves wrong or they do better than you.
Once it depletes completely the dance is over and the winner is announced.
My other half and I found this frustrating as sometimes the Kinect struggles to read certain movements and it’s very easy to etch forward during more intense dance moves.
Dance Mash up mode was my favourite, players dance to a constantly changing routine and song creating a big mash up from this game and also includes songs from the previous Just Dance games.
Playing this mode with friends provides superb fun as sometimes you can find yourself looking a bit silly dancing to girly (or boyish) routines and depending on your sex, this can be humiliating.
However it also provides big laughs. I mean have you saw a full grown man dance to Christina Aguilera’s Aint No Other Man?
There is plenty here that would be perfect for parties and get togethers, however not enough here to keep solo dancers interested with lack of direction or a story mode.
Dance routines are demonstrated by a generic on screen dancer dressed appropriately for whatever song selected.
The dancers are coloured brightly with bold colours and are easy to follow as they stand out profusely from the loudly colourful backgrounds.
Up and coming dance moves are displayed on the side of the screen again they are easy to see thanks to the contrast of the on screen colour differences.
The graphics are nothing more than an on screen barrage of bold, loud colours which lifts the atmosphere making Just Dance 4 a feel good game and they never let up and the visuals are reminiscent of a James Bond movie title sequence. Sorry though, Tina Turner’s Goldeneye is not included.
Now Just Dance 4’s biggest problem is the awful menu navigation where players use their left or right hand to control a hovering 3D hand.
To select a song or mode, the player has to hover the hand over the song or mode and push their hand forward and backwards to enable the hand on the screen to press whatever is to be selected.
This mechanic does not work; merely selecting a song is pure frustration and serious hard work as selecting the wrong song is far too easy.
Ubisoft have once again capitalised on the success of the dance game that started it all and created arguably the best dance game on the market.
The feel-good nature of the game makes this accessible for everyone and will provide laughs and loads of fun at parties or get togethers with its on screen rainbow coloured slap in the face and a song library made for young and old players and with the recent release of PSY’s K-pop smash hit Gangnam Style downloadable from the marketplace. There’s so much fun to be had here. The best dance game out there.
Just Dance 4
Genre: dance Interactive
Release date: 2nd October 2012 (30th November WiiU)
Story – 2/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Graphics – 5/5
Overall – 4/5