Never gonna give you up!
People love dancing games. Even if you’re terrible, they’re one of the most enjoyable motion-controlled social experiences this generation, especially after a few drinks. Ubisoft is the undisputed leader of the genre, offering its game on all platforms, and has ramped up the vibrant colours and totally insane routine with Just Dance 4 -- but like a wacky uncle, that’s why you love it, in moderation.
The casual friendly menu presents just two options: the mainstay ‘Just Dance’ mode and ‘Just Sweat’, an energetic fitness routine split in 10, 25 and 45 minute workouts. The latter isn’t as detailed as dedicated fitness games, but it’ll get your blood pumping if you follow all of the instructions, and it keeps an eye on the number of calories you’re burning.
The track list is targeting a wide audience, catering for a broad range of musical tastes. There’s the flagship ‘Good Feeling’ by Flo Rider and other current pop hits from the likes of Nicki Minaj and Carly Rae Jepsen. They come alongside classics from Elvis Presley, Europe and Rick Astley.
Oh yes, there’s some Astley.
Oh yes, there’s some Astley. You can rick-roll your dancing family.
Just Dance 4 is highly accessible to even the most incompetent dancers, flailing their arms all over the place. Simply pick a song and mirror the virtual dancer on-screen.
A running progression along the bottom of the screen indicates which moves are coming up next. If you’ve ever played a dancing game before, these are simple to read. If not, you’ll pick it up after a few songs, and find the going a lot easier once you’ve memorised what some of the more complicated symbols are signifying.
The Xbox 360 version with Kinect is once again the superior edition, and the only platform that tracks your entire body and enforces that you actually dance. You could cheat and just waggle your upper body whilst sitting on the couch with Wii U, PS3 and Wii.
But that goes against the spirit of the game.
As an L-plate rookie when it comes to dance choreography, I actually prefer the Wii U version. It allows you to concentrate on a sub-section of the routine while you’re learning, as it only tracks what your right hand is doing. You can completely ignore the lower body requirements if you’re struggling to keep up. It also allows you to play in a much smaller area, whereas Kinect demands an abundance of space.
The Wii U version requires you play with a Wii Remote. The GamePad can be used as a screen to display the moves if a TV is not available, but you’ll need exceptional eyesight. I found it more useful as impromptu surround sound, by cranking the volume to full and placing it behind the makeshift dance floor.
Also exclusive to the Wii U version, which has an additional three tracks on-top of the existing 44, is Puppet Master. One player can use the GamePad to change the choreography in real time while their friends try and keep up. It certainly adds an element of challenge for anyone who’s memorised the stock dance moves of each song.
Just Dance prides itself being the light-heart, crazy dancing game. The routines are over-the-top and in noway indicative of how the average person would actually dance, probably, but that’s what makes it so fun.
Now, before you proclaim how brilliant you are, be aware that Just Dance 4 rewards enthusiastic dancers more than those who try and do the bear minimum or accuracy, so consider that before you build enough confidence to enter a public dance off competition.
Just Dance 4 doesn’t add much we haven’t seen before, but it doesn’t really need to. Its energetic audience wants new songs with flamboyant dance routines, and that’s exactly what they’ll get. However, if you’re a casual player, there’s no reason to own more than one or two dance games.
Just Dance 4 updates the track list with over 40 new songs and a vibrant, upbeat atmosphere. There’s something for everyone in the diverse track list, and gameplay has remained the same with the addition of new routines. Kinect is still the most accurate version and the only edition to track your full body, while the Wii U version adds a new mode and allows the game to be played in a smaller area, but does require a Wii Remote. Just Dance fans will get a good feeling, yeah!
By Ben Salter