Strut your stuff.
The Just Dance series has earned a lot of accolades in its brief six year existence. It’s the best selling music game of all time, apparently – with over 50m sales – and Ubisoft looks set to add to that total with its latest edition letting even the most mal-coordinated dancers pull off some serious moves.
The formula is well-known by now: line up in front of the camera with a few friends and follow the onscreen prompts in time with the music. Perform well, earn points and then sit back in a sweaty heap to watch the often hilarious video replays.
"The Xbox One version reviewed here improves on last year by allowing as many as six of you play locally, which makes for some hilarious results – but bear in mind you’ll need plenty of play space.
Fans of the previous releases will be pleased to see that Just Dance 2015 is pretty similar to last year but has been repackaged with over 40 new songs. There are tracks here that should appeal to all ages but it’s certainly not the strongest line up. You can strut your funky stuff to a wide variety of tunes, ranging from fairly recent hits such as Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds” to the more eclectic Ylvis track, “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” and Frankie Bostello’s “Mahna Mahna” of Muppets fame. There’s even some traditional (!) Greek dancing thrown in, as well as the classic Tetris soundtrack to make shapes to.
The mega popular “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen and One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” provides the hook to get a younger audience onboard, while Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by The Bench Men are targeted at the older gamer. There are even some heavier tunes like “Walk This Way” from Run-DMC & Aerosmith for the rockers out there! My personal favourites turned out to be “XMas Tree” by Bollywood Santa and “Epic Sirtaki” from The Bouzouki’s – two songs I’d never previously heard of.
The Xbox One version reviewed here improves on last year by allowing as many as six of you play locally, which makes for some hilarious results – but bear in mind you’ll need plenty of play space. I don’t know whether it’s the more elaborate moves or the high tempo of many of the songs but this year’s entry seems to have a higher difficulty. It just doesn’t seem as accessible as previous versions and may put off some players (especially younger gamers). Some of the moves are ambitious to say the least, with leaps and twists, squats and mad gesticulation – but it’s still an absolute blast as a party game.
"During our playthrough we found the camera sometimes struggled to detect all players pre-game. What’s more, the game kept switching our positions so you sometimes weren’t clear which character you should be following. It was annoying but it really didn’t affect the enjoyment of the game.
The cartoon backgrounds add to the tone of silliness and fun, as does the sound of the audience clapping and cheering during some tracks, or the daft costumes that the characters wear.
The Community Remix mode is pretty cool too, replacing the stock cartoony footage that you need to follow with video excerpts of other players from around the world. Then there’s the Challenger Mode that lets players battle against other gamers online and a new Dance VIP feature that also lets you compete with special guests and compare scores with them.
Your efforts are encouraged by the occasional “Perfect” or “Good” popping up on screen, which boost both your points and place on the leaderboards. Occasionally Kinect will record your moves too, editing the clips together and replaying them at the end of the song. These can be saved, “enhanced” with funny faces or special effects and then shared online so fellow Just Dancers or your Facebook friends can see how truly daft you look.
During our playthrough we found the camera sometimes struggled to detect all players pre-game. What’s more, the game kept switching our positions so you sometimes weren’t clear which character you should be following. It was annoying but it really didn’t affect the enjoyment of the game. Despite the supposed power of the new Kinect tech, accuracy is not a strong point in Just Dance. It often fails to pick up your every move and you tend to be awarded points and “Perfect” scores despite stepping in the wrong direction or failing to flail your arms about correctly. Trust me, I’m not a great mover but I regularly beat my friends!
"Just Dance 2015 may not be massively different from last year, the track listing isn’t at its best and the camera issues can be an annoyance, but those issues aside, it remains fun and one of the great party games currently available for consoles.
Although track selection through the main screen is simple, finding your way through the various menus to find the game mode or feature you want is not intuitive. And there’s an awfully big emphasis on the social aspect and competing with others online too.
Personally, some of these features are lost on me, as I prefer having fun with friends locally in the comfort (and privacy) of your own home – there’s little appeal about the wider community seeing me dance! Still, playing online and sharing your experience with others globally works very well and is available if you desire.
Just Dance 2015 may not be massively different from last year, the track listing isn’t at its best and the camera issues can be an annoyance, but those issues aside, it remains fun and one of the great party games currently available for consoles.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Six players can now play locally and you can take on allcomers from around the globe. It’s still great fun and among the best party games available.
Camera sometimes fails to detect all players and not all your moves are picked up accurately. Track selection will not be to everyone’s tastes. Not much different from last year’s game.
The entertaining dance series returns, with new tunes, new moves and plenty of fun.