The Just Dance franchise isn’t talked about a lot in our gaming industry, nor is it one that often makes waves in the news, but its success cannot be doubted. Ubisoft has been releasing annual iterations of the franchise for almost a decade, selling more copies than they might have imagined. With Just Dance 2018, people who have been following the franchise are wondering just how they can take it one step further. Rather than trying to find new ways to innovate and bring in more fans, though, Just Dance 2018 instead chooses to focus on polishing mechanics that have already existed.
That’s not to say there’s no new stuff in here at all, though. There are a few major new additions in here that people who’ve enjoyed Just Dance games in the past will definitely appreciate. The biggest among these additions is Just Dance Unlimited, which is basically a subscription service that gives you access to a constantly growing selection of songs (which currently stands at over 300). What’s even better is the fact that you will have access to a free three month trial period, time which you can use very well to go through its larger offering of songs.
Unfortunately, though, Just Dance 2018 seems to rely on this service a little too much, since the actual selection of songs included in the game is underwhelming. There are a few good selections here and there, with artists such as Queen and Beyoncé featured as well, but for every song you might like, there are a lot more that you will probably find annoying- to say the least. Even beyond the issue of quality, the fact remains that there’s just not enough songs in Just Dance 2018 by itself, and chances are, if you’re looking for a proper experience, you might have to end up signing up for Just Dance Unlimited for more songs. And yes, having access to Just Dance Unlimited admittedly mutes that criticism a little bit, but it should be remembered that after the first three months, it becomes a paid service, and not everyone may be willing to spend money on it.
"Even beyond the issue of quality, the fact remains that there’s just not enough songs in Just Dance 2018 by itself, and chances are, if you’re looking for a proper experience, you might have to end up signing up for Just Dance Unlimited for more songs."
Another addition in Just Dance 2018 is the Kids mode, a mode that is specifically made with younger audiences in mind (as the name itself suggests). The inclusion of the mode itself isn’t ground-breaking, nor does it sate any kind of a long-time thirst of series fans, but it’s inclusion is appreciated. The mode can provide a different kind of dancing fun, adding variation to the entire experience, and those who belong to younger audiences and want to get into Just Dance can now do so much more easily as well.
Last year’s Just Dance Machine makes a return as well, though it’s hardly recognizable. Rather than being the same utterly bizarre and over-the-top experience it was in last year’s game, in Just Dance 2018, it’s a much more streamlined and “normal” experience, under the new name of Dance Lab. Dance Lab allows you to play through unlockable episodes, and though it involves quite a lot of conventional dancing as well, every now and again the game will ask you to mix it up with ridiculous requirements, such as the “being a ninja” dance.
It’s a mode that’s good for short bursts of dancing, if you’re into that, and also contributed significantly towards making sure the game doesn’t ever get too same-y or monotonous. Also making a return is the Fitness mode, which now tracks how many calories you’ve burnt in real time. Really, all that can be said about this is that it’s a neat option for those who’re into the “fitness via dancing” stuff, since the game generally accomplishes what it’s attempting in this mode rather solidly.
"World Dance Floor itself is a perfectly satisfactory mode, allowing you to square off against other players across the world in dance offs."
On the competitive front, Just Dance 2018 is a rather bare bones experienc as well. On the online side of the things, all it offers is the mode called World Dance Floor, with not much else in way of options in content. World Dance Floor itself is a perfectly satisfactory mode, allowing you to square off against other players across the world in dance offs. By its very nature, you’d imagine it would be hard for the mode to do much wrong. It’s a one versus one dance competition, and for people who enjoy dancing, it’s a perfectly good means of entertainment.
Beyond that, though, Just Dance 2018 doesn’t do much to inculcate the competitive spirit online. It’s understandable, in a way, since the real fun of the experience comes from playing it with your friends or at parties, but it would have been nice to have more options if you’re looking for a competitive online experience as well. Offline, the hook of trying to beat your own high scores and star ratings remains as enjoyable as ever, and though it won’t encourage vigorous attempts at beating your own scores, it’ll do enough to bring you back for better performances.
Other than things that are newly introduced or features that have been changed or upgraded, there’s not much in Just Dance 2018 to talk about, especially if you’re already familiar with the series and everything that it entails. The basic gameplay remains the same as ever, though thanks to neat refinements, the game manages to polish off a few rough edges that have existed in the past. Just Dance 2018 isn’t a major step forward for the franchise, but for those who enjoy the sort of experience this series offer, it’s worth your time.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Just Dance Unlimited provides access to a wealth of songs; Dance Lab provides short bursts of fun and variety; Kid-friendly mode is a neat addition; World Dance Floor can provide good competitive fun.
Just Dance Unlimited is a paid service after the first three months; Songlist is disappointing without access to Unlimited; Not much content in terms of online competitive modes; Not all that different from past iterations.
A few solid new additions and strong reiteration of past mechanics make for an enjoyable experience, even if it is largely similar to what we've already seen from past Just Dance games.