It's that time of year again, time for the latest installment of Ubisoft's popular booty-shaker. Just Dance 2014
hits the shelves this week. How does it compare to previous installments?
As you can probably imagine, Just Dance 2014
features the same formula that we've seen for the past few years from the series. If you're unfamiliar, Just Dance
has players mirror the on-screen avatar's movements, aided by little prompts at the bottom of the screen that give you an idea of where the routine is going next. Players are rated on how closely they hit these moves and are given an overall star rating at the end of a song. The game is fairly forgiving, so even those who aren't the most gifted dancers are still likely to have a laugh and not feel like the game and its moves are out of their league.
The garish, camp and extremely colourful graphics style returns, with the on-screen dancers decked out in styles to match the artists including the Ghostbusters
, the characters from Aladdin
and Lady Gaga.
The "Just Sweat" mode returns, but with the added ability to count calories outside of specific workouts and playlists, unlike previous editions. You can now simply switch it on and leave it running as you pick whichever songs you like from the hefty 45 song setlist
While the tried and tested formula has not changed, the game does come with a few new knobs and whistles. There is now a "World Dancefloor". This is a friendly, online versus mode that allows players to jump into a constantly rolling online playlist. All players dance to the same song and the best performer wins. The only thing that is displayed to the other players is your star rating, so you can dance to your heart's content without worrying about what other people around the world may be seeing.
"On Stage" mode is also a new feature. Although it can be played solo, this mode treats the songs like a live performance. There is a lead performer and singer (although the singing is optional) who has backing dancers performing with them. The routines for all of the dancers are incorporated so that dancers work together.
Whilst performing, various snippets of the song are recorded and then pieced together to make a little mini video of you shaking your thing all over your living room. If you're brave enough and don't mind potentially the whole world watching you bust out some moves, you can share this video over the likes of Facebook and upload it to the new "Just Dance TV" feature. This is the game's own little social network. Here, you can upload and share your clips for the rest of the Just Dance
world to see. You can also follow other players and keep up with their most recent clip uploads.
All performances are rewarded with Mojo Points. These can be spent on unlocking new songs in the game. Although these aren't "new" songs per se, these unlocks offer mash-up versions of songs, and "extreme" versions of the routine. This gives the game a long lifespan and more to work towards and play.
The game's setlist consists of 45 tracks that range from recent summer dance hits, to Disney tracks and old classics such as "YMCA" that everyone's familiar with.
The menu can (thankfully) once again be navigated using a controller rather than just Kinect, reverting back after Just Dance 4
showed us just how awkward Kinect-only controls are. Having said that, this year's game feels like it is asking much more from you in a good way. It no longer feels like the game is rating your moves based purely on your right hand as it did in previous editions. It now seems to take your whole body movement into account, although it still stays reasonably forgiving while doing so.
The achievements also follow the Just Dance
tradition. They are fairly generous initially, but then become very tricky as there are achievements that require four dancers, including one that needs all of the dancers to score five stars. There's also an achievement that requires the player to earn five stars on all 45 tracks. Just Dance 2014
gives fans more of what has made the series popular: it's bright and lively, but not as hardcore and strict with the routines as the likes of Dance Central
. Very much a party game, Ubisoft has created it for laughs and silliness amongst friends. With the lack of a new Dance Central
game this year, Just Dance 2014
is definitely the best dance title on offer right now.
The reviewer spent four hours playing the main game, as well as two hours in the multiplayer and gained 27 out of the 46 achievements. This copy was provided courtesy of the publisher.