I try to be objective as possible when reviewing a game, but Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2015 has pushed the boundaries of objectivity to a whole new level for me.
It is safe to assume I have almost never played a game like this before and was never inclined to do so either.
Just Dance 2015, as the title would suggest is a dance game and is available on almost all platforms excluding, of course, PC. Call me old fashioned but I usually like to sit down to play a game. So this was a little bit out of my comfort zone on a few levels. It also doesn’t help that I simply don’t listen to music.
Starting up the game will have you creating a profile, choosing a little picture or sticker and that’s about it. Then it takes you straight to the song selection.
There are 70 songs to choose from, each with a different dance style. There are also different dance styles to unlock for the same song. This allows you, even if you didn’t like the particular dance style for your favourite song, to get a go at it with maybe a style that is more up your alley.
There is a decent selection of songs and more can be purchased from the store if you seriously go through them all. They have many of the recently popular songs and few older ones to give the oldies something to move to.
Playing songs earns you in-game money and stickers for each song played. The in-game money can unlock the bonus dance styles for songs or let you purchase new stickers so you can mix up your player card.
At least half of the songs are your generic ‘doof-doof’ dance music, with little to no variation. This doesn’t help one prepare for a change in dance moves very well.
There is a bar in the bottom right hand of the screen that vaguely shows upcoming moves but the stick figure action poses don’t exactly give a perfect translation of what is required next.
The game cruelly rewards you with a short playback video of yourself busting a move. It records at a few points during the song and then at the end it plays this back to you.
This mini remix is called an “Autodance”. In my case it showed me how inelegant my dancing is. I’m sure reflection is a helpful tool and if you can laugh at yourself it can be amusing but I’m not so keen to save and share these types of video, as the game encourages you to do.
The lack of difficulty rating means there is no way to gauge whether a song might be easier than another. Many times I picked a song, started and decided I was just too amateurish to continue. Some scale system would have been appreciated or even different levels of difficulty so then the game could be appealing to the less rhythmically coordinated.
Even mini lessons for a set of dance moves would have made it less intimidating. To go through a whole song to find out what in it you can’t do doesn’t encourage me to attempt others.
The social aspect is rather big. You can share your short dance snippets directly to Facebook and with the world.
People can view and like your dance moves and you can eventually (with enough likes) have it put into a remix of other dancers for the world to watch and dance to.
You are able to have dance-offs with players from around the world in challenges with multiple players or send and receive individual challenges between players.
This idea is taken a step further with the “World Dance Floor”. Here you can join crews of parties and verse each other or dance against the very best as they have VIP celebrities (in the dance world it seems) to verse.
If you do not have a console camera (Kinect or PlayStation Camera), this time round Ubisoft have adopted smartphone technology. Download the App for iOS or Android, connect into the same Wifi as your console and grip your phone tight as you shake your booty and flex your limbs to the bass fueled rhythms.
Just Dance 2015 supposedly has a Sweat Mode (this to me was every mode) where you can input a calorie count and put together a playlist to help beat those fat cells.
Now while any form of dance and/or strenuous activity is likely to be fat burning I don’t necessarily want to combine this process with gaming. If you seriously use this dance game to help you lose weight, well, each to their own.
This game, for those inclined, can offer fun and a chance to laugh at yourself. For the more rhythmically challenged it is not a friendly way to introduce one to dancing.
It is also a game, whether or not I was good at it, I would not want to play for too long for the simple fact you’re likely to start smelling soon.
For those established in the dance genre and with a copious amount of lounge space, I can see this being an enjoyable game. There are enough songs on offer and variety of dance styles to try. It isn’t something however I’d recommend to newcomers or those likely to suffer cardiac arrest from strenuous exercise.