Dance Till You Drop In Just Dance Greatest Hits (Review)
This game was reviewed on Nintendo Wii
Come on, party people! It’s time to get your booties shaking on that dance floor. Show off your moves to the pumping music. All eyes on you, so let’s see what you’ve got! For the dancers out there, Ubisoft has got the thing for you, this time releasing a compilation of top songs from its first three Just Dance games into Just Dance Greatest Hits. Let’s see if this latest dance title will bring down the house, or leave people sulking in boredom on the sidelines.
For those of you who are new to the Just Dance scene, the series has players learning to dance to some of their favourite songs by following a professional dancer on-screen. If you’re the type that can divide your attention between items, there are also little cookie-cutter people scrolling along the bottom, depicting the next move. Although there isn’t a tutorial section in this game (other than the brief tutorial screen during load times), the choreography repeats throughout the song, and most gamers will find themselves getting the hang of moves by mid-track. And if that’s not the case, well, you know what they say: if you first don’t succeed, try, try again!
It wouldn’t be much of a game if all you do is play Follow the Leader. The whole point of the Just Dance series is to have rhythm; the better you dance, the higher you score. A Score Ball indicates the quality of each move, letting you know if it’s horrible (with a big red “X”), mediocre (“OK”), well on the mark (“Good”), or amazingly in sync (“Perfect”). At the same time, a Stars Bar slowly fills up as you gather more points, showing your overall progress during the song. Keep an eye out for Gold Moves (signified by a golden glow and special lighting effects around the on-screen dancer), as these will bring in tons of points!
For the Wii version, you hold the Wii Remote in one hand and your movements will be tracked. One thing you’ll notice is that the Wii will focus on your moves whether you’re standing or sitting. This is a great feature, as you have the option to rest your legs and still play. People with smaller play spaces may also favour the Wii over the Xbox’s Kinect, since the Wii doesn’t dictate the parameters of your play space in order to calibrate properly, as it’s tracking the Wiimote rather than your actual body. This does come with a small downfall, however, as I realized that the Wii couldn’t necessarily tell if I was doing the right moves. For example, I randomly waved my arm (while standing off to the side of the tracker), and still managed to score perfect – even though I waved my arm to the left when the on-screen person went to the right. The tracking issue isn’t very obvious when you’re playing, though, and people will likely be too busy having a blast trying to imitate the dance moves to notice tracking anomalies.
You won’t have a single still body in the house if you play this game, with its high-energy tunes from a mish-mash of genres. You’ll find that there’s something for everyone, from current Top 40s to 80’s rock, pop to hip-hop, alternative to disco, and so much more! What’s really impressive, however, is the choreography chosen for each song. In addition to the typical hip-hop and pop dance steps, Ubisoft went to great lengths to incorporate dances from around the world in the Just Dance titles. For example, you’ve got Bollywood-style for A.R. Rahman and the Pussycat Dolls’ “Jai Ho!,” the Kazachok (Russian squat-kicking) for Boney M’s “Rasputin,” and African-type dancing to Fatboy Slim’s “Jin Go Lo Ba.”
The graphics definitely lend a hand to boost the fun and energy factors in this game. The colours are vibrant, whether you’re looking at the dancer or the background. Players will notice that the dancers often change their wardrobe to fit the song and style of dance, either adding a level of silliness (e.g. the dancers dressed up like neon-coloured dolls in “Barbie Girl”) or authenticity to the package (e.g. the woman dressed in a sari for “Jai Ho!”).
Given the energetic playlist, those who love to dance may find that this is the perfect solution to an exercise routine. There are two main modes to Just Dance Greatest Hits: Dance Party Mode and Just Sweat it Out. The former is exactly as I described: you try to aim for the highest score by getting as many stars as possible. You’ll also be judged on your energy level and style at the end of each round, with the game telling you that you’re anything from Lazy to Wild, Creative to Energetic. You’ll have the option of having the songs on a Non-Stop Shuffle or a Quick-Shuffle (which plays the short versions of each song), looping without any interruption.
If you feel like adding a fun challenge to the choreography, you can choose to play Simon Says with any of the songs. In this mode, it’s everything as usual, with a small twist. Throughout the track, you’re tasked with watching your Score Ball, as an action sign will randomly appear in that space, telling you to either Stop, Spin, Clap in time to the song, or Shake Your Wiimote to fill a gauge. Careful: if you move when it indicates that you should stop, you’ll lose precious points!
For those who are into dancercising, Just Sweat It Out will be your new best friend. In this mode, you have all the fun of the Dance Party Mode, but you’ll also get a meter which measures your real-time sweat points by showing the number of calories you’re burning. Here, you have the option of a quick workout with the Free Session or a dedicated fitness regime with the 7 Day Challenges. The Free Session would be for you and your friends to play and work up a sweat together, whereas the 7 Day Challenges are for the hardcore dancercise fiends. The latter option asks that you create a profile and choose one of three challenges: 1) the Fresh Start, which is the equivalent of a 30-minute walk per day, burning 3,500 calories per week; 2) the Healthy Choice, which burns 7,000 calories per week and is equal to a 30-minute run per day; and 3) the Sweat Explosion, which is comparable to swimming 30 minutes a day and burns a whopping 21,000 calories a week! You’ll be losing weight and getting fit in no time with this mode!
Whether you want to dance for fun or get the exercise, Just Dance Greatest Hits is the answer for you. Play by yourself or with a group of friends… heck, pop it into the console at the next party! It’s sure to ramp up the energy in the room with its amazing soundtrack and kaleidoscope of colours. If you’re waiting with bated breath for Just Dance 4, this title will surely tide you over to this Fall.
Final score: 4.75/5.0
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