Just Dance 2014 Review: Bust a move
Not letting a console launch escape its grasp, Just Dance 2014 returns to make us get off our butts, and dance in front of our TV screens. Much like its already established predecesors, JD2014 doesn't really mix it up all that much in terms of gameplay, so if that's what you were hoping for, you might as well look elsewhere. However, if it's a party you're after, you definitely came to the right place.
Get off the couch
Surprise, you'll be dancing a lot in a game called Just Dance! That's right, stand up and get ready to sweat as you dance to many popular hits of today, and some off-beat choices of yesterday.
Gameplay revolves around you mirroring the movements of the person dancing on screen. What's probably most contagious about performing these dance moves is that you're mirroring a live person. Unlike Dance Central, which had 3D models dancing on screen, these are real people that you'll be mirroring, and therefore it makes copying their movements slightly more natural.
Sure a high percentage of you will look absolutely ridiculous while dancing, but that's largely the point right? When you get a bunch of your friends together and perform 'Prince Ali' from Aladdin, which is a four person choreography, tons of laughs abound. Trust me on that.
The version I played was the Xbox One version, which allows up to six people to dance together. It's awesome if you're throwing parties of that size. Honestly, my living room can support up to four at most, so I could never try it out with the full roster. The tracking was also relatively spot on, even though there were times when I could have sworn that I copied the move exactly, only to be rewarded with a "Good" rating. It was a Perfect jazz square I tell you!
And of course, nothing says get off the couch like the Just Sweat mode, which is fully customizable, allowing players to pick and choose the songs they want in their playlist as they dance their calories off. The game also has a feature which can count burnt calories even when not in Sweat mode.
Popular songs worth dancing to
Aside from the obligatory Just Dance song from Lady Gaga, there are 48 other more songs that you'll be shaking your booty to. You'll find songs from popular artists like PSY, Nicki Minaj, Jason Derulo, Katy Perry and more. Of course, on the flip side you'll have a few tunes of yesteryear like the Ghostbusters theme song, I Will Survive, and YMCA.
Basically, no matter what musical taste you have, you're bound to find something you like in Just Dance 2014, even though the track list does weigh close to modern pop music than anything else. Still, that stuff is the most fun to dance to, right?
Want some extra points? Just start singing any of the songs while you're dancing. The game won't score you poorly no matter how bad your rendition of Blurred Lines is, but will award you for trying.
The world's a stage
Acting as an MMO of sorts, World Dance Floor lets players compete with one another online, allowing them to vote on songs and occasionally choosing sides such as Pop and Rock, or Wind and Air, and then letting the two sides duke it out against each other to see who can score more points. It's pretty neat, and does make you feel pretty accomplished when you rank first among all the different people you're dancing against. This is me officially bragging that I placed first.
The second multiplayer focused mode is the On Stage Mode, which simulates being a pop star on stage, complete with backup dancers. One player is the main act, while others are the backup.
Every song has some alternate choreographies as well as some sweet multiplayer ones that you can unlock once you get enough of the in-game currency. This is somewhat of a shame if you're busting this bad boy out at a party for the first time, with no prior gameplay hours logged in.
Unlocking these features isn't tough by any means, since acquiring the currency to do it comes relatively fast, but it would have been nice to have the option to unlock all choreographies in a Party Mode for instance.
Just Dance 2014 is certainly one of the harder Just Dance games I've ever played. Some of the choreography on there is tough as nails. It's good then that the game isn't meant to be taken as a serious dance sim, but I'll be damned if I'll ever be able to pull off some of those crazy moves.
Party in the living room
Where Rock Band and Guitar Hero used to own the living room, Just Dance has overtaken that popularity with a much easier setup, and no need for cluttered plastic instruments. Just Dance 2014 continues the series tradition of getting people in front of their TV screens and having a blast, even despite looking completely goofy in the process.
[Reviewed on Xbox One]