A mishap during an audition for Julliard left me hanging up my dance shoes – and my dreams of superstardom. Thankfully, Just Dance 2020 made me reconsider my getting back in the ring, er, on the dance floor. Just Dance 2020 is Ubisoft’s 11th game in the main series, and 25th overall release with the Just Dance name in America (29th if you include Japanese releases). That might sound like a lot of games, which it is, but the popularity of a dancing franchise still going strong after all these years is nothing to sneeze at. It is, though, something to dance to.
According to the game, I’m a ‘Megastar’ dancer. At least that’s the title Just Dance 2020 graciously bestowed upon me. Though I do have some, albeit limited, dance skills the biggest reason why I’m so enamored with the game isn’t the honorific title it gave me, but because it’s an excellent dancing simulator that encourages you to get up and shake your booty to some of today’s hottest tunes.
The tracking in the game isn’t the most accurate at counting your score, especially when I sat down at one point but kept waving my hands to the beat of an intricate song (which earned me a ‘FANTASTIC’). This means I’m either super skilled or it’s just really easy to trick. But this isn’t new for the Just Dance franchise, so just go with the flow and you’ll have a great time. However, you do require some semblance of rhythm and the game does track you well enough to make it appear almost like exercise. The game gave me the chance to move around and keep pace to a rhythm with something I never would’ve done without the game coaching me. Believe me, all that jumping and grooving like a madman did get my heart pumping, despite only using my upper body.
And there’s plenty to groove to here; Just Dance 2020 is packed with more than 40 tracks from today’s biggest moneymakers, with plenty of choices to shake what your mama gave you. A nice blend of classic tracks like “I Don’t Care” (Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber), “Bad Guy” (Billie Eilish), “Kill This Love” (BLACKPINK) and the unmissable “Old Town Road (Remix)” (Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus) will get you up and moving. There’s tons more, including hits from the Backstreet Boys, Chromeo, Ariana Grande and good old Daddy Yankee. There’s even a lucrative tie-in with Disney to help promote Frozen 2 with “Into The Unknown”. Yeah, I didn’t think Frozen could be danceable, but here we are.
During some of the more complicated dance tracks where my brain couldn’t catch up to all the movements, the game immerses you in colorful, saccharine visuals that visually explode over the screen to create a drug-induced dance journey (without pharmaceuticals). Few modern games have crafted such iconic visuals as Just Dance, making the game almost as much fun to watch as it is to play.
Just Dance isn’t just a dancing game where dancers compete against each other; there’s also an advanced version where you’ll go through as All-Star Mode in a ‘story’. In this mode you get to dance through the curated list of a song from each of the main games over the past ten years of Just Dance. The farther you advance, the more people you collect to join your dance team where you reach the last and final song that unlocks a new song for other party-focused versions.
Also, this might be the ultimate party game as you can connect up to 64 players without the unnecessary clutter of multiple controllers, which I thought was absolute genius. Though 64 players might be a bit over the top, it’s neat that a classroom of kids can participate in this if they desired.
Not only has Ubisoft launched Just Dance 2020, it has a new series called Just Dance Unlimited, a subscription service of 500+ songs from older games mixed in with some newer songs as and for $5 a month. The variety is incredible and it’s a great idea not just for Just Dance fanatics, but for anyone who’s really into sweaty dancing as exercise or just for fun.
Just Dance 2020 is a great addition not just to the Just Dance lineup but for anyone who loves to shake their money makers to some of today’s biggest hits. Even better, Just Dance Unlimited adds an insane amount of content for even more spastic booty-shaking fun on the digital dance floor. Sure, the actual “dancing” may be little more than waggling controllers and there’s no real punishment for getting moves “wrong”, but that’s not the point. The game brought back some of the love I have for dance as a primal physical expression of my love for music – and grooving to it.