What else can be said about Ubisoft’s insanely popular dance-like-crazy party franchise other than it’s frenetic, wild, and continually topping sales records? Just Dance has for years now come out with brand new iterations over and over that make minimal tweaks, yet still manages to release a polished product that keeps players coming back for more. It’s a fairly easy Yay or Nay scenario at this point: do you like to dance? If the answer is yes, you’re probably smack dab in the middle of Just Dance 4 and its massive target audience.
It’s the same old song and dance (thanks for that analogy, Aerosmith!) for the most part, with minor adjustments. Ubisoft isn’t about to tweak the best-selling formula this late in the game. Once again across all formats whether playing via Wii remote, Kinect, or Move, you’ll select a track ranging from current chart-toppers to classics, watch the on-screen silhouettes, and dance your heart out. That’s the long and the short of it. Following the dancers on-screen is never as intuitive as, say, Dance Central with the breakdown of each step and coaching to get you performing correctly. You’re really being shown a series of moves and being told to mimic them to the best of your ability with only a brief preview toward the bottom of the screen for what to expect next. Most moves are repeated several times throughout the song so you have time to memorize them, but otherwise it’s up to you to figure things out.
There are some great choreographed moves here to be sure, but if you’re like most of the Just Dance fanbase, you’ll probably quickly devolve into arm-flailing and any moves you can think of that slightly match what’s being shown either solo or with friends go straight out the window. If you’re quick-witted and pick physical moves up easily you’ll come out looking like a pro. For everyone else, rest assured that the game will register even strange, erratic flailing sometimes for a good score. Score feels entirely arbitrary across the board, though. The game’s all about getting down and having a great time at its core.
There’s a brand new menagerie of songs available for your flailing pleasure, ranging from classics like “Never Gonna Give You Up” to top-40 radio hits like Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” or Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger.” You’ve even got the infectiously popular “Call Me Maybe” from Carly Rae Jepsen included – plenty of niche songs for players with a wide variety of tastes as well. There’s a re-recorded “Time Warp” even – a blast to play through. There’s an eclectic mix here for players to sift through, but that’s definitely something we’ve grown to expect over the years.
New to Just Dance 4 (despite the lack of updates) is Sweat Mode, which allows you to choose song after song to work out to while counting up all the calories you’ve buried while doing so. It’s a bit barebones devoid of any real type of tracking software, but it’s a quick and dirty way to get in a workout even if it just feels more like you’re having fun.
Neon backdrops, those insanely talented dancers who comprise the silhouetted Just Dance instructors, and a host of colorful, varied tracks to sweat along with work hand in hand to make Just Dance 4 yet another successful package for Ubisoft, who once again comes out smelling like roses without having had to change relatively anything. We’d fault them if these cheery cash-ins weren’t so darn fun, but they persist in being some of the easiest and accessible ways to get partygoers out of their seats and dancing like maniacs. Just Dance 4, you’ve done it again, but things are going to need to start changing if you want to maintain this relationship we have. Familiarity breeds contempt, you know.
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