Believe it or not 2018 is nearly upon us (and some may say that 2017 can’t go quick enough), so an early Christmas present from the Ubisoft team in the form of Just Dance 2018 might be just the ticket to get us in party season mode and put a little more cheer into our lives.
But, does it offer anything that previous Just Dance games haven’t?
Just like all the other Just Dance titles, the 2018 offering is fun, colourful and entertaining. There is no complicated back story, no rules to worry about or the burden of having to get to grips with complicated controls – it is a case of choosing your song of choice and stepping onto the dancefloor/living room carpet, and getting your groove on.
I’m sure if you’re reading this you would have already played a dance game so will understand the basic premise – dance along with the character on the screen and follow their moves as accurately as you can. And there are plenty of interesting characters to dance along with including a snappily-dressed panda, blue alien and giant orange seahorse. But that is what we have come to expect from Just Dance games, and the wackiness just adds to the fun factor.
Displayed along the bottom of the screen while you are dancing are the song lyrics which enables your audience to join in by singing along, adding to the party potential. Also, icons that display the next move pop up, which I guess are there to help you. But to be honest I was too busy looking at the dancer to really worry too much about what was coming up next. Maybe they are more helpful if you have danced along with the song a few times and so already know every single move, but for me, it’s all about focus on the central character.
Copy the moves well and you will receive rank up comments (OK! Good! Super! Perfect!), ‘mojos’ and stars. There are a maximum of five stars on offer for each song and the more stars you earn, the more mojos you gather up. These are coins that can be used in a virtual gift machine to unlock new avatars, skins, alternative choreography, new songs and access to Dance Lab episodes. You can earn more mojos by completing challenges along the way which also help to guide you through the different options in the game, such as activating Sweat Mode to track how many calories you are burning.
The Dance Lab is a fun new feature. Each episode contains five different styles of dancing (in the loosest sense of the word) to master including bhangra, ninja moves and playing tennis. It’s a nice little addition that is a change from the norm.
Just Dance 2018 lets you choose between two different methods of control: the Just Dance phone app or using Kinect. Using the app is simple enough – just download it and connect to the game on your Xbox. You can use your phone screen instead of a controller to navigate the menus and by holding the phone when you dance, the game will monitor your movements. How accurate this is, I have no idea, but it seems easier to rank up in terms of mojos and stars by using the phone rather than Kinect, which points to the fact that Kinect is tracking more accurately. But, the chance of your phone flying out of your hand as your perform a more complicated move is also more likely. Risk and reward is the name of the game here.
The range of songs included is good, with more than 40 to choose from. They are diverse in genre with chart hits such as Bruno Mars’ ‘24K Magic’, classic floor-fillers like ‘Daddy Cool’, along with the odd novelty song including ‘Beep, Beep I’m a Sheep’. A genre new to Just Dance 2018 is K-pop with HyunA’s ‘Bubble Pop’ as one offering. Some songs are solo affairs, but others give you the chance to dance with a partner or a whole crew if you have one to hand.
There is also the option of subscribing to Just Dance Unlimited, which gives you access to more than 300 songs at a cost of £3.99 for a month. Don’t worry about missing this option though as you will be reminded several times during gameplay in ever inventive and somewhat intrusive ways. This was one thing that grated after a while and interfered with the light-hearted nature of the game.
From the main screen though, you will have a choice of three modes. Enter ‘Just Dance’ and you will be able to select your song of choice. Using different menus will group the songs into categories such as ‘Latin Corner’, ‘Easy Peasy Party’ and ‘Extreme’ to make navigating the songs a little easier, but beware if you have not subscribed to Just Dance Unlimited then many will not be available to you. Is this another sly marketing technique?
There is also a Kids mode and the World Dance Floor. Kids mode is a useful new addition if you have young children. The songs are a mixture of novelty, Disney and pop with simple dance moves that will keep the under 8s entertained. World Dance Floor, a classic Just Dance mode, gets another outing and allows you to battle against other players around the world as well as team up to beat a boss character.
If you like dancing, pop music and previous Just Dance games, then you can’t help but be entertained by Just Dance 2018. The new features don’t make it stand out a whole lot more than previous versions but maybe that’s because there wasn’t a lot to improve. Whether you are solo, a pair or a posse – get dancing!