The Just Dance series from Ubisoft has come a long way since it’s inception in 2009, as a game on the Wii consoles. Since then, we have made it up to the 2015 edition of the game, Just Dance 2015, which appears on the Wii U, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. The series is notable for its adaptive controls based on the console that it appears on. However, it is most notable for being named after the 2008 Lady gaga hit by the same name.
At its core, Just Dance seems like its designed to be a game where players can pick up a controller, choose a song and get straight into dancing with as little effort as possible. This rings true with how the game is configured, where if you’re running it any time after the first, you can literally get to dancing in as few as two-three screens after the game has loaded. I found this to be great because I wouldn’t have to spend way too long holding the clunky Wii U tablet, and was able to simply place it next to me without moving too far from the dancing area.
If you’ve never played a Just Dance game before, basically, the main premise is that players dance around in front of their TVs/consoles in time to a fabulous silhouette that they must follow the moves of. The idea is that the player dances along to this fabulous silhouette and gets a score based on how accurately they follow its moves. These silhouettes are generally really plain in nature, but you can tell what they’re represent at a glance. However, sometimes, they get to be really odd, like the barbarian in Bonnie Tylers “I Need a Hero”, the animal suit dancers in “What does the Fox Say?”, and, the coloured dudes in the Tetris song. What’s cool is that on the bottom right of the screen, upcoming moves scroll in, so that players get a general idea of what it is that they’re supposed to do next. Combining all of these elements scores the player on how well they’re synchronised with the games dancer and gives them a little message to notify them of their skill. After this, they’re also scored on their accuracy.
One of the really interesting things in Just Dance 2015 is that it doesn’t really use the official dances to most songs, but instead relies on these silhouettes and their adapted dances on the songs instead. Following along with these silhouettes is generally easy enough, but it feels like the Wii U can be a sympathetic at times to player mistakes. Often it feels like players can exploit the Wii remote technology to better their scores without dancing accurately. However, this is also great, because it means that if you’re short on space to dance in, you can simply do similar moves and still get some pretty good points out of the game. It is, of course, always much more fun to try and do the dances as they’re prescribed, assuming you’re acrobatic enough, or have to room to roll around on the floor.
In our playthrough, we found that you couldn’t fail a dance, but you could always not score well. If you don’t score well, then you get a bad star rating, it’s pretty common to get two stars on a song the first time, but then as you learn, you double your rating. What’s cool is that every star earned is transferred into in game currency at a conversion rate of one star per one coin. These coins can be traded in for rewards later. After earning so many points and doing well on songs, players unlock some cool things, like new avatars for their player profile, as well as new songs. So if improving your dancing doesn’t have you coming back, then chasing rewards certainly will. Especially if you’re a completionist type.
The playlist of songs in Just Dance show a pretty big variety. These range from “hits” that you would hear on the radio, to some more obscure songs, like songs in other languages even. It’s always nice to see a few favourite artists included in the mix, with artists like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga included. Those were pretty notable for us because we’re fans of theirs. Much like in previous incarnations, there are also mixes available with songs being mixed together, as well as some alternative dance routines for players to unlock. Even more, if you’re short on players, you can look online for players if needed.
Overall, Just Dance 2015 is a lot of fun to play. It has a pretty decent variety of gameplay modes and features a nice selection of songs to keep players dancing for a long while. As a single player game it’s pretty fun, but it really shines as a multiplayer experience with a group of friends in front of the TV dancing their heart out, either competitively or just for fun. While the games controls can either be seen as a fault or a bonus, depending on perspective, Just Dance 2015 is still definitely a must own for anyone throwing a party, or that has an interest in dance at all.
Just Dance 2015 comes courtesy of Ubisoft Australia and is developed by Ubisoft. This was reviewed on the Wii U console. This isn’t the first Just Dance we’ve played, but its the first we’ve reviewed. We’re fans, of the franchise. It can be purchased on their site for ~$50.