October 10, 2012


Lasting First Impressions of Just Dance 4

Developed by Ubisoft

JD4 Boxart» Just Dance 4 from Ubisoft is the 4th release is the very popular party dance game series and the second for Xbox360 Kinect.  I reviewed last year’s release, Just Dance 3, and wasn’t overly excited for it, but I went into this one again with an open mind and decided I needed to give the series another try.  I’m glad I did.

Just Dance 4 includes over 40 hit tracks from today and yesteryear, including such songs as “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, and even “Jailhouse Rock” by the King of Rock ‘n Roll himself, Elvis Presley.  Upon first launching the game and signing in with my profile, I was immediately impressed with the new user interface the team at Ubisoft created for this game.  Instead of the usual Kinect control of hovering over a selection for a few seconds to select it, now the simple motion of actually ‘pushing’ the button is what selects it.  It’s a genius interface but it’s not always perfect. There are times when I made the button press motion and my hand moved away from the selection box and essentially missed it.  Also, since everything is laid out in selection boxes across the screen that allow you to select and scroll left and right, there is no actual list of songs titles available on screen.  Instead, you must hover over each box to see what song it is.  This became quite cumbersome, especially when searching for a specific song. I would much rather have seen the complete list in words, instead of abstract images that don’t represent the song, so I could quickly choose one.  It’s not a perfect menu system, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for a Kinect driven title.

JD4 Screen 1Once a song was selected, however, the fun really began.  I played the game with my youngest daughter but the other two quickly joined in on the fun.  Just Dance allows you to choose to be one of four characters on the screen, some songs actually having up to four different dancers of which you mimic as if it were your mirror image.  Unlike other dance games such as Dance Central, Just Dance doesn’t want players wondering what they did wrong or worrying about their scores in general as this is just about having fun dancing.  After each song is completed, the players are simply rated with up to 5 stars and awarded Mojo points that award prizes such as new moves or dance battles as you gain levels.  If the developers just wanted players to have fun, they certainly succeeded in their goal because Just Dance 4 is most certainly fun and a simple joy to play.  You will find yourself smiling and laughing all while making what you are sure is a fool of yourself.  Even still, I didn’t care.

JD4 Screen 2Other modes are available in Just Dance 4 as well, including the Just Sweat Mode which I gave a try for, what I thought, would be a simple 10+ minute cardio workout.  For the next 13 minutes, the game gave me 4 songs in a row so I was dancing non-stop for over nearly 12 minutes.  The last few minutes were dedicated to a proper cool down period which included some real stretching; definitely something everyone should do after playing games like this.  I came away from Just Sweat Mode doing just that: sweating.  I couldn’t imagine going into the 25+ minute workout just yet. Perhaps I’ll work my way up to that one!

Just Dance 4 isn’t about teaching you dance moves.  It’s about bringing you and your friends together for a no-embarassment-allowed dance party where everyone has fun.  After each song, the game even puts together a short music video of some of your moves which is sure to garner many laughs in the room.  So bring your friends and family along, because everyone can dance!

Ubisoft, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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