I admit it. I’m a sucker for a good song, and I may or may not be that crazy car dancer you saw the other day from the corner of your eye. Needless to say, when my family is looking for something to do inside (hello, November in Chicago), we all turn to our Xbox Kinect and the Just Dance series. Yes, we do own almost all of them, and it’s amazing how much they’ve changed since the first one. When Ubisoft and Clever Girls asked me to do a Just Dance 2015 review, you know I jumped at the chance. Or maybe I boogied?
The new version of Just Dance offers some new fun and options in addition to new songs. One of the challenges we had – especially when four people were playing at once – was remembering or figuring out who was which person on the screen. Now, the game shows the color and name of the character before each dance as it always did but with a great twist of including your face below your assigned character. No more confusion, and we were all happy!
You are also able to choose your own avatar from a selection, and as you dance to songs, you unlock more from a snowflake for dancing to Let It Go (which you knew would be on this version) or a curly headed caricature for Get Low and more. At the end of each song where you unlock the new avatar, you can see the outlines of all the ones you haven’t unlocked as well as all those you have, which is a great motivation to keep dancing – and trying new songs.
Gaining control of the Kinect sensor is so much easier now, too. Instead of waving your hand in just he right way, you can now gain control by raising your hand, something that means I no longer have to crawl in front of the wee ones and wave for them then sneak out without the sensor realizing it and trying to track me. This made the game much easier for everyone – and a whole lot less frustrating. The only part that became harder was flipping through songs. Instead of swiping to the left or to the right to see the next three songs, you have to hold steady on an arrow to move to the right or left, which takes more time and concentration to hold your hand perfectly still. The kids’ favorite part though? Getting to simply say “Just dance!” when they’re ready to go to start the song as an option instead of using the hand command.
The songs are just as fun as you would expect. Though there are plenty of new songs like Rihanna’s Diamonds and Katie Perry’s Birthday, there are also classics from Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell to Only You by Love Letter and songs I grew up loving like Walk This Way by Aerosmith and Run DMC and You Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive (and yes, I do have that going through my head just from typing it). The variety means that everyone can find something they enjoy listening to, and I love the lyrics to each song on the side that allow you to sing along and earn bonus points – and who can’t use bonus points in Just Dance 2015?
The dance moves can be difficult in some songs, but many I felt were easier than in previous versions, which means kids can enjoy it even more. You can see a chart along the side of the game showing a bar chart of the players’ scores so it’s easy to see how close you are to the next star – and how close you are to overtaking your opponent.
The opponents are fun, too. Like previous versions, you can play with up to four people. Interestingly, the four people no longer have to be in the same room as you. You can add challengers to your game, either friends or random folk if you’re connected online or “fake” challengers if you aren’t connected. This makes it more fun to play with a group that isn’t gathered together, and for those who are playing it alone (like me when I’m not able to make it to my Zumba class and know I need the exercise!), it makes it more fun to compete against someone.
At the end of each song, there is a recap, as there has always been. In addition to the still photos that show the action of the game, the new version shares video clips that are tweaked to change speed and show various parts of the song knit together. It is a hoot to watch, and the cries of “I don’t remember doing that” I heard from Little Miss and her friend all afternoon long. More fun is the ability to change the effects of the video recaps. Technology has come so far. You can easily adjust the effects to show an extra large head on each person, a frog in place of your normal head, dancing on fire, and more. It’s cute and a lot of fun – and if you have one you particularly would like to share, it’s easy to connect and share, too.
Sharing is one of the cool things about Just Dance 2015, and I love how Ubisoft and the Just Dance franchise see that they are part of a larger world and can have an impact on it beyond providing a great way to have fun and get a little exercise at the same time. They have partnered with Stomp Out Bullying to bring awareness to National Bullying Prevention Month with the theme that it’s ok to dance to your own beat. All 40 plus songs within the game have that theme, and some of the Stomp Out Bullying stories demonstrate why this is such an important – and perfect – partnership.
Just Dance 2015 is available for WiiU, Xbox One, Xbox Kinect, and Playstation.3 and 4 via all your standard retailers, including Amazon (affiliate link). I can’t wait to see what’s next!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.