Review: Just Dance 2014

Game: Just Dance 2014 Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Out Now Available On: PS3/360/Wii U/Wii Version Played: Wii U

JD Story
Just Dance 2014 is a big year for the series. It adds a variety of online features as well as adding a new Karaoke mode. It will also release on the next gen consoles at launch. Our review will specifically cover the Wii U version and the functionality that the Wii U gamepad brings to the table.

JD presentation
Just Dance 2014 doesn’t stray too far from what you’d expect. The menu is extremely stylish but simple enough for players of all ages. Players are given the choice to either navigate with either the Wii Mote or the Wii U Gamepad. The entire game has an extremely fun, retro colour pallet and it makes it an absolute joy to play. Quite simply Just Dance 2014 looks better than any that come before it. Each song is paired with its own unique theme and that’s what makes the game so fun.

The song list this year really sets it itself apart. There is truly something there for everyone with favourites such as the Ghostbusters theme song and more recent hits such as Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’. Just Dance relies on its music and this year does not disappoint.

JD Gameplay
The main gameplay of Just Dance 2014 has not changed much from previous iterations. Your main objective is still to use a Wii Mote and follow the on-screen dancers to the best of your ability. Your performance is based on how many stars you can get out of 5. The better you perform will determine how quickly you unlock new tracks and modes. We’re glad to see that Ubisoft have not broken the usual formula too much. Just Dance is extremely popular amongst a casual audience and we can’t see this title being any different.

Just Dance Header
Just Dance 2014 has added a few new modes into the mix. Stage Mode is the first that we’re going to talk about. This mode places one player as the leader dancer with two backup dancers behind you. The whole idea is that you’re trying to replicate a lead popstar whilst your backup dancers complete a different routine. Our personal favourite was Battle Mode. In Battle Mode, you take your choice out of 4 mash-up songs. Each player will have custom choreography in which they go head-to-head in a dance off. The better you dance determines how quickly you eat away at your opponents life bar. Just Sweat is the final mode that is included for offline use. In this mode you dance to tracks like normal with a calorie counter showing how much that you’ve burnt off for each routine. There are a lot more tracks for this mode than in previous versions of Just Dance.

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We also found that Party Master was a great mode for groups of people. One player uses the GamePad and chooses which dance moves that the people holding the Wii Motes should perform. Not only can they change dance moves as frequently as they want, they can also change to a song of their choosing mid match. It adds a sense of uncertainty to what are usually familiar routines and is a great use of the Wii U GamePad.

The biggest addition to Just Dance 2014 on the Wii U is the added Karaoke support. You can switch on karaoke mode by tapping on the GamePad. You can then sing along into the GamePad’s microphone in order to earn yourself extra mojo. We found this a little cumbersome as it’s pretty hard to dance and hold the GamePad but it was still impressive to see Ubisoft adding new features into an already successful franchise.

Just Dance screen 1Just Dance 2014 finally brings the series into the online space. It features two online modes. Online Competition is exactly what it sounds like. You can jump online and dance to the same song as other people around the world in order to try to get a better score than them. It’s not possible to communicate with your competitors or even choose your song. You literally just jump in and start dancing. At the end of each song you’re presented with a dynamic leaderboard which shows your ranking amongst other places in the world. I think that we’ll see this space updated even further in years to come but it’s good to see the series pushed into the online space.

Autodance introduces video recording to the series. Using the GamePad, you can record 30 seconds of yourself dancing. The game will automatically choose parts of the clip into one goofy clip that looks absolutely ridiculous. You can then share this video to Just Dance TV or Twitter. There is also a pretty good system where you can look at other people’s videos, rank them and even give them a tag. It’s not perfect but it’s good that it’s there. You can also visit the Nintendo eShop in order to purchase new songs. We were shocked to see that new releases such as Katy Perry’s Roar was already on there as a free download.

JD Conclusion
Just Dance 2014 is the biggest leap that we’ve seen in the series since it’s debut. There isn’t a single person that couldn’t have fun with this game at one time or another. If you’re a fan of dancing games then this is a must purchase. It betters itself in almost every way which is what we’re looking for in a game. We’re excited to see how it fares on the next generation consoles in a few weeks time!

JD end