Just Dance 4, like previous versions, revolves around playing songs by dancing to a choreographed routine(s) that are followed using onscreen prompts. The set list of 47 tracks; with some being playable in alternate and mash up modes, offers a wide variety of genres, mostly from pop chart music. Most of the tracks are recently or still in the charts but there are some older tracks ranging from “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Dancing is easier than in real life, you have fewer people judging you as you flail about in your living room. Aside from that the game does the whole, bad, good, perfect for each of the dance moves that you attempt to replicate. There isn’t any real penalty involved with not getting a move, so carrying on as if nothing happened is pretty easy.
Each of the dance moves is preceded by a series of visual cues that scroll from right to left. Arguably they disappear too quickly as they are only on screen for a few short seconds. Normally it gives a reasonable impression of what you are supposed to do but with some more complex actions it does feel as though you aren’t getting enough information first time around. The dancers do however have coloured gloves which help greatly when trying to differentiate from left and right during dance routines.
Dance Crews and Duets are a little different from the standard routines. In standard games, moving into one of the four coloured sections does nothing for solo players. In Duets and Dance Crew songs it allows you to pick which character you will be emulating, by stepping into the corresponding coloured section. Each player then dances to the appropriately coloured dancer, sometimes needing to interact with other players in the routine. The visual cues are still mostly readable for everyone, though it can be hectic at times.
There are also a few other types of routines: Alternative dance routines for a song are usually harder or at least differ more than enough to warrant the extra version; Mash ups are tracks played with sections of other routines in place of the standard dancers; also a Battle mode pits two players against each other as they vie to play their favoured song against the other player.
Like most games, Just Dance 4 quantifies your dancing ability. It takes the form of a star system; five being the highest and presumably 0 if you are off-screen or don’t move throughout the entire song. The more good and perfect moves you get, the higher your star rating will be at the end of the song. It’s relatively easy to get three stars regardless of the difficulty of the song but four and five are much harder to achieve on the higher difficulty songs/routines.
Your profile has a Mojo level, as this increases you can unlock new track versions, a few battle modes, new sweat modes and even new avatars for your Just Dance profile. Every time you complete a track in Just Dance, you receive points towards your Mojo dependant on how many stars you achieve. There are also Dance Quests that can be earned for each song; everything from earning a particular amount of stars, all players reaching a star level, getting good on certain actions or even achieving a certain playstyle for that song (ie energetic etc).
Just Sweat is the workout mode. There are multiple workout styles to play, with each having its own choices for calorie burning. The different music styles are for different workouts; punk is for more extremes and Latin dancing is more relaxed; though that can change depending on what routine you are in currently.
Most Sweat routines start off slow; have a more intense set of sections and then a cooling off section as a warm down. To show how much energy you are putting in, there is a graph along the top. The line increases as you exert more energy and lowers as you become more relaxed in your movements. By manipulating the bar you can hit water/sweat drops that are tallied for each section for an average overall score for the routine.
Just Dance TV and Autodance are the obligatory Kinect game social features. Autodance captures clips of your dancing throughout the song/routine and allows you to generate a short video of you dancing to the music. These can then be shared in multiple places; Just Dance TV, Facebook or just to your Xbox Live Friends.
While they are all self-explanatory, Just Dance TV needs more elaboration. Via the games menus, you can access Just Dance TV; here you can find uploads of other peoples attempts, which are arranged under headings such as most recent and featured. You can watch the snippets of other people’s attempts at dancing either; to look on in shock, awe or laugh out loud at.
Presentation and Audio
Highly stylized characters perform all the dancing and each makes use of colour to easily help differentiate the onscreen characters and right and left-hand sides. While the music won’t be to everyone’s tastes it certainly does cater to various audiences. The majority of the music is recent pop chart music but it has a wide spread of genres and a few older classic songs.
Where Dance Central is more precise and less forgiving in teaching you to dance, Just Dance is all about the fun. The dance moves aren’t particularly difficult to follow due to informative picture cues that emerge on the bottom of the screen. Not getting penalised for messing up a move is really helpful and keeps you having fun, rather than disheartening you for making a mistake.
Pure fun; fun comes first and foremost. It’s light-hearted and all based around enjoying the music; plenty of songs that you might not listen to normally, will be played just for the fun factor. Just Sweat offers some reasonable fun for those looking for a work out too.
While a lot of the songs aren’t to my general music taste, most of them are enjoyable enough to play. I still avoided some like the plague due to pet hates etc. The routines fit some songs way better than others and you’re sure to find one or two that you’ll replay over and over.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.