If there’s one thing that the Just Dance franchise has going for itself, it’s taking the award for “The Most Straightforward Game Title” in a non-contestable category. There’s no debate on how you do it, you just freakin’ dance Susan!
It’s a motion-based dancing game built with multiple players in mind and it’s one of the most fun games to play unless my niece starts to join in and wanted to dance to the likes of Barbie Girl and Baby Shark. And since the franchise is entering its 10th anniversary this November it will be a good time to show off what would otherwise be an overcooked pie that’s been in the oven for God knows when. And it doesn’t disappoint (well, maybe a little) with the all new All-Stars mode aside from the usual experience and Kids mode.
All-Stars Mode is what would essentially be a throwback to the game’s previous song entries picking up a track from each of the previous titles back from a decade ago to the present. It’s a mode you can appreciate if you’re a longtime fan that stuck with them from the beginning but proves less meaningful if you’re like me that only picked it up from the 2019 edition of Just Dance.
But Just Dance is a game that lives or dies with its song selection and the 2020 entry of the game is no different. There’s such a diverse line up of song titles this time around and for the weeb that I am, it all feels so distant despite having songs from artists all over the world both in the West and in the Eastern side of the world. It’s song entries has always been filled with interesting titles though so despite the language barriers, whether you’re listening and dancing to them for the first or hundredth time, it still feels special with its professional choreography and upbeat soundtracks up and center. Each and every move is on point with the beat which makes it all the more engaging to learn and master. That or you could just dance wildly without a care with the score if you’re already getting beaten heavily by a 6-year old even before the halfway mark.
The game is known for its vibrant and colorful cast of dancers and this is easily one of weirdest of them all. You have professional dancers tackling a rendition of Can-Can with animal sounds and it’s one of the most nightmarish things you can even think of when the dancers’ heads have been replaced by talking farmyard animals that may or may not have been beheaded in old McDonald’s farm. But with the most nightmarish comes the cutest of mascots and the pink furry creature in Baby Shark is easily one of my favorites.
There are multiple ways to play too which is really good for the franchise. On the PS4 version, you have a total of three options which can range from using the Playstation Camera, the Playstation Move Controllers or the Just Dance Controller App with your Android or iOS devices. Although if you’re running with the camera it doesn’t particularly track your movement all that well and sometimes just dancing wildly without any choreographed moves often gives you a perfect. Meanwhile using the mobile app requires an internet connection aside from only tracking one hand instead of your whole body which is far from reliable to the whole experience. At the end of the day, it’s not a game that’s built for precise inputs like the rhythm games from SEGA’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series or the many similar titles of the genre.
The World Dance Floor is also making a return which pits you against other people around the world from whatever platform the game is available on. While it remains unchanged, it does shave off a bit of downtime when the levels and challenges are compressed with the score screen. But whether you’re there to be competitive or simply out for a morning exercise, it’s fun to just have a bit of fun with a couple of random people doing one or the other.
The game offers tons of unlockables with its gachapon machine. Luckily enough it’s not something that would be locked behind paywalls when you consider that the game industry is sneakily strafing in that direction more and more. Although it’s still something you have to sweat blood and tears to get them all, quite literally.
Just Dance 2020 is more of the same with a few additions. While it does provide some really great tracks and choreography, it never really feels like a brand new game and more of an expansion to a title from its previous year. There are some great visuals and design from its costumes and its background effects to make you mesmerized and entertained but it all comes down to how weighty the new entries are to someone that it becomes justifiable enough for a purchase.
At the end of the day, it becomes a weighing contest if you’re going to spend for another year of JD Unlimited subscriptions or spend for a new title that includes a 30-day trial of JD Unlimited for the extra hundreds of songs.
Out score 8/10
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Wii, Xbox One, Google Stadia
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