I remember going to a local mall in the late 90s and witnessing the birth of a new kind of the dance game genre. I remember playing Dance Dance Revolution for the first time and being completely horrible at it. Crowds would even form just to watch people like me who had no dancing talent whatsoever.
Over time, I would get my own dance pad and would continue to dance badly in the privacy of my own home. Back in those days, dancing games were about skill, and it took time just to learn the basics of each song. Now, in the age of iOS games and self-playing Mario titles, the fourth installment of the popular Just Dance series lands on the Wii U.
The Wii U version of Just Dance 4 uses the gamepad and a single Wii remote per person. At first, I was puzzled as to how the game would recognize a person’s body movements via a single remote. Then it became clear; this is just a party game. Just Dance isn’t interested in skill, but that players are having a good time. The fact that you can have four Wii remotes, one per person, was enough proof that this game would reward effort more so then skill. Unlike DDR, Just Dance 4 can be played by almost anybody; old, young, skilled, unskilled and even intoxicated. Just Dance 4 is a game that’s great for that party atmosphere.
The visual presentation is very cool, with lots of dark colors and some nice 80s neon for good measure. As I browsed the song selection, I noticed each song was represented by a crazy looking character. I discovered that this character would be what I would have to mimic in order to dance my way to victory. These include a country girl, futuristic girl, a flamboyant superhero dude and even crazy 80s styled wrestlers. Basically, what you have to do is to mimic the specific character of your choice per song and dance as if you were a mirror image of that character.
Depending on how well you do, you will accumulate Mojo, which will level you up and give you the opportunity to unlock extra stuff like new songs and workout sessions. Another nice feature for the Wii U version is the fact that you can change the dance moves on the fly as another person is playing;silly fun times indeed.
However, as I played the game, I felt a disconnect from it due to the fact that I could easily cheat by just moving the remote in a general direction that was sort of close to the character’s arm movement. The conclusion that I reached was that cheating would get me nowhere. I was only robbing myself by not playing the game right. I think that the best way to play this game is by playing it as a workout supplement or as a party game.
Of course, the main attraction to a dance game is the songs themselves, and Just Dance 4 offers an incredibly wide variety of songs. We have everything from the top 40 entries like Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen to classics like Elvis Presley’s Jail House Rock and Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. There’s a little something for everybody. However, nothing can prepare you for Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up or the epicness as dancing as one of two wrestlers to Europe’s The Final Countdown.
Just Dance 4 has something for everybody, and this is the definition of a party game. It isn’t the best game for a single player experience though, unless you want a nice workout that doesn’t rely on skill. Just Dance has truly tapped into the the mainstream market, and even though I like games that test your skill, Just Dance will make you just have fun.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.