|System: PS3*, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii|
|Release: October 8, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Joshua Bruce
Just for the record, I don’t dance. It’s not that I don’t like to, it’s just that I’m not any good at it. I’m 6’3” tall, 200 or so pounds, and have the dancing coordination of Elaine from Seinfeld. So, when I found out that I would be reviewing this game I thought–“Well, this is going to be interesting.” Yes, I am a bad dancer.
My boss also thought it would be a good idea to add insult to injury by holding a gathering to witness my dancing degradation. He and his family, some other writers from CheatCC, and my wife and kids were all going to be privy to my uncoordinated medley of flailing, jumping, and gyrating. It was at this point that I decided to let my pride go, step out of my comfort zone, and let myself have fun with Just Dance 2014. I’m sure glad I did, otherwise it would have been a much less enjoyable experience.
Since my dancing skills could be described as less than favorable, I started off slow. It was easy to get going; I just selected a song and went for it. There aren’t any complicated menus to navigate to get to the dancing, simply select a song from the main screen and let it load. I was thankful for the ease-of-use and the lack of an overly complicated settings menu. I guess the name Just Dance was fitting here, to say the least.
What followed was an exercise in effort, pain, and enjoyment–the likes of which I have never experienced before. I went for it. I gave it my all. I failed miserably.
But that’s okay. I didn’t give 110% because I thought I was going to be a dance master; I gave that much effort because I knew it would be funny–and funny it was. The JDTV (Just Dance Television) function captured my antics on screen while a bevy of camera phones captured the action live from behind me. Even though I was adamant that there would be no recording devices of any type, I knew it would happen. And yes, some of those videos did end up on Facebook. But I didn’t really mind, because I had fun.
And that’s what Just Dance 2014 and its predecessors are all about–fun. Anyone can play this game and have a good time doing it, as long as they leave expectations at the door. It’s a great time to be had with good friends. You don’t have to be a good dancer, and that’s the best thing about the Just Dance franchise.
After my initial foray into the world of dancing, I decided to delve into other game modes. There are several–World Dance Floor, Just Sweat, Mash-up, and On-Stage mode–but I chose to go with Just Sweat. In Just Sweat, you are able to pick a custom playlist and the amount of time you want to dance–10, 20, 30, or 40 minutes. I chose 10 minutes (because I didn’t want to die) and a couple of songs from the track list, and I was on my way. In Just Sweat mode, there’s no real break between the songs you select, and let me tell you–you’re going to sweat. After completing what felt like a lifetime of dancing, I was truly worn out and realized just how beneficial this game can be. I haven’t worked out in years, and during my time with this game, it showed. With this type of cardio workout, I could see how people could use this game as a tool to become healthier while having fun at the same time, which is definitely a good thing. Just Dance 2014 even tracks the amount of calories you burn during this mode, making it an effective workout tool with information you can track.
Other modes were just as strenuous. World Dance Floor, for example, keeps rolling until you tell the game to stop. You are matched up with other dancers via the game’s first ever online mode. You can dance against or with others, and it’s as easy as just clicking the button and entering the mode. Mash-up is exactly that, a mash-up of different dance types to a song that keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing. You have to adapt as the song progresses, and the stark contrasts between styles can make for some hilarious transitions. On-Stage mode gives you the ability to lead two back-up dancers and create a show, either seriously or for jest, whichever you prefer. These diverse game modes give any level of dancer a playground of musical range that anyone can enjoy.