Thanks to Poopaloop for the image!
No, you're not seeing things. Nintenho has returned to put together a review for Just Dance 4! She's far more qualified to review it than I, so please enjoy her work below! Also, make sure to check out my 'unique' Wii U unboxing here!
I’m not sure how many of you have been anxiously awaiting a review of Just Dance 4, and maybe that’s because you’re expecting more of the same. For the most part, you’re right – but that doesn’t mean that the latest edition to this fist pumpin’ franchise doesn’t fully deliver – if not exceed – all expectations for the fun factor. With an eclectic song collection (from bubble gum pop the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen to hipster karaoke jams a la Rick Astley) and dance routines that require new levels of athleticism and absurdity, Just Dance 4 will easily satisfy its followers. As for garnering new fans, well, you should never under estimate the power of a finely-executed shimmy.
Let’s start with the new.
Though the creators have made only a few, small additions to this release, you have to hand it to them. There really aren’t that many ways to reinvent the wheel here, and yet they’ve made some novel changes. (Place your bets on a combo karaoke/dance game as the next big thing. I can’t wait to definitively prove once and for all that my true calling in life is rock stardom).
First, Just Dance 4 capitalizes on the multiplayer aspect more so than any of its predecessors, not only with jams that require intricate group choreography – you finally have a legitimate excuse to slap your friends’ butts in Will Smith’s Wild Wild West or to dust off those old boy band moves with One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful – but also with head-to-head battle rounds that, in my opinion, should really provide sanctioned water (or booze) breaks.
It’s worth noting, however, that I think these group numbers are nowhere near as fun if you’re doing them by your lonesome. Rather than having a separate routine for a solo player, you’re forced to pick one of the dancers out of the troop. You then have to proceed with some imaginary grinding, high fives and other moves that make you seriously question why you’re playing the Wii by yourself on a Saturday night. (If you really want to depress yourself, choose I’ve Had the Time of My Life.)
Second, there’s the Sweat option, which allows you to dance to some catchy mash-ups, all the while counting the sweet, sweet calories you burn. And while I’m down with the ability to to track your progress, I must admit that I’m still not so sure that I NEED this new feature. I felt on the brink of death after dancing to about three songs in a row, and I’m confident that this is a good indicator of some massive calorie burn. That said, it’s definitely a smart move to tap into the home exercise market – move over Zumba, I’ve found a new way to demonstrate that I have absolutely no rhythm!
The last new feature worth mentioning, though small, is one of my favorites. If you perform well enough, you can unlock alternate dance routines for songs. For instance, I can really rock it to any RiRi (Rihanna - get with the program here, people) song, and so I easily unlocked an alternate dance for her popular track, Umbrella. Spolier: It involves a dance routine with an umbrella as a prop. It turns out, I rock way better when I’m unhindered by imaginary household items, but that’s neither here nor there.
As for the familiar format of the game, I’ll note a few key things here. I continue to struggle with slow songs – the Wiimote never seems to work as well on these jams as it does on the more up tempo ones.
Whether this is a legitimate motion control issue or merely a reflection of the fact that I’m better at flailing around quickly than slowly stomping and stumbling remains to be seen. All things considered, however, I’d say that the Wiimote is pretty forgiving. As long as you don’t attempt to stand completely still and only use one arm, chances are your moves might at least warrant a judgment of “OK.”
As for those figures at the bottom of the screen that are supposed to help you identify upcoming moves, let’s be real – they should just be taken out of the game entirely. I almost never look at them, and if on the off chance I try to follow the rules and let my eyes wander over to those little guys, it never works out in my favor. My moves fall behind and I can’t quite tell what my body is supposed to look like. I’d rather just watch the main silhouettes on the screen. That might make things a bit chaotic upon the introduction of each new move, but it’s usually easy to get into the groove and catch on to the routine (or catch on to the fact that you’re never going to catch on…eep).
As for the songs and the routines themselves, I continue to be impressed. As you might’ve seen, my father and I attempted to perform The Final Countdown in Rawmeat Cowboy’s living room. This routine involved everything from ring around the rosie to exchanging fake blows and doing barrel rolls under my father’s feet. It. Was. Complicated. This song also demonstrated what is true of many of the others included in the Just Dance 4 playlist - you need a good amount of space to accurately follow through with the moves. While you’re at it, I’d also throw in a dance partner who has just a tiny amount of coordination – i.e. enough to avoid accidentally punching you in the face or falling booty-first on your glass coffee table (the former of which almost happened on several occasions and latter of which actually happened, big time).
And while the presence of Bieber alone was enough for me to want to give this game an infinite amount of gold stars, my delight really bubbled over as I learned that you can download new songs and continue to shake your tail feather long after you’ve cycled through the original playlist. Okay, I’ll level with you - this is only because one of the options for download (not yet available) is Psy’s Gangnam Style. It’s time for this sexy lady to perfect her K-Pop gallop!
Most Hilarious Dance: Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin – If you’re new to the franchise, I highly recommend beginning the game with this. It’s pretty easy to pick up and gives you a good impression of the fun to come. Plus, the dancer in this one has a sassy hairdo that really makes the routine, if you ask me. So what are you waiting for? Just Dance!