Where others have tried and failed, Ubisoft seem to have found what it takes to create the perfect dance game for a mass audience. Far from being a highly technical game of skill and exact movements in perfect timing, the Just Dance series works because it’s easy to play, simple to use and just downright fun.
If I had to describe Just Dance 2015 to anyone unfamiliar to the series it would be like watching an episode of Strictly Come Dancing while hallucinating from a very strong fever. Where else could you even conceive of dancing with a cactus, taking part in a musical version of the Princess and The Frog or acting out as Tetris pieces as you dance along to the theme tune that sold millions of Gameboys?
As with 2014 and all the other Just Dance games that went before, the focus is not on accuracy of movement. The Wii U version uses the same Wii Remote movements as the Wii and it simply measures the movements of your one hand that holds the remote. But this is what Just Dance does, it allows granny to dance along with a 5 year old to the Macarena and 4 drunk friends to stumble over Will i Am’s It’s My Birthday.
The songs are all presented by day-glo coloured dancers, some in standard dance gear and others dressed as frogs, foxes and horses. The dancers are all easy to follow with a scrolling list of forthcoming dance moves scrolling along the bottom of the screen to prepare you for the next set. Some, like The Fox, make sense. Others, less so but are no less entertaining for it.
In addition to allowing up to 4 people to dance together (and, in our experience, cause each other pain via flailing limbs) there is an all new worldwide dance off mode which pits you against other dances representing countries, as well as the odd VIP dancers who appear on a small screen doing their moves. The mode is a great addition to the game and gives you an ever-changing set of leaderboards that proudly place the flag of their country next to their names, you can’t help feeling proud if your home country sits near the top.
Another mode that returns from last year is the ability to create playlists and control the game via the Gamepad, directing other players like some demented dance god. Autodance makes a comeback too, letting you record any dance crimes to video and show them off to the world. It can be awkward with the gamepad camera to capture the right angles and needs to be pressed during the song, meaning that it’s easier to take video if someone else who isn’t dancing is holding the Gamepad instead. At least that person can also choose a Karaoke mode and sing along to the music via the Gamepad’s microphone, earning points for crooning.
There is not a huge amount of difference between this and Just Dance 2014, bar the extra online elements, but it will be the song list that sells more of these games and the list here is as good as any with some brand new songs, including Disney’s Frozen and old classics like Don’t Worry Be Happy. With its infectious attitude to having fun while looking ridiculous and the inclusion of yet more mad costumed dancers, Just Dance 2015 manages to stay king of the dancing games yet again.