Ten years this madness has been going on, can you believe that? Ten years of dancing round the living room like a loon to songs you’ve either never heard of or would never listen to. And that’s just me.
I hold my hand up and admit I was there at the beginning with the original Just Dance on Wii, dancing along to Katy Perry and Kim Wilde with those strange, single gloved luminous dancers, trying not to launch the Wii remote into the TV. The basic premise hasn’t changed in all those years but the scope has widened and the series has grown into world-wide phenomenon that few casual games ever see.
Just Dance 2020, then, continues to provide those energetic dancing silhouettes in yet more silly costumes with more elaborate backgrounds. I think the proof of how far this has gone is easy enough to spot if you sit back and watch someone else play Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (sadly, a cover version but understandably so, given a few of the lyrics). Half way through a big skull swings from the roof singing as a bunch of Halloween costumed dancers cheerfully play out their choreography before the very gates of heaven are opened, complete with backing dancers from a vaudeville stage show. It’s as if Terry Gilliam had a fever dream after one too many slices of cheese but, somehow, it works. Not every dance has such an elaborate stage show behind it but most are still entertaining to those watching the poor dancers try to keep up with the moves.
Anyone who has played the last Just Dance will be instantly familiar with the menus because, well, they’re exactly the same. Little has been changed because it worked so well last time out. The kids mode returns, complete with 8 new kid friendly dances, plus a Co-op mode for teaming up with a friend and sweat mode, though all songs have a calories burned box next to them, too. The only addition to the options is All Stars, a celebration of 10 years of the series which sees you play through a song from each of the games before unlocking a new exclusive song.
It’s the track listing which makes every new Just Dance game unique but this is becoming less pronounced due to the mixing of some of the new songs into Ubisoft’s subscription service for the game, Just Dance Unlimited. The mix of genres and tracks are as eclectic as ever, though with Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy sitting next to BLACKPINK and Kill This Love and 80s hit Just An Illusion by Imagination. 40 tracks make up the retail game but Unlimited provides hundreds more if you choose to pay for it. While some may say it’s just another cost on top of the game, it’s by no means essential, there are plenty of different songs in the game alone to keep most happy, but Unlimited is set at a pretty good price for a year and provides a bunch of regular new songs and classics and you do get a month free to try it out.
Scoring Just Dance 2020 is a difficult prospect; you’ll already know if it appeals to you or not and it’s really not all that different from last year’s game but it features new songs some really crazy new dance routines and that 10 year celebration mode on top.