As I was sweating away to Lady Gaga’s “Applause” in the middle of my living room, I came to terms with a few brutal honest truths about myself. One, I am out of shape as thirty seconds into the song and I found myself huffing and puffing. Two, I am not getting any younger and my joints and muscles don’t quite react like they used to. Three, at some point over the past 20-years a dance fairy swept in and stole any semblance of dance moves I previously had. Either Just Dance 2014 is not for me (which is likely the case) or life has just passed me by, but honest to goodness Just Dance 2014 is about the most challenging game I have played all year. There are the on-screen dancers and then there is me. The reality is I don’t move anything like the dancers on screen. It is not that Just Dance 2014 is a hard game per se but rather it’s a combination of my lack of physical attributes combined with some rather complex on-screen dance moves that makes this Just Dance a little difficult for this aging gamer.
Just Dance 2014 is not a bad game; in fact it is quite the opposite. It has actually given me a pretty good reason to wipe the dust off my Wii U and wiggle away to some pretty good tunes. With the right group of people, and maybe some wobbly pops, Just Dance 2014 can be and is a hoot. As long as you don’t mind looking like wounded walrus and you can accept some of those bitter truths I mentioned above, Just Dance 2014 is about as good as it gets for a social dancing party game. You just need to accept that unless you have significant dancing experience or have put some serious hours into other virtual dance games, you may look more like a physically challenged emu rather than Chris Brown or Britney Spears on the dance floor.
One the best things Just Dance 2014 has going for it is how easy it is to navigate and how quickly you can jump into a song and get moving. Everything is accomplished with the Wii Remote, so you can keep that Wii U GamePad on your charging dock for the time being because you won’t need it for single player play. Just point at the screen, select a song or mode and off you go. It is really as simple as that.
Using the Wii Remote has some advantages for those dance floor challenged folks like myself. That is, you don’t have to be completely accurate with your dance moves. In a sense you can cheat a bit. Since the Wii Remote is in your hands, what you do with your feet, hips and other hand really doesn’t mater. As long as you are following the movement of the highlighted hand on the screen, your scores should be positive. That is of course if you are all about the scores. Let’s face it in a room full of people, you will look a little silly standing there just moving your right hand about. The intent of the game is really to dance and have some fun. What also impressed me about the game was that the Wii Remote doesn’t take anything away from the experience. Sure it seemed awkward at first but after a few songs I found I got used to holding the Wii Remote while dancing away to some pretty good tunes.
Just Dance 2014’s songs range from Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to Disney’s Aladdin “Prince Ali”. Here is where I take a little issue with the game. The song selections seem all over the place. The Disney song and George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” don’t fit with that general top-40 Just Dance vibe. Perhaps it is just me but there are about 10-15 songs I could have done without. The game shines when the top-40 pop and hip hop tunes are playing but not so much when, for instance, that god-awful “Aquarius” song is playing.
In terms of modes, the Classic free-dance mode from previous Just Dance games returns. Battle and Just Sweat mode also return. The Just Sweat mode is exactly what the doctored ordered for me as I can burn some calories while dancing away to some tunes. In terms of new modes there is an On-Stage mode where one player dances the lead role and two other players dance to the back-up routines. There is also a Karaoke mode where you can sing along and are rewarded for singing the right notes. The Party Master mode is an exclusive to the Wii U and involves the Wii U GamePad. Here one player can use the GamePad to change the game’s rules, current song, and specific moves for up to four other players. Finally the World Dance Floor mode is a competitive online multiplayer mode structured like a massively multiplayer online game. All in all the new modes are nice little additions and only serve to enhance a pretty darn good dance simulation game.
The visuals are about what I expected. It is more of the same old when it comes to the Just Dance series of games. It remains a very colourful game but barely pushes the limits of the Wii U capabilities. Soundwise, Just Dance 2014 is a great sounding game. Everything from the tracks to the game’s sound effects, this latest version of the franchise delivers in the sound department.
Just Dance 2014 is about the about as good as it gets when it comes to a virtual dancing simulation game for your Wii U. With over 48 tracks available at launch and the possibility of more DLC to come, it is perfect for those tweens, teens and adults looking for a fun social game to play. It is even better with a group of your friends while whacking back a few cocktails. The new modes are a welcome addition and in the end Just Dance 2014 is remains a rock solid effort from the gang at Ubisoft.