Video game review: 'Just Dance 2014' and 'Just Dance Kids 2014'
While the game doesn't actually teach players how to dance, "Just Dance 2014" (UBISOFT) stays consistent to its previous versions, and true to its name, by allowing users to flail their arms and legs and break a sweat while feeling like they can truly break it down.
The fifth edition of the Just Dance series, "Just Dance 2014" is sure to satisfy and intrigue any who have followed the video dancing trend. The third edition of "Just Dance Kids 2014" is also a sure hit for those with younger players.
"Just Dance 2014" doesn't stray from the game's typical musical lineup, including songs from a few top-of-the-charts artists, such as One Direction, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and PSY; several old-school hits, such as Jack Jones' "Loveboat," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Ricky Martin's "María" and The Village People's "Y.M.C.A."; and a number of songs from relatively unknown artists. The variety of songs provides opportunities for both genders to enjoy and participate.
For those who loved to laugh at anyone who tried performing the Just Dance 2 Rasputin cultural dance, a similar style of dance is included in "Just Dance 2014" that brings back the Russian hats and bouncing moves. The new game also includes other dances meant to embarrass, such as Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime, "where each dancer is dressed as a giant piece of fruit that wobbles around awkwardly through the song.
These group performances have been popular in the past, and many more are added to this year's version. The Ghostbusters routine would be simply hilarious at any house party. It involves up to four dancers, with one performing as a big green blob, otherwise known as Slimmer. And for those who would rather not look ridiculous yet aren't as gifted as they'd like, One Direction's "Kiss You" is the song to choose. Although it's upbeat and the moves come quickly, the dance is relatively easy and will definitely give that "cool" factor.
Developers also didn't miss out on the chance to include yet another robotic routine that goes along with Will.i.am and Justin Bieber's song "#ThatPower." Up to four players can get involved in space action that consistently changes from slow to fast techno moves. Several couple performances are also included, such as "The Way" by Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller and "99 Luftballoons" by Nena.
Some new surprises to the track listing include a Disney classic "Prince Ali" from Disney's "Aladdin." This four-person dance includes Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar and the Genie.
As far as lyrics go, most songs with inappropriate material have been bleeped out, but some suggestive lyrics and movements are included. Some of these songs that include bleeped-out language and may not be appropriate for younger audiences include "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke and "I Kissed a Girl and I liked It" by Katy Perry.
Although I have mostly played past Just Dance games on the Wii and enjoyed them, I tried it out on Kinect, and the experience on the Xbox seemed to have an edge on other gaming systems.
With Kinnect, dancers are judged on their full body movements, rather than one hand movement with the Wii remote. Kinect also provides a fun playback option that plays a video of what you looked like after each performance.
For families who enjoy the Just Dance video games but are hesitant to purchase "Just Dance 2014" because of its content, "Just Dance Kids 2014" is a great option. Although the visuals do seem to be for a younger crowd and it includes several toddler songs, such as "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," it also has enough pop hits to satisfy any tween.
Some of the more popular songs include "One Thing" by One Direction, "Hit the Lights" by Selena Gomez & The Scene and "Give Your Heart a Break" by Demi Lovato. The dance moves are somewhat toned down compared to those in "Just Dance 2014," yet still very entertaining.
In "Just Dance Kids," the dancers are actual humans and have conservative clothing. This version also includes different games such as Freeze and Shake, where dancers are asked to watch for an icon that will tell them when to either shake or stop dancing.
Reviewing this game on the Xbox with Kinect, I found that it might not be the best option for younger players, as it was often difficult to use the hands-free option and found myself using Xbox controls anyway.
Depending on your situation, either Just Dance game will provide hours of entertainment for the whole family — especially if Dad or Grandpa get into it — that no one will forget.
Game: "Just Dance 2014"
Platforms: Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Rating: E 10+
Game: "Just Dance Kids 2014"
Platforms: Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
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