Since the first incarnation of Just Dance, the series has been slowing working its way from harmless family fun to drunken party necessity. Whether this was a sign of the fan base ageing, clever marketing, or some drunken cult following, Just Dance 2016 has once again taken a step toward revelry and away from parental sanctioned fun.
Just Dance 2016 once again explodes onto your screen with bombastic colours and spunky silhouettes. There is virtually no update in terms of the graphics in the series nor is there any real need for them. Vibrant colours, sharp images and fast movements all dazzle and amaze until you find yourself in this rhythmic, hypnotic stupor.
The flashing lights and pretty colours are enough that even given the choice between your friends making fools of themselves, and the screen, your eyes will drift towards the neon and glitter. Luckily, Just Dance 2016 will record bits of the footage for your enjoyment once the song is done. Trust me, no matter how good you think you look, and how many stars you manage to achieve, you’re not the smooth dancer you expected, and the game pulls no punches to that effect with the looping thirty-second recap.
The game is actively trying to embarrass you, and it is not subtle. The line-up of songs in this years edition contain some of the most fantastically camp dance moves yet conceived by motion capture. From giving your partner a piggy back to lying on your back and gyrating, these are tasks destined to make you look foolish. But, since Just Dance has become more and more of a party game, and imbibing of alcohol is one of the many joys of a party, these acts of humiliation are hilarious for everyone. Much like karaoke, its hard to be intimidated when everyone is making as much of a fool of themselves.
And just like karaoke, you’ll rarely be alone dancing. Just Dance 2016 allows up to four players to dance with the camera, with others joining in via the game app. Songs may well have multiple dancers allowing the players to choose from the rooster and have a more unique experience. But if there is only one dancer, you can all enjoy competing to the best of that silhouette simultaneously.
Those silhouette though, are the most provocative dancers brought to the series so far. Have you ever seen a panda perform a slut drop? Have you seen someone attempt to imitate it? I have. It feels like something of a juxtaposition, as songs are edited and censored to avoid the reference to alcohol and, ahem, other things, but the dancers are given total free rein. It’s obviously a part of the series in keeping with its more wholesome audience, but some of the moves required are not rated PG. It makes it all the amusing to play with friends, especially friends that are comfortable with themselves in public.
But that’s not the only addition to the dances you can find. The most notable experiment in is the Disney classic ‘Under the Sea’. Rather than you’re standard standing affair, the role of Ariel will be done on a large chair or sofa. The game will suggest moving something into shot and from there it’s all hands waving and tails flipping.
The line-up itself features a common mixture of famous, semi-recent tracks plus a handful of obscure ones. This also interestingly includes a classical number, ‘The William Tell Overture’. Its done remarkable well and is hopefully the first of many to come They are all remarkable upbeat and enjoyable to dance to, but naturally you’ll probably be inclined to play the songs you recognise first and foremost. Unlockable extras are also available with points earned in-game, and a small selection of songs can be bought with uPlay points as well.
For the first time, Just Dance 2016 also carries a subscription service as well. Although a great host of songs are available for free, some are deemed ‘Unlimited’ which you can gain access to by redeeming timed vouchers. It’s a shame that some of the songs are restricted, but it won’t upset you on your musical journey.
And they have added other things to make up for the locked features. As well as the standard mode, and sweat mode that we’ve all come to expect, Just Dance 2016 includes co-op as well where you aren’t competing to make the most points but collect jewels from synchronised gameplay. It’s a nice touch if you have competitive friends, and you’d rather just dance. What’s marketed as the biggest shake up is Dance Quest, which is little more than a short playlist of songs to complete. Its useful if you don’t want to pick every song, and a good excuse to play the ones you don’t recognise, but isn’t exactly new.
If you like the Just Dance series, there is nothing to stop you from enjoying this one. Its fresh song list, hilarious dance moves and memorising graphics will keep you and your friends entertained for hours, with some always demanding more each chance they get. Just maybe, be careful what songs you do in front of your parents, or you kids.
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