Just Dance is one of those games that needs no introduction.
...But in case you've never come across Ubisoft's dancing phenomenon, it's a simple concept that's gone on to sell millions you pick your tune, and little stick men make their way across the screen which you copy to get points. The latest iteration in the series, Just Dance 3, also marks the uber-franchise's first outing on the Xbox 360, made possible thanks to Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect sensor, which is home to a handful of dancing games
Generally, I've never really got on with the various Kinect dancing games, finding the likes of Dance Central
and Michael Jackson: The Experience
to ask a little bit too much, too quickly from my poor, aching brain. Often a bit tricky to follow, it was hard to decipher the diagrams with a quick glance, as trying to figure out where a stick figure wants you to move your arms and
legs often just resulted in me tying myself in knots.
This is where Just Dance 3 shines because, a bit like the Wii version, it only tracks your top half. So, at Ubisoft's recent Summer Shindig, where we got to go hands-on with the game, for the first time ever, I actually managed a relatively competent showing on a Kinect dancing game although the fact that it seemed to be tracking two of my arms, and in a much more accurate fashion than the Wii Remote normally manages did throw me a bit. Or at least, that's my excuse for my sub 4000 point scores on the two songs we played (A-Ha's Take On Me and Duck Sauce's Barbara Streisand - you can find the rest of the currently announced Just Dance 3 song list here
And it's thanks to the fact that the game's only tracking your top half that Just Dance 3 on Kinect is capable of the same four-player multiplayer that made the Wii Just Dance series such a hit. Kinect usually needs obscene amounts of room, about six to eight feet, to track just one person, and more like eight to ten feet for two and whether it could theoretically track four bodies, no-one really knows - presumably because no-one has a living room that's big enough. But by only tracking the top half of each person, Just Dance 3 manages to squeeze four people into the sort of area you'd need for two on other Kinect games and it makes it a damn sight more fun to boot. And isn't that the reason we play games in the first place?
It's like Guitar Hero 5's air instruments all over again!
The ability to track four people at once isn't wasted either, as some of the songs have different dance moves for each of the players, which (supposedly) fit together to make a fancy routine, and you look like a proper dance troupe, although more often than not, it just ends up in a tangle of limbs and laughter along the same lines as the Duet songs on Just Dance 2, but with double the people. There's also the Kinect exclusive 'Just Create' mode
, which lets you record your own dance moves before saving them and sharing them with your friends over Xbox Live, which we got to have a go at. Using some fancy technology, the game films you, removes the background, and stylises you like a Just Dance instructor, complete with crazy neon colours. All that's left for you to do then is to bust some moves to the funky tunes, and save your track. Although you won't get the handy prompts running along the bottom of the screen, we can see it working well for parties - and it's a big plus that you can share the routines you've recorded over Xbox Live.
So if you've got Kinect (or a Wii - we just didn't get to play that one), Just Dance 3
is definitely worth a look, particularly if you want an easier to get into game than Dance Central. Just Dance 3
is due out on the 11th October this year on both Xbox 360 with Kinect, and the Wii.