previewing Just Dance 2 at Gamescom back in the summer, and embarrassing myself there, I decided that maybe dance games aren't that bad after all - so here I am, perhaps the most unlikely candidate, reviewing Just Dance 2.
The Just Dance series does exactly what it says on the tin - you just dance. Choose one of the songs, make sure your Wii Remote is strapped firmly onto your right arm, and follow the on-screen prompts - the little stick man that scrolls across the bottom of the screen - as if you were looking in a mirror, and you'll gain points based on how well you perform it. Most of the choreography is over the top and cheesy - perfect for party game giggles - try doing the zombie walk in 'Monster Mash', or the ballerina-style pirouettes in Vampire Weekend's 'A-Punk' with out smiling. While you're dancing, you then get to watch the brightly-coloured, highly-stylised characters in the background video doing the same moves as you should be - if you can take your eye's off the stick men at the bottom, that is.
Once you finish a song, you're presented with a summary screen, where it tells you how many points you've got and how many of the gold moves you managed to hit (special gestures that appear in the song, represented by a gold stick man - performing these correctly nets you some bonus points) - and you're given a star rating out of five. Your highest score for each song is recorded underneath the corresponding song on the song selection screen - although I would have quite liked some sort of proper high score table where you could type in your name - so you could see that you need another 9000 points to beat your Aunt Mildred, or whatever. Or some sort of awards system would make me rather happy (I have a tendency to get a tad obsessive over things like that), for doing things like playing all songs, or getting so many points on a certain song.
Whilst Just Dance 2 doesn't have much of a single player game, and has no unlockables or goals, flailing your way through a handful of songs on your own can still be fun. There's a total of 44 songs on the disc - which is a fair amount to keep you going, as well as one downloadable song a week for 300 Nintendo Points (about £2.10) for when you exhaust the disc-based ones. Each song in the song library is ranked twice - once for difficulty, and once for how sweaty it'll make you - be prepared to find out just how unfit you are, after one go at Avril Lavigne's 'Girlfriend' has you ready to keel over. Just don't follow it with Fatboy Slim's 'Body Movin', or you'll be feeling it for days later. If you're interested how many calories you burn whilst dancing, the 'Just Sweat' mode might be for you - it tells you how many calories you've burnt over the course of your dancing session.
Just Dance 2 really comes into it's own in a party setting though, when up to four people can grab a Wii Remote each, strap in and start dancing to the cheesy tunes - something that's sure to raise more than the odd giggle from onlookers. The new 'Dance Battle' mode lets two teams of four face off against each other in a series of dance mini games - 'Classic', 'Duet', 'Simon Says', 'Medley' and 'Race'. 'Classic' and 'Duet' are basic dancing affairs, with the only difference being whether the moves you're doing are identical or intended to 'pair up' with each other. 'Simon Says' has you dancing normally, but commands such as stop, clap or spin randomly appear - if you don't do what Simon says, you lose points. 'Medley' gives you a massive mash-up of several songs leading into one another - which could have quite entertaining consequences, and finally, 'Race' is a first-one-to-x-points affair.
More of the same isn't necessarily a bad thing, and with the new multiplayer 'Dance Battle' mode you have quite a fun party game on your hands. And with a new downloadable song every week, there's no need to stop dancing.
- Downloadable songs for when you get fed up of the ones on the disc.
- Some songs have you working up quite a sweat - so Just Dance 2 is sure to keep you fit. The 'Just Sweat' mode will even tell you how many calories you've burnt.
- Multiplayer 'Dance Battle' mode means you'll be in for some heated dance-offs when you have friends over.
- Not a lot for the single player - unlockable award-y achievement-like things would have been a good addition.
- Some of the stick men aren't too clear as to what you're meant to do, so it'll take you a few goes through a song to grasp it.
- You find out quite how unfit you are, after playing Avril Lavigne's 'Girlfriend and Fatboy Slim's 'Body Movin'' is enough to kill you.
Recommended for: 5 and up
For more information, please see the parental perspective
Just Dance. It's as simple as that. And surprisingly fun.