The Just Dance franchise has become a staple in the modern videogames industry, proving that rhythm action experiences have longevity that goes beyond plastic instruments and dance mats. There are many contenders, but it’s Just Dance that sets the pace for musical experiences in videogames at present, not only in terms of commercial success but also in its ability to transcend audiences.
Arguably the greatest achievement of Just Dance is that of it’s variety of gameplay modes coupled with a tracklist suitable for everything from young girls dancing to Lady Gaga to adults hoping to burn a few calories to lovers becoming intimate to Careless Whisper. It may sound odd, but videogames have become far more than killing in the past decade, so why not allow them to remove friendship barriers, become workout routines or set the mood for a relaxing evening?
Putting this into a more binary context, Just Dance 2014 has one of the most varied tracklist of any rhythm action videogame this generation coupled with an incredible arrangement of gameplay modes. Essentially the core experience can be played in any mode you may choose from the same menu; it’s a simple case of turning the additional features on-or-off. The now infamous Just Sweat mode can be laid over the top of the standard calorie counter to offer greater detail on your performance or you can participate in specially designed playlists that last a set duration.
The new gameplay mode brought along with Just Dance 2014 is the World Dance Floor: Just Dance’s first ever online gameplay mode. Here the playlist is automated – with players voting between the given options – and all players are divided into teams. The player is given constant feedback as to how many people are playing and how their team is performing. It’s an interesting and very welcome addition to the Just Dance repertoire, and one which will surely become a mainstay in the growing catalogue of gameplay modes.
The tracklist most definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but there are some interesting additions to the typical assortment of Katy Perry, Psy and Gloria Gaynor. Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky were advertised prior to launch, but the acquisition of a Disney licence is both impressive and welcome. Both Aladdin and Ghostbusters make surprise appearances and Just Dance 2014 also features a surprising selection of original mash-ups and remixes that wouldn’t be out of place on a city centre night club dancefloor.
The visual quality of Just Dance 2014 is far and above anything that the series has previously produced. The backgrounds are far more diverse and representative of a unique theme for each track – some realistic but many more abstract – and the dancers have started to become characters, with certain costumes appearing on more than once and each time presenting a unique dancing style. Whether this trend will continue across subsequent instalments remains to be seen, but it will certainly be interesting to find out.
While Just Dance 2014 isn’t about to become the top priority for that core demographic or steal the thunder from the upcoming next-generation console launches – on which the videogame will be making an appearance – this is a package that is progressive in it’s own way. New gameplay modes, franchise licences and a higher quality of original content, Just Dance 2014 shows just what judiciary investment in a genre aimed at the casual audience can achieve. Just Dance 2014 is the best dance videogame available for modern hardware for many reasons, and with that it deserves to bring Ubisoft even greater success than before.