Just Dance 2017 (Wii U, Wii, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, PC)

DANCE_BOXUbisoft’s popular dance game series’ most recent entry is out, with new features and of course, new songs.  It’s available for nearly all the current game consoles (even the Wii), but reviewed on Wii U here.  The biggest new feature is the ability to use your smartphone as a controller.  Just download the Just Dance app and make sure your console is connected to the Internet.  I didn’t try using my smartphone myself, as my phone is a bit old and Wii remotes are easier for me to figure out.  But I imagine more people have smartphones than Wii remotes, so more people can join in on the fun with this game!

So in the Just Dance games, you dance and hold the controller with your right hand, and move it to the rhythm of the beat.  Since Wii remotes aren’t entirely accurate, it may not always record your moves perfectly, but this game is more about just having fun than being a precise dancer.  As you play, you’ll earn stars depending on how well you do.  Use the stars and points to unlock goodies after dancing.

The game has a wide variety of songs to dance to.  Most of them are modern ones, with a few classics and covers of classics thrown in.  Heck, there’s even a song by Vocaloid Hatsune Miku!  Oh no!  What is this world coming to? (ha ha!).  I kind of wish they had more classic songs I know on here, but this is Just Dance 2017, not Just Dance 1985.  Has Ubisoft ever made a Just Dance 80’s edition?  That would be kind of cool (listening to 80’s music is one of my guilty pleasures).  But if the dozens of songs on the disc aren’t enough for you, you can also subscribe to Just Dance Unlimited, an online service where you can pick from hundreds more songs to dance to!  The game comes with a free two-day trial period, and then you can choose to subscribe to monthly, yearly, or lifetime passes on the Nintendo eShop if you wish.

The game has tons of modes to keep you dancing for a long time, too.  There’s the classic Just Dance mode, where you pick songs to dance to.  In Just Dance Machine, aliens need your dance energy to power their UFO and get home.  You’ll dance to various styles (classical, ballet, even twerking, yes really) for a minute or so to try and fill their UFO’s tank with power.  In Dance Quest, you’ll dance to three songs and compete with Just Dance Bots and try to rank in the top three.  And in Sweat & Playlist, you can create a playlist of songs, and the game will record how long you exercise and how many calories you’ve burned.  There are also lots of online modes where you can compete with others and vote on your favorite videos and songs.

If you have a stand for your Wii U gamepad, you can set it to record yourself as you dance.  You can then submit your dance videos and you might even see yourself on the in-game Just Dance TV!  And if you connect a Wii U microphone up, you can also sing along to the lyrics printed on the bottom of the screen for bonus karaoke points.  Aside from my lack of coordination, the only problem I had with the game is I found it was easier to follow the dancers on screen, and not the picture cues on the bottom right corner.  But that’s not really much of a problem.  I also loved the really abstract videos they play while you’re dancing, as they reminded me of Katamari Damacy.  If you love dance games, this is a great one to get for the whole family to enjoy.


Kid Factor:

Just Dance 2017 is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Lyrics.  The songs aren’t any worse than what you’d hear on the radio, and I’ve heard many of these songs even on the loudspeakers at grocery and department stores!  Reading skill is helpful for some of the menus, but not necessary just to play.  Parental supervision is recommended for some of the setup and online modes and in-game purchases.  Make sure there is plenty of space for your kids to play, and that they are able to hold onto Wii remotes and smartphones so they don’t toss them around and stomp on them.  Your kids have the ability to record themselves and post them online for others to see, so make sure you’re OK with that or learn the Wii U’s parental controls.  I’d recommend this game to any family who enjoys dancing to music.

I have one other interesting Just Dance related tidbit I’d like to post.  Aside from press releases, Ubisoft sends out an interesting newsletter to press and bloggers called Ubistars.  They talk about their games and other activities that they do.  They even have a little graphic that bloggers can post.  It’s a little silly, but kind of cool at the same time.


Anyway, in their last newsletter, they had an article about them sending Olympic medalists Simone Biles and Aly Raisman to hang out and play Just Dance 2017 with kids at a New York Boys and Girls Club.  Ubisoft even made a donation to the organization, and I thought that was pretty neat.


But I still can’t get over there being a Hatsune Miku song in this game! 🙂

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