Just Dance has proved to be one of the most successful titles on the Nintendo Wii. Launching in November 2009, the series went from strength-to-strength with Just Dance 2 becoming the best-selling third party Wii game to date.
At E3 2011, Ubisoft announced Just Dance 3 would be released on the Xbox 360. After the success of Dance Central, it seemed like a perfect strategy; however, it does come with its problems.
Utilising the Kinect technology, Just Dance 3 has players replicating the moves as they appear on the screen. Players are graded on each move and are awarded stars at the end of the track based on how well they performed. Collecting stars contributes to the player’s ‘Mojo’ which unlocks new dances and playlists.
Kinect brilliantly manages to track player movements; while players don’t have to be precise with timing, as long as they pull off the move, points are awarded. On the easy difficulty, it’s a simple case of just getting the hand and arm movements right and on harder difficulties, the legs are also monitored.
Just Dance 3’s track list of fifty-one songs contains a good mix of recent chart hits and classics that appeals to a wide age range. Whether you like to shuffle in LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock - Party Rock Anthem or dance to the disco classic Boogie Wonderland by Groove Century, there’s something for everyone and a brilliant variety of songs.
Each of the tracks supports up to four players, with a number of tracks containing special routines for multiplayer use. These routines are particularly entertaining and require co-operation with players sliding onto their knees to pull off a stunning guitar solo and having to link arms with a fellow player to dance in circles.
However, this does come with a number of problems. With all four players dancing at once, space becomes an issue and it can become a bit of a squeeze. While this isn’t the case for those playing in big rooms, it is for those with a standard living room setting.
Another of the game’s problems is the menu system; while it is very comparable to that of Dance Central, navigating isn’t to the same standard. Having to repeatedly move your arm to a certain height for it to go up and down isn’t user-friendly and it quickly becomes quite fiddly. While the option of using a controller to navigate is still available, it’s not ideal.
A game mode that is exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of Just Dance 3 is ‘Just Create’, in which players select a song and make up a dance routine to it. The routine is recorded, transformed into an avatar and can then be sent to your friends and uploaded to the Just Dance website, where it can be accessed by gamers across the world.
Unfortunately, the uploaded dance routines don’t contain prompts, making other users’ routines hard to master. Nevertheless, this is the stand-out feature of Just Dance 3 and is well incorporated into the game.
The title’s final game mode is ‘Sweat’ in which players dance their way through a playlist collecting ‘sweat points’ – an indication of how much effort players put into the tracks, based on their height and weight. While it’s an inventive feature, it’s one that is likely to be used once and never again, due to its inconclusive results - or unless you’re planning on unlocking all the game’s achievements.
Just Dance 3’s achievements are quite cruel and will require a lot of effort in order to acquire the maximum rewards. While many of the achievements are accumulative and therefore require gamers to play the title to a massive extent, there some, such as dancing to every song in the game simultaneously, that will have you playing the title for long periods of time.
As far as graphics go, Just Dance 3 retains the bright colours and cartoon-esque style that has been present throughout the series. While it may not look as good as those evident in Dance Central, the style works for the game and is more appealing to the younger gamers.
Overall, Just Dance 3 is a great title, though there is certainly room for improvement. The track list is one of the best seen on any dancing game to date and the ‘Just Create’ game mode has been well incorporated and works like a charm. However, simple factors such as the poor menu navigation and difficulties with multiplayer are problematic, which could have been resolved with better implementations.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.