Reviewed: January 21, 2010
Released: November 17, 2009
Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)
The Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) series has had gamers hopping on arrows in time to the beat of dance hits and j-pop for over a decade. But look up any YouTube video of a DDR champion, and you will see that there isnít a whole lot of style or flourish that goes into mastering Konamiís aging franchise. That is apparently why we recently received Just Dance from the folks at Ubisoft Paris, which takes the fast footwork of DDR and transfers it to the handy gesture-based controls of the Wii. While the formula might sound like it would be interesting, the implementation is so technically inept that the game is nearly unplayable.
The idea is simple Ė mimic the motions from the onscreen character while holding onto the Wii remote and get graded on the results. Sounds pretty simple, eh? Well, it would be if the game accurately responded to the Wii Remote Ė but as you can guess by my tone, it does not. The game only seems to accurately recognize motion control maybe 50% of the time.
And in the few instances the game does recognize a gesture correctly, the brief amount of lag is just enough to throw the arbitrary grading system for a frustrating loop resulting in suspect grading (typically for the worse, but sometimes oddly in the gamerís favor) and questionable final scores.
Still, with support for up to 4 players locally, there is some enjoyment to be had in the ridiculousness of the absurd dance poses, but gamers might want to check on their homeownerís insurance to see if they have any coverage against the imminent Wii-whacking that occurs from flailing players.
Visually, the game is about as sparse as it gets. Humdrum backgrounds only serve to draw attention to the low-rent character modeling that might have turned heads in 1998 but only serves as a verification of the shoddy effort that went into developing Just Dance. I wish I could talk more, but with only a character model and a few score meters onscreen at any time, well itís hardly worth wasting the words.
On the audio front Ė the delivery is fairly solid even if the subject matter lacks relevance to todayís audience. Iím sure there are a couple of kids who might enjoy hearing a cover version of Britney Spearsí Womanizer, and a handful of old timers who will enjoy the novelty of MC Hammerís U Canít Touch This Ė but I am sure that few are going to bat an eye at lame 80ís fluff New Kids on the Blockís Step By Step or a terrible cover of Irene Caraís Fame.
After a decade of jumping on arrows, shaking maracas, and pointing out grooves onscreen, I think I am finally burned out on dance games. I had hopes that Just Dance might help revive my interest in the genre, but sadly it only made things worse. Just Dance just isnít that great of a game, period.