(Wii U)

Just Dance 4 (Wii U)

Game Review

Just Dance 4 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Dance epidemic tonight

Given its massive success, we can't even feign surprise at this point that Just Dance hasn't veered far from its path. Pleased with its gift horse and eyes locked firmly elsewhere but its mouth, Ubisoft keeps it on the same track for yet another go round of light-hearted party fun. The prerequisite tweaks and fiddles to the interface and feature set that accompany an uptick in number are all here, but otherwise this is just plain ol' more Just Dance. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, really: sometimes more of the same is just swell, and Just Dance 4's large injection of new songs to bop to and choreography to master is sure to please party-goers and long-time Remote-wiedling dancers.

The playlist keeps up the series' high-quality blend of current radio hits from the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Marina and the Diamonds mixed with curveballs like Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" (complete with Ally McBeal choreography) and They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul." It's a rock-solid setlist and most of the tracks are the artist's original recordings, but sadly not all — considering the massive success of the franchise the few covers served up seem increasingly out of place. DLC support is pledged though unavailable at the time of writing, so everyone will just have to wait to get their Gangnam Style on.

Each song has its own more-or-less-appropriate choreography and theme — sometimes with multiples of each — and the binding connections seem more strenuous than before. We can't explain why the dancer for Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" is dressed as an Old West bandit on top of a train and shooting at people — other than some people in the Old West spoke Spanish and so does Ricky Martin — or how Moss from The IT Crowd found his way into said Barry White track, or why Rick Astley's immortal classic "Never Gonna Give You Up" has a superhero dancing on top of a building with monsters fighting in the background, but so it goes. Group routines seem to have swelled in number and, happily, intricacy, mostly breaking out of the "clone" mould where everyone does basically the same thing. Communicating difficulty has been streamlined as well: instead of ranking both technicality and activity, songs now show a single challenge rating on a scale of three, removing the odd difficulty discrepancies of past games where a song may rate a one on technicality but a three on activity.

The better you play the more stars you accrue, and the more stars you accrue the more Mojo levels you climb, unlocking new songs, mash-ups and modes. You can't choose what you would like to unlock — with the exception of Uplay unlocks, prizes are determined by stopping a spinning wheel — but the increasing amount of stars required to unlock the gifts favours play over a longer period of time rather than instant gratification. The switch from profile-wide to song-specific achievement lists gives more to do per song, but the number of unique achievements for each track isn't very high.

Since the game sticks with Wii Remotes for dancing, the GamePad can be happily left on the sidelines as a mirror of the main screen — while you could call this "off-screen play" as it does technically remove the need for a television, the diminutive screen is tougher to follow along and creates a lesser experience. However, picking it up during a routine triggers Live Control, home to a few quirky features and conveniences. Players can line up the next song for play and save on downtime between routines, display karaoke-style lyrics for whoever may care to sing along, or crudely doodle on the screen — perfect for sparking immature giggle fits among the peanut gallery. The GamePad gets more involved for Puppet Master mode, where the person holding the GamePad can choose what moves are coming up — in a pleasing nod to the older games, the selection of moves pulls from the better choreography of previous routines, so there will be no end to Russian folk dance infecting modern Top 40 tracks.

Evolving from its humble beginnings as a throwaway workout mode, Just Sweat sees the most significant new changes — it's beginning to reach the point where we wouldn't be surprised at all to see it get a stand-alone spinoff release. In Just Dance 4, the mode ditches the concept of Sweat Points earned across whatever song you play and replaces them with relatively structured, themed (space aerobics! punk cheerleader!), timed sessions with warm-ups and cool-downs, featuring original exercise tunes between songs, and varying intensity dependent on your performance. It isn't a substitute for the gym but Just Sweat provides enough structure, tracking and body ache to work as a fun exercise supplement.

Just Dance's signature tripped-out look is sharper than ever, with the bump to HD making the on-screen mayhem brighter, sharper and cleaner than its Wii counterparts, and the scene designers appear more confident in letting their on-screen bonanzas go in different places. The dancers look less cartoony and more human as subtle facial details become visible, as do wrinkles and zippers on the costumes — everything looks a little cheesier. Coming from staring at multiple games where everyone looks like a cartoon, the extra detail is slightly jarring.

Conclusion

Just Dance 4 sticks to what the franchise has always done best and delivers another round of bananas party fun with the right crowd — and after a number of these games already, "the right crowd" is anyone at all still interested in playing. Even with a few dud covers and themes sometimes at odds with the songs they're supposed to capture, the setlist remains impressively diverse and sure to please. The GamePad offers a few novel features to make the game worth considering on Wii U and the greatly enhanced Just Sweat mode pushes dance workouts in fun new directions. Just Dance 4 still has the right moves, but soon might be a good time to learn a few new ones.

More Stories

User Comments (35)

Obywan

#3

Obywan said:

Contrary to what most on here will say, I actually want to get this once I find it cheaper.

This is fun to play with the family.

DerpSandwich

#5

DerpSandwich said:

I'm with Nintendo all the way, but after playing Dance Central on Kinect, Just Dance games just seem kind of silly.

Mahe

#6

Mahe said:

Just Dance 4 is one of the best games on Wii U, and this review is too harsh on it.

MattL

#7

MattL said:

Not for me, but the kids have it and it's fun to watch their spasmodic routines :)

I enjoyed the nod to Electric Six in the subheading, intentional or not ;)

DAaaMan64

#8

DAaaMan64 said:

Yeah I'd definitely play this "in the right crowd." I played it at E3 with the booth babes and had a great time :P

McHaggis

#10

McHaggis said:

Dang... for a second I thought there might actually have been some Electric Six in this game. That would have sparked a nuclear war on my dance floor. Solo!

ultraraichu

#11

ultraraichu said:

I'm probably one of the only gamers on NL over the age of 21 that play this willingly and regularly :P

redclow

#14

redclow said:

Love this game! :D My school holds Just Dance competitions in our gym on the HUMONGOUS projector! It's really fun when every joins in at the same time!

Grubdog

#16

Grubdog said:

It's a surprisingly good game, I think it's one of the best uses of the Wii remote to date.

sillygostly

#17

sillygostly said:

DLC is already available, however, they must be purchased directly through the eShop as opposed to an in-game shop. Additional songs cost $2.99 in the U.S. and $3.90 in Australia.

The songs currently available for the Wii U version are...
Katy Perry - Part of Me
Psy - Gangnam Style
P!nk - Funhouse
Harlin James & Clav - So Glamorous
Cobra Starship Ft. Sabi - You Make Me Feel [PAL only]

The Wii version includes a slightly wider variety of DLC, and are priced at 300 Wii points apiece.

Bankai

#18

Bankai said:

I love Just Dance. Almost as much because half the gaming community throws a tantrum over its success (yes, kids, dancing is fun), as for the game itself.

Just Dance 4 is a slight step back from 3 and 2, I personally felt the other two games had better soundtracks (ie more funky older stuff for dudes like me rather than the modern R&B stuff I'm not keen on). But that's just me. The game itself is awesome.

rayword45

#19

rayword45 said:

I love music games as a whole, DDR/ITG, Rock Band, Beatmania, always preferred freeware ones though.

And seriously, Just Dance is the bottom of the freaking barrel. It has nothing to do with the "lameness" or anything (have no shame in playing something as flamboyant as Pop'n Music per say), it just flat out sucks.

HawkeyeWii

#22

HawkeyeWii said:

I still can't believe how many people buy these games! You wouldn't think it would sell so well, but it was one of the best sellers for the Wii's lifetime.

rayword45

#23

rayword45 said:

@Bankai Well, in my opinion it does, but that's a subjective thing as always. I'm not huge on Theatrhythm either for another popular example.

Ichiban

#24

Ichiban said:

who keeps buying this ?!
Just crank whichever music you like from your stereo & dance however you like!
Seriously, get this cheese far away from the Wii U (and take Sing Party with it!)

rjejr

#25

rjejr said:

If Nintendo wants to sell more Wii U's, don't release Just Dance 5 on the Wii ;-)

Banker-Style

#26

Banker-Style said:

I really want to nab this,I've played one of these games before,and I had quite a lot of fun.

Mahe

#27

Mahe said:

@rjejr Wii U is the best platform for Just Dance, but they need to lower the price to the same level as the Wii version.

MAB

#28

MAB said:

Yeah Waltz won't buy it unless his favourite track can be downloaded... I'm blue and I'm blue and I blue and I blue and I'm blue :P

Chunky_Droid

#29

Chunky_Droid said:

I have this, and I reviewed it (gave it a similar score to Jon actually!), loads of fun, the tracklist is awesome, and has a few songs each member of my family like.

Unlocked all the Uplay rewards too, it's just a hell of a lot of fun, and more fluid than Dance Central on 360 (where in my opinion, the dancers just act incredibly robotic)

Miss_Dark

#30

Miss_Dark said:

Ugh Nintendo, what happened to your decent games... c'mon people this is cheap, just like just dance 1 2 and 3. There's totally no depth in it, they didn't even try to create a storyline. It's just a cheap way of making money imo.

rayword45

#31

rayword45 said:

@Miss_Dark Music games typically don't care about story, so that's a weak argument, especially considering how thin most Mario games are.

Miss_Dark

#32

Miss_Dark said:

@rayword45

You're right about Mario games, but those games didn't really need that because of their challenging & creative concept. I guess it's just not my thing. I remember playing just dance 2 and thinking: my god is this it... I sold it pretty fast.

rayword45

#33

rayword45 said:

@Miss_Dark Well, I hate Just Dance as well, but the story is the least of my expectations.

A dancing game with a story would be DDRX on the PS2, and that story was so laughable it may as well have not existed. Same with the Guitar Hero games, paper-thin.

Noend

#35

Noend said:

Does anyone have a date when download songs are coming to the WiiU?

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...