Ubisoft’s popular rhythm party game series returns! Just Dance 2015, the latest instalment in the Just Dance series, allows players to show off their dancing skills. The game also features multiplayer modes for up to four people, allowing players to assemble a dance crew with their friends for party and competitive modes.
Fundamentally, the mechanics of the game remain unchanged: the game displays dance moves on the screen in coordination with a song’s choreographed routine. Players use their bodies and Wii remotes to follow the prompts and virtual dancers in order to get as close as they can to matching their performances. Unlike previous installments of the game, there is no indication of the relative difficulty of a routine while selecting a song. While this may encourage more people to jump in and select a familiar tune to dance along to, it may also catch inexperienced or first time players off guard by permitting them to inadvertently select a difficult song.
New to the series is the Community Remix mode, where videos of other players that have been submitted and approved via social media replace the virtual avatars of the game. While a neat idea in theory, it may be better executed on other consoles with webcam support than it is on the Wii. However, Ubisoft should be applauded for the inclusion of the feature on this version of the game, nonetheless.
The game ships with 44 songs on-disc songs, consisting primarily of recent chart hits and popular favorites, such as Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea’s “Problem,” Ylvis’s viral video sensation “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” and the inescapable “Let It Go” from Disney’s animated musical Frozen. The song list can be expanded upon by purchasing additional songs and alternate dance routines, at prices ranging from free to $3.00 USD.
While the song list cultivates the atmosphere of a modern party, it does so at the expense of older songs. Songs from before 2012 account for just over a quarter of the total selection, with “Bad Romance” and “Macarena” being the sole representatives of their respective decades of release. Additionally, “Macarena” is an in-house cover version recorded specifically for the game, as is the case for the overwhelming majority of the older songs: only a mere six of the pre-2012 songs present utilize the original popular recordings.
While the game aims to be as accessible as possible, a rhythm game’s success depends primarily on its soundtrack. It’s obvious that Ubisoft is targeting a younger demographic with the songs they have chosen, which is a little disappointing considering the diverse and inspired musical selections of previous installments of the series. The lack of relative difficulty ratings for routines also is a questionable exclusion which may significantly skew the learning curve for newcomers to the game. While previous editions may be more qualified to be the life of the party, Just Dance 2015 still delivers enough familiar gameplay and music to be enjoyable.