Sometimes we get sent a game to review which might not be our cup of tea. That’s okay though, in most instances we can deal with it and play for a few days and come to an objective opinion. When Just Dance 2016 found its way into our hands and then eventually onto my desk I thought not only is this not my cup of tea, it’s so foreign to me it barely qualifies as tea at all.
I’ve never played a Just Dance game and the first thing that struck me as odd with Just Dance 2016 was the lack of a floor pad, like with Dance Dance Revolution. How the hell do you even play this game?
Well it turns out there is a controller app available for smart phones, which A: means you have to get up and do stuff, (urgh) and B: have to risk flinging my phone through a window. Luckily only one of those things happened, and my phone is totally fine.
Launching into the game I picked solo mode and chose the Equinox Stars cover of Let’s Groove, mainly because it was one of maybe three songs I actually knew. On the screen a digital dancer appeared, and text told me I had to mirror his move. I thought to myself that I could do this, I’m sure a game aimed at a younger audience wouldn’t be too hard. Yeah, well I was wrong.
The guy I was supposed to be mirroring was a Harlem Globetrotter of dancing. At one point he was on the floor doing dance things (pretty sure that is the technical term). Getting down on the floor of my lounge to play a game is only ever an option if I’ve eaten too much ice cream and need to shame sprawl on the carpet.
Actually mirroring the dancer was almost completely out of the question. So there I stood, watching bright colours flash at me waving my phone in the vague direction the guy on the TV was moving. This turned out to be an okay option, as most of the lazy jabbing movements I was making synced relatively well, a few perfect moves even flashed up on the screen.
Time to try co-op out, my Fiance jumped in with me to dance along to Circus by Brtitney Spears. I was playing as a female cat person who pretty much did cat claws at the screen for the song’s entirety.
So there I was, a 24 year old man standing in my living room growling at the television next to the person I’m going to marry. Demeaning doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. This is the kind of thing that should be done in a darkened room with all the curtains drawn and never uttered in polite society.
My Fiance on the other hand enjoyed the game. She even went to far as to say “I’m surprised Gangnam style isn’t on it.” Feel free to put that on the box, Ubisoft.
Now to put some mild professionalism into this article. The game is definitely directly catered towards a specific audience. The track list is the kind of stuff I assume teenage girls listen to, with the occasional retro song thrown in. Upsettingly some of the better songs are locked behind the pay wall that is Just Dance Unlimited, so you will have to splash some cash if you want to dance along to 99 Luftballons.
I really do struggle to see the future of a game series like Just Dance. It’s has the old sports game conundrum as to whether the devs can keep recycling the same game with an altered roster of songs. Overall this is the kind of thing that will probably be a hit with it’s target audience but won’t really resonate with others.
I’d probably get the game out again if I end up having friends over and we’ve drunk enough wine to get into it. I won’t give Just Dance 2016 a score out of 10 as I feel it would just be a blind stab in the dark. But what Just Dance 2016 does seem to bring to the table is a fun party game that will be a laugh with friends and has great smart phone connectivity.