12 days of Wii U: Just Dance 4 review

just-dance-4-wii-u

just-dance-1The concept is nothing new. Grab a few buddies, toss them a slew of controllers and wait for the booze to hit. Once it does, the hilarity begins. But the question still remains is Just Dance 4 a well-crafted dancing experience or merely an excuse to laugh at your mates?

Up and at them!

Up and at them!

I really wanted to like Just Dance 4 and contrary to popular belief not all gamers like to work out an arse groove on the couch. I love to go out and have a dance and am more than competent at busting out some moves on the floor. That’s part of the reason this first foray into motion sensing dance was such a disappointment.

Unfortunately you still need to have a Wii-mote or up to four if you want some pals along for the ride, so don’t go trading them in just yet if you’re thinking about grabbing a Wii U. Once you get started if you watch the silky smooth dancers on screen and try to follow their routines you’re going to get yourself in a spot of bother. Well, if you don’t find yourself tripping balls from the psychotropic drug induced backgrounds, that is.

You can't escape Gangnam style

You can’t escape Gangnam style

The problem is that the Wii U’s motion sensing capabilities can only monitor the remote itself. It’s often hard to ascertain the exact moves required as the figure in the bottom corner as your guide is too imprecise. Alternately, the dancers on display exceed any average person’s ability, throwing in flourishes and complicated moves that are almost impossible to dissect. At the end of the day when all you really need to do is complete any single hand movements to garner points, why bother investing the whole body’s energy into it? Seriously, you could knock out a whole dance number by just shaking the Wii-mote and still rack up a decent score.

While I’m on the subject of points, there’s no real incentive to persevere though every single track (from a gaming perspective) as you can’t fail a song and you only earn “mojo” points to unlock alternate routines or other modes. It kind of defeats the purpose of the game itself unless its purpose was to sell a shitload of copies to the uber-casual gamers out there who don’t know any better. If that’s the case then Just Dance 4 is a tremendous success.

Why is The B-52's Rock Lobster anywhere in this game?

Why is The B-52’s Rock Lobster anywhere in this game?

Pushing the motion-sensing limitations and misleading dancers aside, Just Dance 4 has the most diverse and weird track list for a rhythm based game. I get that the developers are trying to appeal to the broadest cross-section and while I love the tracks themselves The B52’s Rock Lobster or Europe’s The Final Countdown don’t really fit now, do they?

If you’re looking for something more along the lines of an interactive dance video generator to watch and have a giggle as your inebriated mates get down then Just Dance 4 will get the job done. However, those of you who wanted a slightly more advanced and challenging test of their dance prowess and were gearing up to cut a rug in your living room will be left wanting.

4/10

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai
Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers and Hyper Magazine.