You know the winter is coming as Just Dance 2016 has recently been released to warm you up. This is the seventh instalment in Ubisoft’s franchise that, if I’m honest, I’ve always been curious about but never really played.
Right from the start on the menu I was surprised at the amount of content and game modes that were available. Really, you may wonder, how much can a dance game actually offer? You’d be surprised.
I’ll start off with the song list; it has a great mixture of music from old to new. You can play alone, with a team, or even against you’re friends and family. I’d say my favourite track has to be “You’re The One That I Want” from the movie Grease – it’s fair to say my daughter and I had some amazing laughs on this.
Not a Grease fan? Well that’s okay, it’s by no means the only song. Just Dance 2016 has more than 40 tracks to pick from this year, including famous songs like “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” Also featured are some well-loved movie songs like “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. I mentioned having a laugh: if you do decide to pick this title up I entirely recommend “William Tell Overture” by Rossini. It takes mere minutes before you’re in stitches trying to attempt the over-the-top and fun moves.
There are criticisms, however, and the worst thing about Just Dance 2016 is the inclusion of a service called “Just Dance Unlimited.” A paid-for subscription, on top of the game’s standard price tag, that puts a pay wall on the more poplar songs – such as “Let It Go” from Frozen – is not a business model I condone. It’s a means of extra sales profits from songs available in previous Just Dance games; but those songs could have been included in Just Dance 2016‘s track list.
Don’t get me wrong, such services are becoming the norm in games and quite a few people seem fine with that fact. It may also be a way for Ubisoft to increase profits in order for Just Dance to continue, given that it occupies a somewhat niche genre.
A one month trial of the “Just Dance Unlimited” streaming service comes free with purchases of Just Dance 2016, at least providing the opportunity to try before you buy. “Just Dance Unlimited” players will be able to enjoy 150 + songs from previous games – but how much will this access cost? Well, 1 month access will set you back around RRP €6.99 (£5.10), and I’d say the most poplar one will be the 3 months access: RRP €14.99 (£10.94). That’s the one I’ve gone for. If, however, you’re a real fan of the series and love the service, you can go for the 1 year access: RRP €39.99 (£29.19).
Just Dance 2016 features the ability to play with up to six players during a song, making it the perfect title if you have some family and friends over. Best of all every song is optimized for a number of players.
Just Dance 2016 is also introducing all new game modes this year. Retained is, of course, a quick play mode, which is always my favourite as you simply jumps into a game and away you go, but there’s also:
- Dance Party mode, ‘where players can either work together with a common score bar or play against each other.’
- Sweat and Playlists mode, which allows you to create your own workout sessions.
- Dance Quests mode, ‘where each quest has the player play through 3 pre-determined songs facing bots, trying to get one of the top 3 overall scores.’
- World Video Challenge mode, ‘where players send videos of their performances and challenge their friends and the whole Just Dance community to beat their score.’
- JDTV, a hub where you can view videos and dances made by the Just Dance community.
- Showtime, a new feature where players sing, act, and perform in front of their cameras to create music videos for sharing. Only select songs are available in this mode, however.
Community Remix, World Dance Floor, VIP, Score Challenges, Kcal Tracker and Auto-dance are all returning features to the game. As I said at the top there is more then just a quick play in Just Dance 2016. I really like Ubisfot’s apparent focus on online and sharing features with this latest Just Dance installment, meaning you’ll be able to share your talent or silly moments on social media right away.
Ubisoft thought outside the box with Just Dance 2016 this year when it comes to players without a Kinect, smart to realize that not everyone has a Kinect with so many Xbox One bundles shipping without them. So this year you can use your mobile phone to track movements instead. The app works by you holding your device in your right hand and it detects how jiggy one is via the gyroscopic sensor. Unfortunately, to download the app you will need an iPhone 5 or higher on iOS and an Android device running Android 4.1 or higher. Although I would suggest picking up the Kinect to make the most of this game the smartphone functionality is all right, just obviously not quite at the level of finesse offered by a Kinect. The tracking was good on the smart-phone but nowhere near compared to the Kinect.
What to say about Just Dance 2016? I was honestly surprised at the amount of content the game has and the fun factor with family and friends is enough to make you want to buy it on it’s own. Easy to setup and overall highly entertaining.