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Review: Just Dance 2016

Just Dance started as an experiment years ago but is one of the most successful party games today. It has everything for a great evening with friends, from popular songs to awkward choreographies, when Just Dance is switched on, the party begins. In Just Dance 2016, everybody can join the fun thanks to smartphone support. Just Dance 2016 offers a lot of the same but why change a winning formula, right?

It’s back 

Just Dance is available on every major platform and comes packed with 44 songs. The list isn’t as strong as the 2015 list but this doesn’t kill the fun. The game still offers some of the best songs of this moment, featuring Ellie Goulding, Jason Derulo, One Direction and a lot more. There’s a lot of content and we’re sure everybody will find a song they like.

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Just like older installments, this version also features some more obscure songs such as an Angry Birds remix and some Hatsune Miku. These songs aren’t that well known to the public but that doesn’t matter. Just Dance 2016 isn’t just about ‘big songs’; the main goal of the game is to have fun on your own or with friends. Every song can be played together with somebody else and that’s actually how the game is meant to be played. The formula hasn’t changed in this new entry but this isn’t necessary. Just Dance 2016 follows the popular path but introduces some important changes.

Use your mobile phone

The biggest improvement of Just Dance 2016 is the possibility to use your smartphone as a controller. You only need to connect the free app to your game and you’re set to go. The smartphone works the same as the Wii Remote or PlayStation Move controller and tracks your hand to see how well you’re doing. This means you don’t need to own a fancy Kinect or PlayStation Eye to enjoy this version. If you own the system and a smartphone, you can start dancing right away. The power of the smartphone is the perfect solution if you have a bunch of friends coming over. You don’t need to buy a lot of expensive controllers; your friends just need their phones and can join your game instantly.

 

Eat, sleep, dance, repeat

 

We tested the game on a PlayStation 4 and played with mobile phones. The game traced our movements to perfection but note that only your hand will be traced. If you want a more challenging experience, you still need to hook up a camera that scans your entire body. Aside of that, the mobile phones did an awesome job in replacing the controller. We lost connection sometimes when other apps pushed information but with some adjustments in our settings, we could enjoy a flawless Just Dance experience. Including the mobile phone as a controller was the smartest thing to do and transforms this Just Dance 2016 into the perfect party game.

New modes

A new way of controlling the game is great but what it’s really about are of course the modes. Just Dance 2016 combines the best from the past and adds some interesting new modes. First of all you have Dance Party where you can dance on different songs, together or alone. If you play together, you can chose to play as rivals or as co-op partners. This co-op experience is new and enables you to collect rare emeralds as a team. Working together on your score is new and it’s a great experience for sure.

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Besides this standard mode, Ubisoft added a more ‘adventures’ Dance Quests. In these quests, you’ll need to go head to head with AI opponents on three different songs. You need to end in the top three each time to clear the quest. If you clear a quest, another one will unlock. It’s a fun new mode but you’ll need to be prepared for some professional dancing. The AI in the later Dance Quests is hard to beat!

This brings us to a third new mode called Showtime. Showtime isn’t about performing dances but is all about having fun. In here you can create lip-synced music videos and share them with your friends. Ever wanted to record a music video in your living room? Well, it’s possible now!

Just Dance Unlimited 

Ubisoft also launched a new service called Just Dance Unlimited. This service enables you to download 156 extra songs and four extra Dance Quests with more to come. You’ll also find some of the most popular songs of previous Just Dance titles here. It’s a smart decision to bring back those popular songs but this service comes at a price of 6.99 each month. The price is a little steep but every physical copy of the game comes with a month free trial of the service. This service is perfect for Just Dance fans that simple can’t wait for new songs until the Just Dance 2017 installment.

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Great visuals

Just Dance 2016 has a lot of great content to offer but we also noticed the beautiful backgrounds. It looks like the developers are getting better at it each year but the characters and background in this version are incredible. You won’t find boring ‘realistic’ dancers here. Instead you’ll see some crazy dressed up silhouettes performing the dance on your television. The background behind the dancers really pops out of the screen without limiting your view on the dancers. Thanks to these great visuals, you’ll want to play Just dance 2016 the moment you see it in action.

Conclusion:

They did it again; Just dance 2016 is another great entry in the popular franchise. It follows the classic formula but adds some great innovations such as mobile controllers. The songs aren’t as good as the 2015 version but that doesn’t take away any of the fun. If you’re looking for a fun party game to play with friends or family during the Holiday Season, this is the one you need to own. Invite them home, let them bring their smartphones and prepare for a perfect party!

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.