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A great game for fun and exercise
on January 12, 2010
I admit, I wasn't expecting much when I first heard about Just Dance a few months ago. I figured it'd be just like another one of those games like Dancing with the Stars and High School Musical where you see characters on screen dancing, but all you're doing is waving your remote to match the visual cues on the screen. Ho Hum.
The first thing that struck me when I popped the game into the Wii was that these were fun songs from every era. They're all family-friendly, and there's something in the track list for everyone, from baby boomers to Gen X'ers to Gen Y'ers. Here's the entire track list. Most of the songs are not covers, but original tracks from the original singers.
Girl Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Ring My Bell - Anita Ward
A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix) - Elvis vs. JXL
Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Womanizer - The Gym All-Stars
Groove Is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
Jerk It Out - Caesars
I Live to Move It (Radio Mix) - Reel 2 Real feat. The Mad Stuntman
Not N Cold (Chick Version) - Katy Perry
Mashed Potato Time - Dee Dee Sharp
Girls and Boys - Blur
Fame - In the style of Irene Cara
Lump - The Presidents of the United States of America
Kids in America - Kim Wilde
Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic
I Get Around - The Beach Boys
Le Freak - Chic
That's the Way (I Like It) - KC and the Sunshine Band
Louie Louie - Iggy Pop
Funplex (CSS Remix) - The B-52s
Jin Go Lo Ba - Fatboy Slim
DARE - Gorillaz
Bebe - Divine Brown
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Can't Get You Out of My Head - Kylie Minogue
Acceptable in the 80s - Calvin Harris
Who Let the Dogs Out - Baha Men
Wanna Be - Spice Girls
Step By Step - New Kids on the Block
U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer
The second thing that impressed me was that this game features actual dance moves to the songs. In other words, not only are you playing the game, you're learning actual dance steps. You'll learn the "Mashed Potato" that was all the rage in the 1960's to Dee Dee Sharp's "Mashed Potato Time". You'll learn the best disco moves of the 70's with songs like "That's the Way I Like It". And my personal dream come true--you can dance like MC Hammer with "U Can't Touch This".
For the controller, they went for a decidedly simpler approach, and they hit a home run. For using one Wii remote, the controls are remarkably accurate as far as detecting whether you're dancing correctly or not. For each move, you'll be given a grade of "Great", "Okay" and "X". Now, I won't lie and say the controls are the most precise in the world. There'll be plenty of times you'll be doing the moves precisely, but the Wii will tell you you're not. But where this game triumphs is that even though the controls may be off, the game is so fun that you really don't care.
And you also find that the more you practice the moves and "feel the music", the better your scores become. If you've gotten to the point where you've memorized the dance and are just doing the moves to the music, your score will be great.
The game is simple. You choose a song, and then after a countdown from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, you'll see a silhouetted character on your screen doing the dance moves. The character is generally dressed appropriately for the song: a disco dude will lead you through "That's the Way I Like It", a cowgirl will do a two-step to "Cotton Eye Joe", and a dog (yes, a dog) will dance to "Who Let the Dogs Out". You basically just have to do the mirror image of the character's moves.
They also have multiplayer games. In the first game (Challenge), you can basically have a dance-off between you and up to three other friends to see who'll get the high score. Again, you don't mind in this case if the controls are not completely precise because you're all on the same playing field. In the second game (Strike a Pose), it's like a game of Red Light / Green Light where you have to freeze in your tracks when the music stops. The third game (Last one standing) is an elimination game where the person who makes the least mistakes wins the game.
As fpr the exercise value, with virtually every song, I ended it panting because I was out of breath, and even though I was out of breath I wanted to try it again and again until I got it right. To me, that's the sign of a great exercise game.