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Nutwiisystem.Com (New York, NY USA)
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Another very good Zumba title with improvements such as live action video instructors and a world travel theme
, November 9, 2013
Zumba Fitness World Party is the latest version of Zumba Fitness to hit the Wii. For those keeping score, the other versions have been Zumba Fitness, Zumba Fitness 2, and Zumba Fitness Core.
When you start the game, you'll see a video of Beto, Priscilla Satori, Gina Grant, Loretta Bates, Peter Lee, Nick Logrea, Melissa Cruz, Heidi Torres, Armando Salcedo, Kass Martin, Eric Aglia, and Dr. B and the Bhenga Bros dancing in locations around the world. It's a great way to introduce you to the instructors and the locales you'll be encountering in the game.
The options on the main menu are:
"World Tour" is a new "adventure mode" where you can travel virtually to different parts of the world. The areas of the world you'll be "visiting" include Brazil, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, India, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico. When you visit each part of the world, the playlist reflects the music of that region, which is pretty cool. Here are the songs in each region, along with the genres and exercise intensity:
Brazil (Afro Samba, Capoeira, Brazilian Funk, Samba, Axe, Brazillian Pop, Reggae)
Na Ponta Do Pe - Medium Intensity
Batucada Dance - High Intensity
Garota Nacional - Medium Intensity
Ruas Encantadas - High Intensity
Coisa Brasileira - Medium Intensity
Mas Que Nada - High Intensity
Caribbean (Dance Hall, Cumbia, Calypso, Reggae)
Vibes - Warm Up
Marioneta - Medium Intensity
Loco - Medium Intensity
Caribbean Dream - Medium Intensity
Pega Pega - Medium Intensity
True to Myself - Cool Down
Europe (Irish Step, EDM, Burlesque, Russian Folk, Flamenco)
Clarity - Warm Up
The Beggerman Jig - High Intensity
Una De Salao - Medium Intensity
Russian Dances - High Intensity
Put the Gun Down - High Intensity
Hawaii (Hawaiian Pop, Traditional Hula, Modern Tahitian, Hawaiian Reggae)
Maoli Girl - Low Intensity
Haleiwa Hula - Low Intensity
1865 (95 Degrees...) - Low Intensity
Jungle - High Intensity
Mashallah - Medium Intensity
Indian Moonshine - High Intensity
Boro Boro - High Intensity
Kaim Rahe Sardari - High Intensity
Los Angeles (Pop, Hip-Hop, Swing, Blues)
Beam Me Up - Warm Up
Born This Way - Medium Intensity
Shake Your Hips - High Intensity
Next to Me - Cool Down
Exotic - Medium Intensity
Puttin' on the Ritz - High Intensity
Do You Feel Like Moving? - High Intensity
Came Here to Party - High Intensity
Puerto Rico (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Latin Pop, Reggaeton, Girly Funk, Bomba/Plena)
Limbo - Medium Intensity
Bailando Por Ahi - Medium Intensity
Echa Pa'lla - Medium Intensity
Corazoncito Bonito - Low Intensity
Perros Salvajes - High Intensity
Aguanile - Medium Intensity
Zumba Boricua - HIgh Intensity
For each country, you earn "Zumba Miles" for dancing to the first two songs, and then use those to unlock subsequent songs. Note that this only applies to the World Tour mode; in the Full Class and Quick Play modes, all 40 songs are already unlocked.
During the course of the "World Tour" you'll unlock "passport stamps", "souvenirs", and "postcards" as you dance. There's really not much challenge to earning these-just dance with some semblance of accuracy and you'll see these goodies awarded to you throughout your dancing.
To get started, you first put your Wii remote into your Zumba Fitness Belt, which is included with the game. There's nothing really special about this belt other than having the Zumba logo on it, it's just a piece of flimsy plastic with a pocket that your put the Wii remote in. As with prior versions of the game, the key is to put the remote "up-side up" so that the power button is closest to your face and the "A" button is facing towards the TV.
Next comes the dancing. You'll see a scene from the area of the world you're visiting, and a Zumba instructor will be in the center of the screen. As with all these kinds of games you'll need to mimic his or her moves as if you're looking in a mirror. You'll also see a running count of the "Zumba Miles" you earn.
You'll also see a number of attractive professional Zumba dancers dancing along; the better you dance, the more Zumba dancers will join in. In a clever touch of humor and realism, in some scenes you'll also see a crowd of "amateur" Zumba dancers in the background who like you and me may not exactly be following the moves correctly (but like you and me, are trying their best).
As with other games of this ilk, you'll also see an animated preview of the next dance move that's coming in a postage stamp-sized window in the upper right-hand corner. I didn't find this very helpful, as it didn't really break down the moves for me, but as I play the game more I can see how this can be helpful in anticipating the next moves.
Unlike previous versions of Zumba Fitness, instead of an animated cartoon figure or a faceless silhouette, you'll see the actual video image of the instructor. This makes it a whole lot easier to pick out the moves they're doing, and is a lot more like a realistic Zumba session than ever before.
When you hit the right moves, you'll see the words "Zumba!", "Nice!" or "Hot!" appear on the screen, and the more precisely you dance, the more stars you earn. To test the motion controls, I did a little experiment where I just sat on the couch and waggled the remote--and sure enough the game was smart enough not to give me credit for doing that. That said, when I actually danced the way I was supposed to, it wasn't difficult for me to get 4 or 5 stars each time--even though my form was really, really bad. It seems that as long as you're "close", the system will reward you for trying. So you're kind of under the "honor system" to really put your all into the dancing and to try to learn the precise moves each time you play.
The "Full Class" option is more like a traditional Zumba class where you can choose one of 15 Short Classes (between 9 and 22 minutes), one of 15 Medium Classes (each about 40 minutes), one of 15 Full Length Classes (about 60 minutes each), or your own custom class. In the Full Classes, you basically dance to songs in the playlist continuously until the time is up. Your star rating will appear under each class, so if you don't hit five stars, you'll have incentive to go and play the class again.
With "Quick Play", you can jump in and start dancing to any of the 40 songs.
"My Zumba" lets you view your progress. You can see how many days you've been playing and get weekly reports on the amount of time you've played, the calories you've burned, the number of sets you've danced. You can also set goals for yourself and view the bonus videos, levels, and awards you've unlocked.
You can also view the postcards (signed by Zumba instructors standing in front of scenes from the different countries) and souvenirs (photos of cultural trinkets and knickknacks) that you've earned in your "World Scrapbook".
This section also has "Learn the Steps" where you can choose a dance style, basic step, and speed and master it. As I mentioned before, there's no training option where they break down each individual song, but by mastering the basic steps for each song you'll basically be able to tie them together when dancing the full songs.
Here are the Dance Styles and Steps you'll be able to practice:
Axe Samba - Basic Samba, Samba Box
Bollywood - Basic Bollywood Step, Step Together Cross Arms
Brazilian Funk - Booty Pop, In-Game Step
Burlesque - Hip Up and Down, Throw Arms
Capoiera - Balanco, Ginga
Cumbia - Front and Back, Sleepy Leg
Hip Hop - Cat Daddy, In-Game Step
Hula - Kaholo, Umi
Irish Step - Cross Over Leg, Knee In and Up
Merengue - 6 Count, Pas De Bouree
Pop - Booty 180, Kick Ball Change
Reggaeton - In-Game Step, Knee Lift
Salsa - In-Game Step, Side Step
Another nice things about the Wii version of the game is that is supports up to four simultaneous dancers, who can be dancing anywhere in the room. With the Xbox 360 (and One) versions, you're limited to two players standing within camera range.
My impression of Zumba World Class is pretty much the same as my reviews of past Zumba games. It's quite literally the next best thing if you can't make it to a real Zumba class. You get instruction from the top Zumba dancers in the world, you get 40 great songs to dance to, and you can dance any time of the day or night.
There are some minor annoyances in the game, mostly having to do with really bad user interface design. To select menus, you need to be ultra precise with the Wii remote to click on menu options, and you generally can't use the arrow button to navigate. During the Tutorial mode, you can't just use the arrow button on your Wii remote to move to the next dance, you need to take out your remote from your belt each time. While you're dancing the World Tour, between songs you'll see a screen that flashes for about half a second, which doesn't give you any time to read what it says. There are many more user interface annoyances that a fourth-generation game really shouldn't have.
Also, anyone who's expecting a game that'll help your Zumba technique might be disappointed in the motion tracking, which really only measures whether you're putting in an effort.
Still, as before, if you're a Zumba enthusiast, chances are you'll be able to overlook the flaws and be very happy with this one. The live action video dancing is an excellent new feature, and the new "world travel theme" that really provides incentives for you to keep dancing.
So the 5 stars I gave it is based on the assumption that if you're on this page you're already a Zumba fans or are someone who's interested in trying Zumba. But for those just looking for a general exercise and fitness game, the user interface annoyances probably move it closer to a 4 star game, and I'd probably still give the edge to a game like Wii Fit U or Your Shape 2013.
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
For owners of the Wii U and a Balance Board, a great alternative to FitBit or FuelBand
, November 2, 2013
As most people know by now, Nintendo has a special deal for anyone who's a Wii U owner and already owns a Wii Balance Board. If you download the free 31-day trial version of Wii Fit U from the Nintendo eShop, all you have to do is purchase this $19.99 Fit Meter and register it in-game to convert the trial version into the full version. Considering that the retail bundle of the physical game + Fit Meter will cost $49.99--and won't even be released until 12/13/13--you can save $30 and get the full game right away. (The deal is only good until 1/13/14).
The unit itself is about the size of an Oreo cookie. The unit is fairly light, and its edges are smooth and rounded. While marketing images of the Fit Meter showed it in a lovely green color, Fit Meters currently come just in black/grey in North America.
The Wii U logo is on top, and on the bottom there are three buttons: a left and right arrow and a round button in the middle. The unit has a 1" x 3/4" LCD screen. As light as it is, the unit seems fairly durable; I've dropped mine a few times already and it's none the worse for wear. That said, I'd still handle it with care; the unit is covered by Nintendo's 12-month warranty, but that likely won't cover dings and scratches.
There's no backlight but the LCD display is pretty readable. Happily, the battery appears to be easily replaceable. You unscrew a single Phillips screw on the back of the unit, which reveals a CR 2032 watch battery. Because of some smart battery-saving techniques, the one battery should last you many months, if not longer (the LCD screen display only turns on when you press the button, but after a few minutes the screen will go into "sleep" mode, shutting off the display but still tracking your motions throughout the day).
When you power up the unit (by removing the plastic tab covering the battery), you'll see an icon of the Fit Meter next to an icon of the Wii U GamePad on the LCD screen. I took this as my cue to start up Wii Fit U to register it. When you do so, make sure that you're signed in to the profile that you want associated with the Fit Meter. While multiple users in Wii Fit U can use a Fit Meter, each person would need to have his or her own.
To get started with the registration process, you can simply click on the bouncing Fit Meter in the game. Then, click on the "Register" button. You'll be told to point the Fit Meter to your Wii U Gamepad. It took me a few tries before I realized I had to point the *top* of my Fit Meter to the *top* of the GamePad.
You then press and hold the middle button on the Fit Meter, and then you'll see a "Transmitting Data" screen. Lo and behold, in a few seconds, you'll see your Mii's face magically appear on the LCD screen. In a way that reminded me of a Tamagotchi, your Mii's facial expressions will change from time to time, giving your device a bit of a personality.
You basically clip it on your waist, and your movements will be tracked throughout the day. The Fit Meter is a pedometer that track steps, of course, but it does a whole lot more. It also tracks your altitude, displays the current time, displays the current temperature, and shows how many calories you've burned. I was pleasantly surprised that unlike other pedometers, this one seemed to be pretty accurate at tracking actual steps and of negating false positives (other pedometers I've had would give me 10 steps just for sneezing or dropping it). Walking is based on both number of steps and stride, so brisk walking or running is differentiated from casual movement. Similarly, it's smart enough to differentiate altitude changes when you walk vs. when you go on an elevator and "credit" you the right numbers.
There are actually a lot of neat little features on the unit itself. Pressing and quickly releasing the middle button let me scroll through various tiny graphs on the unit, including a METs graph (Metabolic Equivalents, basically a measure of exertion), an altitude chart, a chart of calories burned by week, and settings for volume (of the various chirps the unit makes) and for contrast of the LCD display.
Moving forward, whenever you start up Wii Fit U and select your profile, the system will ask you first to point your Fit Meter to the GamePad and sync the data.
After you register your device some things in Wii Fit U will change as well. First, you'll notice that your Mii is now wearing the Fit Meter on his or her waist. There'll also be two new menu options:
The first is called "Fit Meter Data", where you'll be able to view data transferred from your Fit Meter, with detailed information for each day. You can see the number of METs expended each day, by the hour of the day, whether you're running, ascending, descending, walking, doing light activity, or resting. Over time, it's fascinating to look for patterns in your daily activities.
The second is called "Fit Meter Challenge" where you can use your Fit Meter data and challenge yourself to complete "courses" from around the world. You can choose walking challenges or altitude challenges. For example, if you choose a walking course in New York, you're shown a blank map of New York City with a running path from Midtown, up to Central Park, down through Times Square, and down the West Side to Battery Park for a total of 13 miles. Each time you open the map, you'll be given the option of getting "credit" for the miles you've put onto your Fit Meter since the last time you synced the data. You'll see your little Mii progressing along the path, with buildings being filled in to the blank map, and coins "blinging" along the way (which, ever since the first Mario Bros. game provides me with a Pavlovian sense of happiness). You'll also get some nice encouragement from the animated Balance Board with each milestone you hit. Similarly, you can choose altitude challenges; for example, climbing the equivalent of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Fuji, or Mount Everest. It's a nice added incentive to rack up as many miles as you can on the Fit Meter.
If you have exercise goals set up in Wii Fit U, the system will determine from the synced data if you've met those goals through your daily activity, and if not, will suggest additional activities within the game for you to complete your goals.
Overall, I'm very pleased so far with the Fit Meter. I'm not a hardcore athlete, but I do run to catch the train most mornings, and many afternoons after work I opt to take the 20 block walk back to the train station rather than taking the subway. I've been thinking about getting a FitBit or a Nike+ to track my exercise, but those have been prohibitively expensive. I've also tried using iPhone apps, but it's always hard for me to remember to turn them on and off. For me, the Fit Meter seems like a natural and hassle-free way for me to give myself "credit" for the energy I exert through the day--and to use the data to find ways to improve. It's definitely a "must buy" if you own a Wii U and a Balance Board.
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Good family-friendly alternative to Just Dance 2014, but still in its shadow
, October 23, 2013
Just Dance 2014, as all of its predecessors, is a great video game, but it can be a bit of a dilemma for parents. On the one hand, it's a great way to have fun as a family and to get some great exercise. But on the other hand, some parents may feel uncomfortable having to explain songs like "Get Lucky", "Blurred Lines" and "I Kissed a Girl" to their very young kids.
Ubisoft's answer to these parents is Just Dance Kids 2014. The gameplay is essentially the same as Just Dance 2014, with a few differences that make it more kid friendly. While it's not without its flaws, Ubisoft did a pretty good job of making it a game that the whole family can enjoy.
The first difference is that a lot of the extras you see in Just Dance 2014 aren't there. There are no "Sweat Mode" and no "Mojo Points" to earn. The tracks have one set of dance steps, unlike Just Dance 2014 that has multiple routines per song. And of course, there's no "JDTV" nor online play options. You also can't create dancer cards nor track individual dancers' performances (everyone plays as "Player 1", "Player 2", and so on).
The next difference is in the track list. It's not the typical fingerboards-on-the-chalkboard-please-put-me-out-of-my-misery collection of kiddie songs sung by someone who's breathed in too much helium. It actually has a soundtrack which, dare I say, is pretty "cool". You have pop songs from stars who got their starts on the Disney Channel like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Bridget Mendler, as well as popular songs from groups like One Direction and Owl City that tweens in the family will enjoy. You also have oldies like "Magic Carpet Ride", "Footloose" and "The Hustle" that Mom and Dad will appreciate; a few kid-friendly songs from the likes of the cast of Fraggle Rock and The Wiggles; and even "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Hickory Dickory Dock" for the toddlers in the family (the former which inexplicably has a difficulty rating of 2/3 stars).
Here's a complete track list:
Do You Love Me
The Freeze Game - Yo Gabba Gabba
Get Down On It
Get Ready to Wiggle - The Wiggles
Give Your Heart a Break - Demi Lovato
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Hit the Lights - Selena Gomez and The Scene
I Like to Move It
Magic Carpet Ride
Make It Shine - Victoria Justice
Mary Had a Little Lamb
One Thing - One Direction
Party in the Kitchen
A Pirate You Shall Be
Problem (The Monster Remix) - Becky G feat. will.i.am
Put Your Hearts Up - Ariana Grande
Ready or Not - Bridget Mendler
Skip To My Lou
The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
Walking on Sunshine
We Go Well Together - Goldheart
Each song is marked with 1-3 stars for difficulty and 1-3 sweat drops for energy level, something which has been in all the versions of Just Dance but which some reason was taken away from Just Dance 2014.
The other big difference is in the graphics. Instead of a faceless silhouette as your dance guide, your dance guide is a video image of actual kids dancing to the songs. My guess is that they decided to use real animated figures instead of abstract ones because they're easier for kids to follow--there's even a glowing trail on the dancer's right hand that makes it extremely easy to follow. The animations are also whimsical and again, have a bit more realism and a bit less abstraction than the grown-up game.
I'm not sure if I was having a bad night, but motion tracking wasn't working as well for me as it did on Just Dance 2014, which can always be a bit frustrating. Interestingly, Just Dance 2014 for Kids uses the Wii Remote, while the grown-up version uses the Wii Remote Plus, so that might account for some of the difference.
There are three dance modes. The first is "Just Dance", where just like the grown-up version 1-4 players can dance to the song and are scored on accuracy.
The second is "Freeze and Shake", which is kind of a cross between "Red Light, Green Light" and "Simon Says" where in the middle of the song you'll see icons next to your avatar telling you to shake your Wii remote or to freeze, and you'll get points for following the instructions correctly. While I assume this mode was meant to appeal to younger players who are frustrated because they can't do the dance moves, but want to get points for following instructions, this feature kind of fell flat for me. Even as an adult, it was hard for me to focus on the dance moves and constantly be looking in the upper left-hand corner to see whether I should shake the remote or move it.
The third mode is "Team High Score", where all the players will dance, and while a "spotlight" shines on a certain player's avatar, that player will dance while the other players will shake their remotes vigorously to collect the "stars" that the player generates. Again, probably a good feature for young players who want to feel like they're earning points just like the older players, but not a very appealing feature for everyone.
While I appreciate the addition of these extra modes to try to make it more fun for the family to play together, I'm not sure if these particular modes will be appealing to anyone except for the very young players to "fit in". That said, I'd definitely like to see future versions continue to try to come up with ways the whole family can play together.
There's a "Parents" section of the game that has six options: "Play Tracker", where parents can view the gameplay history; "Progress" that shows top scores for each of the songs in each of the modes, as well as the number of times each song has been played; "Medals", which shows achievements of various kinds; "Options", which lets you toggle lyrics, next move icons, progress meter and usage tracking on and off, and also lets you choose your language (English, Spanish, French). There's also a "Philosophy" button in this section; when you click it, you read a personal note from the designers, artists, producers and programmers of the game who talk about their approach to making this game.
I definitely appreciate this team's philosophy, and they did do a very good job of making a game that's really family-friendly and age-appropraite. But I was a bit disappointed that the new modes weren't as compelling for all ages as they could have been. Also, there are plenty of songs and features on the grown-up version of Just Dance that are perfectly family-friendly, and kids who see their friends with Just Dance 2014 may feel a bit slighted that Just Dance Kids 2014 doesn't have the same level of features or songs.
I almost wish that instead of "penalizing" parents by making them purchase a new $29.99 game, Ubisoft could just incorporate some of these songs and features into the regular version of Just Dance and provide parental controls for parents who want them.
But that said, if you're a parent who has young children, Just Dance Kids 2014 has a great selection of songs and dances for kids aged 6-14, and you can rest assured that you won't be blushing trying to explain the lyrics to the songs.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Breathes new life into your old elliptical, treadmill, or exercise bike
, October 14, 2013
If you're like me, you have an old exercise machine somewhere in the basement collecting dust. In my case, it was an elliptical that I paid too much money for, but I justified it by saying that I was saving money by not paying for a gym membership, and that after just a few weeks this thing would pay for itself.
It's about 10 years after I bought that thing, and it hasn't paid for itself yet. I think I can count the number of times I've used it on my fingers and toes. It's just too...danged...boring. I tried reading (I bounce too much), watching TV (I can't do both things at once), and staring into space (not fun), and nothing makes the experience enjoyable.
That all changed with this product. It's actually quite ingenious. Rather than try to sell you yet another overpriced piece of exercise equipment, Goji Play works with the equipment you have.
The concept is simple: you have two "game controllers", each of which are basically a plastic box with two buttons. You strap these onto the handles of your equipment (or if you have a treadmill without a handle, you can use two "batons" made of dense foam that you can grasp on to.
Then, you have an activity sensor that you clip onto your waist or put in your pocket.
Finally, you download the free Goji Play app to your iPhone 4S or higher, iPad 3 or higher, iPad Mini, or iPod Touch 5th Generation (unfortunately it doesn't work with an iPad 2, which I have, so I used my 4s. It also doesn't support Android devices, but I'm sure they're working on it).
Within the app, you'll configure your equipment (it's really seamless) and then you can download games from the App Store. Right now they have eight different games you can download and play (all free as of the time of this writing). Once all this is done, place the phone or tablet in front of you so you can see it as you're working out.
This is where the magic happens. What was once a dull, boring piece of exercise equipment now becomes a really addictive video fitness trainer. Suddenly, you're a ball rolling at breakneck speed down a path, a snowboarder going down a hill, a bicyclist weaving through city traffic, and so on. The faster you run, or pedal, or...elliptisize, the faster your character moves on screen!
And you're so focused trying to accomplish tasks in the video game, such as collecting diamonds or avoiding obstacles, that you forget that you're exercising. I literally tried out two games just to see what they were like, and before I knew it I had exercised 40 minutes.
What's very cool is that you can return to the Goji Play app, and you'll see statistics of your exercise and how you're progressing towards your goals, such as calories burned or number of steps.
I've played a lot of exercise games on the Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. In a lot of cases, these video games just try way too hard, whether it's trying to do overly complex motion detection, over-stylizing the graphics to the point where performance is hit, or stuffing in a lot of features you don't need, like cookbooks.
What I really like about the Goji Play games is that they're simple, easy-to-understand, and as such as really addictive. If there's a gripe I have about them, it's that the games themselves do have a bit of an amateruish feel about them in terms of visual design. I understand that a certain amount of prettiness had to be sacrificed for performance, but I would rather, for example, have seen them make some deals with some existing game publishers to "Goji-ize" already-successful games rather than attempt to re-create them from scratch. Perhaps they're working on this, or partner with a seasoned game company to build a game that's just as compelling to play without the equipment as it is with it (a FPS or track-and-field game could be really interesting, for example, as could an app like Wii Street U that uses Google Street view).
Overall, I was pretty impressed by this product so far. Its inventors were also inventors of the phenomenally successful Guitar Hero franchise, so I hope for more exciting things from them in the future.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Excellent improvements that continue to push the franchise forward
, October 10, 2013
What I like about Just Dance 2014 is not only that they've added some great new features, but they've also kept what's worked from past versions.
Some of the things they've kept:
- Good motion detection. They've been continually improving motion detection on the Wii since Just Dance 2, and they've just about perfected it by finally supporting the Wii Remote Plus. It's not as precise as a Kinect or a Playstation Move, but it's still very good--if you do the dance correctly and hold the Wii remote correctly, you will get a high score. The Wii Remote Plus is a little less "forgiving" than in previous versions of the game, but as long as you use the proper technique (grasp the Wii remote like a baton with buttons facing toward you, don't twist your wrists while dancing, etc.) you'll do fine. (I was actually convinced that my Wii remote was broken when I kept losing points to a certain song, until my 10 year old nephew used the same remote and instantly got 5 stars on the same song. :P)
- Simple, fast graphics and animation. I much prefer to try to follow a simple silhouetted figure than an overly stylized, overly realistic character. And I love the sense of humor of the animators--in certain songs you might be dancing as a panda, zombie, flower child, or ghost.
- Just Sweat mode. You can play 10, 20, or 40 minutes at a time, or turn on "free mode" to count calories on any song you play during the game. As another reviewer has stated, you can't save playlists; one is randomly generated for you each time. You can customize the playlist each time prior to working out.
- Excellent variety of different choreography for each song. Each song comes with a standard set of dance moves, but for many songs you can unlock other variations, such as "On Stage" (where multiple players interact with each other as they're dancing in a musical), "Mashup" (which consists of moves from past Just Dance games) and "Sweat" (which maximizes moves that give you a great workout).
Here are some of the newer things in Just Dance 2014 I like:
- Dancer Cards. You can set up a profile, give yourself a nickname, and then any time track your total kCals burned in Just Sweat Mode, your favorite songs, your average star rating, and your online level. You can even choose from an oh-so-cute set of avatar faces to identify you, a huge improvement over the past when you could only be identified by color and a generic name like "Happy".
- Online gameplay. I wasn't sure if they could pull this off but they did. When you log on, you'll see an icon called "World Dance Floor" and see the number of online players dancing. You can join in and participate in friendly competitions, voting for songs, or just dancing with the group and seeing who gets the highest score. The good news for those who want to keep their online identities secure is that you're only identified by your Dancer Card nickname.
- A better points system. Unlike Just Dance 4 where you had to collect Mojo Points and then wait for a random thing in the game to be unlocked, Just Dance 2014 uses a "shopping" system where you can collect points and then use them to "buy" different things to unlock, such as alternate choreography or mash-ups.
- A great new mix of contemporary songs and oldies. I'm not sure why Amazon doesn't publish full lists of the tracks, but for your convenience here's a complete song list that lists artist, song name, and the number of dancers and difficulty level of the classic choreography. (They've done away with separate rating for difficulty and exertion, and have simplified it to easy, medium, and hard.)
One Direction - Kiss You - 4 - Easy
Lady Gaga - Just Dance - 1 - Hard
George Michael - Careless Whisper - 2 - Hard
Ke$ha - C'mon - 2 - Medium
David Guetta ft SIA - She Wolf (Falling to Pieces) - 1 - Medium
The Girly Team - Flashdance-What a Feeling - 1 - Hard
Disney's Aladdin - Prince Ali - 4 - Medium
Daft Punk ft. Pharrel Williams - Get Lucky - 2 - Medium
Jessie J ft. Big Sean - Wild - 1 - Hard
PSY - Gentleman - 1 - Medium
Robin Thicke ft. Pharrel Williams - Blurred Lines - 2 - Easy
Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters - 4 - Medium
Gloria Gaynor- I Will Survive - 1 - Easy
Will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber - #thatPOWER - 4 - Hard
Daddy Yankee - Limbo - 2 - Hard
Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller - The Way - 2 - Easy
Nicki Minaj - Pound the Alarm - 4 - Medium
Frankie Bostello - Love Boat - 1 - Medium
Olly Mira ft. Flo Rida - Troublemaker - 1 - Easy
Lady Gaga - Applause - 1 - Medium
Mick Jackson- Blame it on the Boogie - 4 - Easy
Imposs ft. Konshens- Feel So Right - 1 - Hard
Mungo Jerry- In the Summertime - 4 - Easy
Chris Brown - Fine China - 1 - Medium
Louis Prima - Just a Gigolo - 2 - Medium
Rihanna - Where Have You Been - 1 - Hard
Ricky Martin - Maria - 1 - Hard
Abba - Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) - 1 - Easy
Dancing Bros - Moskau - 2 - Hard
Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera - Feel This Moment - 1 - Easy
Wisin Y Handel ft. Jennifer Lopez - Follow the Leader -1 - Hard
Village People - YMCA - 4 - Easy
Far East Movement ft. Cover Drive - Turn Up the Love - 2 - Hard
Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved - 2 - Easy
Nicki Minaj - Starships - 1 - Hard
Rutschen Planeten - 99 Luftballons - 2 - Easy
Robbie Williams - Candy- 2 - Medium
Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl - 1 - Medium
Bog Bog Orkestar - Isidora - 1 - Medium
Gwen Stefani ft. Eve- Rich Girl - 1 - Easy
Duck Sauce - It's You - 1 - Medium
The Sunlight Shakers - Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In - 2 - Easy
Sammie - Misunderstood - 1 - Medium
Sunlight Express - Nitro Bot - 2 - Medium
Jason Derulo - The Other Side - 1 - Hard
Ivete Sangalo - Dancando - 1 - Medium
(Free download) Katy Perry - Roar
There were a few things I wasn't crazy about:
- Headaches of getting online. It's just confusing having to sign in with a Nintendo account and then to have to create a separate Ubisoft "Uplay" account. And there appear to be glitches in the early going of the system--for several times I tried to log on and I either got a "The Ubisoft servers are down" message or it just kept saying "waiting" until I had to reboot.
- The shared videos. I admit, after a while I found the videos that amateur users upload a bit repetitive and annoying, especially when they go through the automated editing process that shortens them. I'd rather see full dance performances from really good dancers, the kind you can pull up on YouTube.
Still, the negative aspects of the game didn't detract from the main gameplay, so I can let it pass. All told, the new features of Just Dance 2014 along are a vast improvement over Just Dance 4 and prior. Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Another great update with online play and some unique features for Wii U
, October 9, 2013
I've reviewed every Just Dance game since the original in 2009. While I've given the spin-offs and rip-offs less-than-stellar reviews, the main games in the series (Just Dance and Just Dance 2, 3, and 4) have always gotten 5 out of 5 stars from me. While the basic mechanics of the game have been the same since the beginning, Ubisoft has done a great job of improving accuracy and adding to the feature set in each new version.
This iteration is no exception. Just Dance 2014 should really be called Just Dance 5, but Ubisoft has veered off that numbering scheme and started to name the titles by year, given that they're releasing a new version every year anyway.
When you start out the game, the opening menu is simple as always. In the center of the screen is a recommended song you can start dancing to right away. You can also scroll to the right to select individual songs.
In the upper right-hand corner you'll see a yellow icon with an "M" in it. These refer to your "mojo points". The points system is much easier to understand now than in previous versions of Just Dance; here, they serve as "currency" that you can use to "purchase" locked items in the game.
One nice thing about Just Dance 2014 is that none of the songs themselves are locked--every song is playable from the get-go. Instead, what's locked are different variations of the choreography that's available on certain songs. Here are all the different variations:
- Classic - The standard, default choreography, all of which are unlocked from the beginning.
- On Stage - Multiple dancers interacting with each other in a "dance performance", which are a lot of fun not only for the dancers but also for onlookers. These are each 10 points to unlock.
- Extreme - These are more advanced dance routines, not for beginners. They're 25 points to unlock.
Battle - This is a mode where you compete against another player in a "Street Fighter" like battle--the better you dance, the more you'll increase your life line and decrease your opponent's. These are 10 points to unlock.
- Mash-Up - Here, different dance moves (and the original dancers) from other songs and from past versions of Just Dance are pieced together to form a unique dance. These are 5 points to unlock, or throughout the year you'll be able to unlock one for free each month.
- Sweat - Songs are choreographed with maximum exercise, fitness, and aerobic activity in mind. These are 10 points to unlock.
- Sweat Mash-Up - A combination of Mash-Up and Sweat modes, these are 5 points to unlock.
- Puppet Master - Like Mash-Up mode, except that a human is controlling which dance steps the players will dance next using the Wii U Gamepad.
- Others - Several songs have very unique choreography. Gwen Stefani's Rich Girl has a "Chair" dance. Far East Movement's Turn up the Love has something called "Sumo". And Nicki Minaj's "Starships" lets you dance to the Charleston. Each of these are 50 points to unlock.
One relatively new feature is the ability to click the upper right-hand corner to select or create a "dancer card". This will allow you to provide your nickname, an avatar (you choose from a set of cute cartoon faces all blinking at you), your gender, and your age.
Once you set up your dancer card, when you click on it you'll see at-a-glance your style (how accurate you are), your kCals burned in Sweat Mode, your favorite songs, your average star rating, and your online level. It's nice not having to go by "Happy" or "Sunny" anymore.
The dancing itself works pretty much the same as past Just Dance games. Each song's choreography is designed for 1-4 different players. If you're playing with 2 or more players, each player will use his or her Wii remote to select a character to follow, and can also choose his or her dancer card so that statistics will be properly tallied. Each player then holds the Wii remote in his or her right hand and follows the on-screen dancer's moves as if looking in a mirror.
The animation on screen, as usual, is usually done with tongue firmly planted in cheek. A zombie is dancing to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". The song "The Love Boat" is set to a scene of the eponymous cruise ship sinking in the background.
As with previous versions of Just Dance on the Wii, don't expect the motion detection to be as precise as the Kinect, although it is impressive how accurate they've gotten it over the years.
The Wii U version makes nice use of the GamePad to include people who for whatever reason can't (or won't) participate in the dancing. Karaoke mode allows that person to sing along to the words (which are displayed on the GamePad screen), and if the singing is good, it'll earn M points. Alternatively, the person holding the GamePad can use the GamePad's camera to film the dancers in "Autodance" mode, which will produce a 30 second video that'll be automatically edited in a stylized way and then can be saved or shared or uploaded to JDTV (see below).
Other options on the main menu include the following:
- Just Sweat - This mode allows you to play several songs in a row for 10, 20, or 40 minute programs. You can also turn on "free mode", which turns on a calorie counter that tracks you calories for any song in the game.
- Shop - As you play the game, you'll earn points, which are tallied by a yellow "M" in the corner of the screen. You can use these points to "purchase" unlockable content for the game. These include:
1) Alternate Choreography. Here's where you can unlock "On Stage" , "Extreme", "Sweat" and "Battle Mode" choreography for songs. As of the launch of the game there are 24 of these to unlock, ranging from 10 to 50 points.
2) Mash-Ups & Co. Here, you can download Mash-Ups and Sweat Mash-Ups of songs, as well as different Party Master modes. There are 77 of these to unlock, which should keep you pretty busy. All are 5 points to unlock, and there'll be a "free one" to unlock each month of the year (as long as you're connected online you'll get a pop-up each month that alerts you to the free mash-up and avatar that's available for you).
3) New Songs. Unfortunately you can't use your points to unlock new songs--you'll need real money for that. Ubisoft cleverly weaved a list of purchasable songs into this menu so you'll always be reminded of it when you're unlocking content. They even offer a free song, Katy Perry's Roar, for you to learn the download process (when you select a song you're sent to Nintendo's eShop to complete your purchase). When you buy a song, you'll get avatars thrown in for free.
The "World Dance Floor" option will show up if you're signed in. A number will show how many dancers are currently online. This is an interesting online mode where you can literally dance with players from around the world, earn points along the way, and even make friends. The good news if you're protective of your online identity is that you're not personally identifiable, other than the name on your dancer card.
There are a number of activities on the Dance Floor. You can participate in dance offs against other players, you can dance to the same song with everyone in the group and see who's the best, and you can vote on which song to dance to next. There's a countdown timer to "Happy Hour", when you can earn extra points. It's a lot of fun, and it really adds a new dimension to dancing (when it works, that is--I've been having some issues trying to connect to Ubisoft's servers).
Finally, there's another online feature called JDTV that consists of videos that other players around the world have uploaded. This was a feature available on the Xbox, but it's now available with the Wii U when someone films the dancers in "Autodance". You can view the most recent, the most popular, and featured videos, as well as your own.
Overall, I'm impressed yet again with this latest version of Just Dance. Every time I think the franchise is about the jump the shark, they make enough improvements to impress me yet again. The song list is a great mix of contemporary songs and oldies, there's enough variation in choreography to keep from getting bored, and the new points system to collect and "buy" items to unlock is much simpler to understand than in previous versions. The highlight, of course, is the new online features that let you compete and play with others around the world. it just adds a new level knowing that others around the globe are playing along with you.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Good demonstration of the GamePad's capabilities
, June 24, 2013
When I first started up Game and Wario, I noticed that my Wii remotes kept turning themselves off. I recalibrated them a few times before I realized that this was intentional. This game doesn't use the Wii remotes at all. It just uses your Wii U GamePad and your TV.
Game and Wario is a collection of 16 mini-games, 4 of them multi-player, and 12 of them single player. It was originally created to be a demonstration of the Wii U's GamePad, much as Wii Sports was a demonstration of the Wii Remote's capabilities. But the story goes that the developers ended up designing so many of these games that they decided to release them as a stand-alone title.
It's a shame that at least some of these didn't come pre-installed on the Wii U, as I think the slow sales of the Wii U are at least partially due to people being perplexed by the GamePad. Yes, there are a few hints of its potential in Nintendo Land, but Game and Wario really shows off the full potential of the GamePad.
Here's a description of each of the games.
In this game, a player on the GamePad chooses a random cartoon character who is the "thief" who has to steal some fruit scattered around the scene. He controls the player on the GamePad, trying to blend into a crowded scene of other cartoon characters milling about. 2-4 players watch the TV and try to pick out which character the thief is, based on clues such as the thief "standing out a bit" when stealing fruit and a camera focused on the general location of the thief every 30 seconds. It's certainly not as interactive or frenetic as Mario Chase on Nintendo Land; it's more a game of observation. I'd give this a 4 of 5.
This is an interesting game where two players each hold one end of the GamePad. Music will play, and one player will press buttons to the beat. The other player will have to match the buttons to the beat on his side. They'll then alternate turns. It's sort of an odd mix between Guitar Hero and the old game Simon. I'd give it a 3 of 5, as the controls are kind of quirky.
This is a game where players take turns slingshotting these block-like creatures called "Fronks" from your GamePad (which you point towards the TV) onto a playing field on the TV. It's sort of like shuffleboard or curling in that you can knock other players' Fronks out of the way. Plus, the field itself will change depending on where the Fronks are lying. This one is very clever and a lot of fun in a group. 5 of 5.
Think Pictionary or Draw Something, where one player draws a word and 1-4 players try to guess it. It's a ton of fun with 3-5 total players, as you can compete with each other, the winner being the one with the highest total of correct guesses plus correctly-guessed drawings. If you're just two players, your scores are totalled and you can try to beat your high scores. It's cute how they display your drawings at the end in a slideshow. 5 of 5.
The single player games come with the first game unlocked, but you have to complete each game to unlock the next one. Spoiler Alert: if you want to discover each new game on your own vs. reading about them here, you can skip to the last paragraph of this review.
Here's a description of each of the mini-games, as well as my own personal rating for each (YMMV, of course).
In this game, you hold the GamePad horizontally, pointing at the TV. You can draw back and arrow on the GamePad and shoot it onto the TV screen. It's similar to Takamura's Ninja Castle in Nintendo Land, except that you're drawing back and arrow to shoot it vs. swiping a nunchuk. An interesting twist is when a cannon shoots a cannonball at you, and you have to hold up the GamePad as a shield (and hear a clang as it hits). This was fun but became frustrating when the action started getting fast and the GamePad couldn't always stay aligned with the TV. 3 of 5.
Think Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window" for this one. You're given a set of "suspects" to take pictures of in a scene with three apartment buildings. You see the entire view of a scene on the TV, and you can use the GamePad to point and zoom in with the joystick, pressing a button to take a snapshot once you identify a suspect. Suspects may be walking around or closing their blinds, so you need to be quick. Bonus points for taking clear and close-up pictures. This one is ingenious and a lot of fun, and as you progress to other levels there are interesting new scenarios. 5 of 5.
In this game, you're controlling a funky skiier out of the 70's complete with disco-style blue 'fro. You see an overhead view on the GamePad, while spectators can watch a first-person view on the TV. Your goal is to tilt the GamePad and guide him down the slope. It's not so much a skiing game as it is like those old handheld puzzle games with the marbles that you have to tilt to guide along a path. Still, it's a clever way to combine the GamePad with the TV. 3 of 5.
This is literally a puzzle game where you'll have different patches of different shapes that you have to fit within a pattern that you have to pick out. Not as easy as it seems. Nice touch when you solve the puzzle and your puzzle turns into a cartoon object, such as a flower or a horse. 3 of 5
5) Kung Fu
Here's another game where you see an overhead view on the GamePad and a first-person view on the TV. Unlike Ski, here you'll be using both views as you play. Your object is to make it across to your master by jumping, collecting scrolls and life-sustaining dumplings on the way. This one takes a little getting used to, I personally was getting a litle dizzy going from one screen to the other. 4 of 5.
This one had me laughing out loud. The premise is that you're a kid in bed playing with a Game Boy Advance-type handheld game. The games you play are a lot like the "microgames" found in WarioWare, ranging from picking a nose with the right timing to mashing the three correct buttons in a tiny fighting game. What makes this game "meta" is that all the while you have to watch for your mom, who pops her head in from the door, the window, and creepily, the TV, and hide your game and pretend to sleep as long as she's in the room. Some of the microgames are hilarious, and a lot will bring back memories. 5 of 5.
This one is actually sort of educational. You're given tasks to "draw a 2 inch line", "draw a circle with a 2.5 inch diamater", "draw a triangle with 1 inch sides", and so on. Using the stylus, you do your best to estimate shapes and sizes. 5 of 5.
Ashley is a side-scroller where you control a little flying witch on a broom by tilting your GamePad up and down. You can view a closeup of her angle on the GamePad, but most of the time you'll be looking at the TV. Your goal is to collect as many coins as you can. 4 of 5.
In this game, you're taxi driver whose potential passengers are being stolen away by UFOs. Your job is to shoot the UFOs down with bazookas, pick up the passengers, and deliver them to a barn. At the end, you need to defeat a boss UFO who's threatening to take the whole barn away. In this game you see a driver's view on the GamePad, while you see a overhead map view on the TV. 5 of 5.
This is a strange game that's somewhat reminiscent of the old Rhythm Fever Heaven game. Wario the Pirate will direct his men to shoot suction cup arrows at you from ships to the left, right, center, or top. Your job is to listen to which ships Wario is directing, move your GamePad to catch the arrows as they fly into you, and shake the GamePad to drop the arrow; all to a beat. It's another clever bit of "breaking the fourth wall" as you can view the arrows coming at you on the TV, and then watch them plop against your GamePad.
Once you finish these ten games, there'll be closing credits with all the characters you've seen throughout the games. And then, the characters all say, "let's go bowling!" 5 of 5
That's right, bowling. In this case the bowling is much less sophisticated than Wii Sports; you use your GamePad to flick the bowling ball, and then tilt the GamePad to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Each of the characters you've encountered before are now printed onto matryoshka-like bowling pins. 3 of 5.
This last game is an homage to both the Pyoro mini-game on WarioWare Inc: Mega Microgame$, as well as the old Game & Watch handheld games. When looking at the GamePad screen, the gameplay is exactly the same as on an old Game & Watch, complete with LCD patterns, but on the TV screen you'll see a high-resolution version of Pyoro. It's a nice way to bridge the old and the new. Gameplay is simple, and sound effects are strangely soothing. 4 of 5.
Overall, I enjoyed Game & Wario. Throughout the game is the wonderfully quirky sense of humor and campiness that only Nintendo can deliver. As with most mini-games from Nintendo, each one of these games is well-thought out and well-produced; some of the games are more fun than others, but unlike shovelware games there's not really a "throwaway" one in the bunch. Similarly the cut scenes and intros are beautifully illustrated and animated.
In a way, Game and Wario highlights both the strengths and the weaknesses of the GamePad controller. On the one hand, I loved how the GamePad and the TV could display two different views of the same action. On the other hand, for some of the games I couldn't help but feel that the GamePad was not much more than a glorified DS. I would have liked to have seen more of the kind of multi-player action that we got a taste of with Nintendo Land (e.g., using Wii remotes) vs. the "pass and play" type multi-player experience here.
This is one of those games I'd recommend not necessarily for extensive replay value (I'd say only 3 or 4 of the games are ones that I'd be excited about playing again), but just to be able to show off some of the possibilities with your Wii U's GamePad. Hopefully other developers will see some of the potential and come up with their own creative uses of the GamePad, and Nintendo will continue to push the innovation themselves.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Like Guitar Hero or DDR with a Basketball--and it works brilliantly
, November 27, 2012
It seems that Kinect developers are either unable or unwilling to take chances. Most Kinect games seem to follow the same basic patterns--you dance, you pose in a certain position, you run in place, you pretend to turn an imaginary steering wheel, and so on.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first heard of Majesco's NBA Baller Beats. But after playing it, I can honestly say it is one of the best Kinect games to date.
The best way to describe NBA Baller Beats is that it's like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, but using a basketball. You basically do basketball drills to a beat. This may sound ridiculous, even sacrilegious to some, but I found it to be a wonderfully compelling game that can appeal to both kids who are just starting out with basketball, as well as experienced ball handlers who want to hone their skills.
Majesco has done a lot to make the point that this is a game that hard-core basketball players can enjoy. It comes bundled with an official full-size Spalding NBA Game Ball Series Outdoor ball (worth about $20 in itself). This isn't a toy--this is an official NBA size and weight rubber ball that you can take out to the court. In fact, the ball was so real that I couldn't use it in my third-floor apartment without the neighbors downstairs thinking there was an earthquake (in order to write this review, I ended up replacing the basketball with a playground ball which didn't work quite as well but did give me a good feel for the game).
When you start playing Baller Beats, the system will make sure you have enough space to play. The ball needs to be a minimum of 6 feet from your Kinect Sensor, and the camera must have a clear view of the entire play space window, i.e., a clear view from your head to your feet. Once you've met these conditions, hold your hand over the Start button to begin.
The main menu has five options: How to Play, Locker Room, Versus, Options, and Play Now.
How to Play contains an interactive tutorials that will introduce you to the basics of the game. Just like in DDR or Guitar Hero, you'll see a vertical "runway" of lines scrolling downward. Some of the lines will have basketball icons, and when these icons hit the center of the screen, you literally dribble your basketball to get a point. If the icon's to the left of the line, you dribble with your left hand; if it's to the right you dribble with your right. The more accurate the dribble, the more points you get.
In addition, from time to time in the scrolling lines there'll also be icons of basketball moves, such as crossover dribbles, passes, and pump fakes. These will also be displayed to the bottom right of the screen so you always know what move is coming up (reminiscent of Just Dance or Dance Central). The better you perform these, the higher your score will be.
While this sounds a little complicated, after a while you'll practice the patterns and the icons and won't need to think too much about them. The music helps as well, as every bounce and special move is done to the beat of the music.
Once you've "graduated" from the tutorial you can go to "Move School" where you'll practice more advanced moves. The advanced moves get surprisingly advanced and are legitimately great ball handling skills for any aspiring basketball player to learn.
I'd suggest going through all the tutorials before starting the game, as you'll need to get used to handling the ball while looking up at the screen and not the ball, which itself isn't a bad skill to master (you don't see Kobe and LeBron staring at their hands while dribbling).
When you click "Play Now" you start out by picking a venue: NBA Court, Theme Park, Rooftop, or Beach (or you can let the system choose one randomly). You then choose a skill level: Rookie, Pro, or Baller. Rookie is suitable for kids and people new to basketball, while Pro is legitimately a setting where a great ball handler can really show off some skills.
Next, you see the track list. The songs are all licensed tracks by some of the hottest hip-hop, pop, and electronic music stars.
The tracks are:
Amazing (Kanye West feat. Young Jeezy)
Music Makes Me Feel So Good (Static Revenger)
Let It (edit Remix) (MachineDrum feat Melo. X)
Roll Up (Wiz Khalifa)
Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO)
Disparate Youth (Santigold)
Tightrope (Janelle Monae)
Night By Night (Chromeo)
C'mon (Catch Em By Surprise) Tiesto vs. Diplo ft. Busta Rhymes
Championship Fever (Najee)
Blue Sky (Common)
It's Okay (Cee Lo Green)
So Good (B.o.B)
Bust a Move (Young MC)
Chillin (Wale feat. Lady Gaga)
Surf Hell (Little Barrie)
Satellite (Rise Against)
New Fang (Them Crooked Vultures)
It's Tricky (Run DMC)
Antibiotics (Calling All Cars)
Get Your Freak On (Missy Elliot)
Don't Sweat the Technique (Erik B and Rakim)
Obstacle 1 (Interpol)
Access Hollywood (Consequence)
Stylo (Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
Another One Bites the Dust (Queen)
Each song is classified by difficulty and each runs about 2-3 minutes long.
Once you select a song, you'll see a countdown from 3 to 1, and then you'll start your drill. You'll see an icon of yourself in the upper right-hand corner so you can see your stance and technique (it's very cool how they put your body in grey, but the ball is a color video image of the actual ball you're using).
I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate the Kinect tracking was. As you get to more advanced techniques such as crossovers between the legs, behind-the-back passes, pump fakes, and pull dribbles, the system will detect nuances such as whether you're properly moving the ball behind your back or between your legs. The motion control isn't perfect, but it's awfully good. You really do need to perform the drills perfectly to get a perfect score.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how good a workout this was. After a few songs my heart rate was actually up. This is one of those rare games where you "get a workout without realizing you're working out".
As you earn points, you can go to the "NBA Store" under "Locker Room" to "buy" extras such as different balls, player posters, runway textures, full music tracks, and player cards. It's good incentive to get you to come back and play more, but in all honesty the game is so fun that you won't you'll come back for the enjoyment of it. The Locker Room menu also allows you to turn on and off snapshots that can take your picture while you're in action.
There's also a multiplayer mode called "Versus" where up to 8 players can compete against each other. Players don't play simultaneously; they take turns to see who can score the highest on a given song.
What I find brilliant about NBA Baller Beats is that it's the perfect game for a very underserved demographic in motion gaming: boys, teen guys, and young men. Sure, guys can enjoy games like Dance Central or Just Dance, but that's mostly when there's family--or girls--in the room. This is finally a game that a group of young men can get together, enjoy, and even improve their ball handling techniques. (In the interest of equal time, and being a big fan of women's college basketball, I'll add that women can certainly enjoy and excel in it as well).
This game is not suitable for certain people. I think kids who are too young may grow frustrated quickly at the precision that's needed to succeed in this game. Also, if you live on an upper floor of a house or apartment, you'll need very, very understanding neighbors, as you *will* make their ceilings shake. In general, I think this game is best suited for those who have very solid concrete floors that can withstand the bounce of a real basketball. If that doesn't apply to you, you basically have two options: first, you can try substituting a soccer ball, volleyball, or a playground ball for the basketball (but as I said the experience just isn't quite the same). Or second, you can move your Xbox and Kinect to a garage or basement that does have very solid flooring.
This bit of difficulty aside, I really, really liked this game. I especially liked the fact that Majesco took a chance at trying something new, and it really paid off. In many ways, I see this as one of the first "next generation" Kinect games that go beyond the rudimentary "hey, isn't the Kinect cool" type of gameplay we've seen over and over again, and really start to explore more natural and practical applications for the Kinect. Not only is this game fun, it also helps develop real skills that can be used on any basketball court. For me, that kind of application shows the promise and potential of the Kinect.
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Good, not great, first "pure fitness" game for the Wii U
, November 27, 2012
The Your Shape franchise is one of those franchises that's been either hit or miss over the years. The original Your Shape for the Wii in 2009 was quite dreadful; Ubisoft tried to beat Microsoft to the punch by introduce a Kinect-like tracking system to the Wii, with unspectacular results (and the cartoon Jenny McCarthy still haunts me in my dreams). On the other hand, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox, introduced in 2010, was one of the better workout games for any system. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 sort of falls in the middle. There are parts of it that are brilliant, even revolutionary, but there are also some glaring weaknesses.
You start out with a video of people having fun with the game. While the video was your typical fluff piece with people who are a little too beautiful having a little too much fun, what struck me was the crisp, high definition video quality. This is not your grandfather's Wii.
You start by creating your profile. I've played many, many Wii fitness games, and by far this was the most pleasant profile creation I've ever done, as it's all done on the GamePad. So, for example, instead of clicking an eternity to get to my weight and age (which is always a very humbling process for me in both cases), I just had to swipe my finger to enter information about myself. You can also choose your fitness level: couch potato, aspiring gymnast, semi-professional, and Olympic legend. Not sure why they couldn't have just said "light, moderate, hard, and advanced", but I got the gist of it.
As much as I liked the setup process, there were already some less-than-optimal things. First, you can't use the Balance Board to input your weight, which is one of the things the Wii can do that no other system can do. Second, they ask for your height in inches. Why not ask for my age in months? Finally, they have you take a picture with your GamePad camera, but don't tell you until later that your face will be plastered all over the world if you sign up for online access.
You then get to the main menu, where your options are "Play", "Profile", "Medals", "Store", "Options", and "Fitness Pal". When you press "Play", you're immediately asked if you want to sign up to use online features; once you do this you can work out together with friends by comparing your records to theirs. I do like that Ubisoft is embracing social features in their games; one can only hope that they don't end up abandoning it like EA Sports did.
The Play menu itself has a few choices:
1) Activities - There are two types of activities you can choose here.
The first is dancing to hit tunes. Your initial choices are Born This Way (Lady Gaga), Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO), She Wants to Move (NERD), and SOS (Rihanna). Each song has two versions: an easy "rehearsal" mode and a more challenging "performance" mode. As you earn coins (the internal currency of the game) you can unlock more songs. This part of the game seemed awful familiar and for good reason: it's almost identical to Just Dance. I'd accuse Ubisoft of ripping them off, but since Ubisoft publishes both I suppose they get a pass. As with Just Dance, you hold the Wii remote in your right hand and have to mirror the on-screen dancer's moves, and you'll get points and accolades if you do. The main difference is that the choreography here is much more carefully designed to provide you a full aerobic workout vs. the dances of Just Dance that balance style and exercise. As with Just Dance, you're pretty much on the "honor system" in terms of whether you move any body part outside of your right hand. But those who are tempted to "cheat" to get a high score probably should be buying this game in the first place.
The second activity is a really interesting on. It's called "Zen Flow", and provides some fascinating relaxation exercises. I tried the first one "Lotus Seat Position". You're told to sit on the floor crossing your legs, and then to hold the GamePad up to the screen. Then, while soothing music plays you move the GamePad to follow a pattern of light that's displayed on both the GamePad and the TV. The whole time, a voice will instruct you on how to breathe and relax. I admit I was skeptical at first, but at the end of one session I really did feel relaxed.
2) Classes - These are your typical calisthenics-type workouts, with an aerobics instructor talking you through classes which range from about 7 minutes to upwards of 30 minutes for advanced classes. There are different styles of exercise, including "Be Groovin'" (Aerobic dance), Kickboxing, Cardio dance, Zen Zone, Zen Arena (martial arts), Cardio, and Power Training (strength and conditioning).
Motion controls are a little suspect. They're not as bad as in the original Your Shape for Wii, but when I waved my Wii remote randomly, I got just as good a score (or in some cases better) as when I tried to match the on-screen instructor perfectly. If you're content to work out to the classes (which are excellent) and don't really care too much about your score, you'll be fine.
One very cool thing was that the GamePad gave a continual readout of the time remaining and the calories burned. I like how the main screen wasn't cluttered with that stuff, but anytime I wanted to see how much time was left in a workout I'd just need to glance at the GamePad.
3) News - This section is oddly named, as there's no "News" here, there are just reports of your progress and your friends' progresses if applicable. You can view high scores and achievements you've unlocked.
4) To Dos - There are many features throughout the game that try to incentivize you to play the game every day, including earning medals (achievements), earning coins (which can be used to "buy" things in the Store). This is one of the better motivations. Every day, the system will give you three "challenges" to play (such as scoring at least 90% in a kickboxing workout, completing a specific song with a certain number of points, etc). If you complete all the challenges you'll be rewarded with a lot of coins.
5) Program - This is another cool feature that lets you set up a recurring workout for up to four weeks. You use the GamePad to set a fitness goal (just for fun, lose weight, reduce stress, improve stamina, build muscles, tone upper body, and tone lower body). You can set the number of weeks (1, 2, or 4), the number of sessions per week (2-4), and your "favorite style" (e.g., dancing, fighting, zen). A training plan will be put together. They kept it pretty simple, which I actually liked; instead of setting up a calendar with dates they just show you a chart of workouts you've completed and workouts you have left for the week, and its up to you to do them as convenient for you.
Back at the main menu, you have the option of going to the "Store" where you can "buy" dance songs, new workouts, and trainer outfits. I appreciated the fact that they used all in-game currency that you need to earn by working out rather than charging real money.
Now, I've always felt that the single silliest feature of Wii fitness games from the past were when they gave recipes; did they really expect you to take your Wii into the kitchen? But with the Wii U it makes all the sense in the world, as . In the main menu, their recipes are under an option called "Fitness Pal". You can choose a goal (build muscles, child-friendly cooking, lose weight, improve stamina, reduce stress), and you'll be served up menus of very tasty-looking food that you can cook. And because you have the GamePad, you can bring it into the kitchen (and even play some Wii games as you're waiting for your water to boil).
Overall, I was very impressed by the Wii U features of Your Shape, such as the use of the GamePad to set up profiles, to display status, and to use as a cookbook. As for the workouts themselves, I was impressed by some things but not so impressed with others. On the positive side, the relaxation exercises are definitely groundbreaking and make good use of the GamePad. On the not-as-positive side, the workouts themselves didn't seem to be much more revolutionary than what we saw even in the original My Fitness Coach, and the only real "fun" part of the game was a copy of Just Dance (which begs the question, why not just get that instead?). I was hoping to see the kinds of "activities so fun you don't realize you're working out" types of activities they built for the Kinect version, but I didn't see any of that.
If you have a new Wii U and don't already have a workout game with great cardio and fitness exercise, I'd say this is a worthwhile purchase. For me, I'd probably wait for the price to drop a little before buying this one, or at least wait to see if the upcoming Wii Fit U moves the bar any better than this one.
58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Another great step forward for the Just Dance franchise with a great set list and some compelling Wii U-only features
, November 21, 2012
In 2009, Just Dance for the Wii pioneered a new genre of dance games where you danced using real dance moves vs. just jumping on a mat or pattern-matching with a game controller. After some early fits and starts, they've since sold over 30 million units in its three year history. That's enough to get every man, woman, and child in Canada dancing away.
Of course, success has spawned dozens and dozens of spin-off and knock-off games of varying quality. But each title in the original series of Just Dance, Just Dance 2, and Just Dance 3 have been excellent and have moved the franchise forward with great new songs and technical innovation. I'm happy to say that Just Dance 4 for the Wii U continues that tradition.
As with previous Just Dance games, the opening menu is delightfully simple and has just two options: Just Dance and Just Sweat. One thing I liked right away about Just Dance 4 was that you can use either the Wii remote or the GamePad to make your selection for all the menus throughout the game. Right away, I much preferred using the GamePad to scroll through dozens of songs rather than the Wii remote.
Selecting "Just Dance" shows you a cover flow where you can flip through songs to dance to. Each song has an icon showing how many separate players the song has unique choreography for. For example, for Solo songs, whether it's one player or four, everyone is dancing to the same moves. For Quartet songs, four players will each be dancing to his or her own moves, making for entertaining dance routines.
You'll also see a difficulty rating of 1 to 3. A song with a rating of 1 can be picked up and played by just about anyone right away. Songs with 2s or 3s have more intricate moves and require practice to master. Interestingly, they decided to do away with the "intensity" rating of the song which had been there from the first Just Dance.
As with previous versions of Just Dance, the songlist is great and contains many current hits. There are a few cover versions, but for the most part the songs are licensed tracks from the original stars.
Ain't No Other Man - The Girly Team - Solo - 2 of 3
Asereje (The Ketchup Song) - Las Ketchup - Duo - 1 of 3
Beauty and a Beat - Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj - Solo - 3 of 3
Beware Of The Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke) - Panjabi MC - Quartet - 2 of 3
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen - Solo - 1 of 3
Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Boys Town Gang - Duo - 1 of 3
Crazy Little Thing - Anja - Solo - 3 of 3
Crucified - Army of Lovers - Quartet - 3 of 3
Disturbia - Rihanna - Solo - 3 of 3
Domino - Jessie J - Solo - 1 of 3 (exclusive to Wii U)
Everybody Needs Somebody To Love - Dancing Bros. - Duo - 2 of 3
Good Feeling - Flo Rida - Solo - 2 of 3
Good Girl - Carrie Underwood - Solo - 1 of 3
Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" - Blu Cantrell - Solo - 1 of 3
Hot For Me - A.K.A - Solo - 2 of 3
I Like It - The Blackout Allstars - Duo - 3 of 3
(I've Had) The Time of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - Duet - 3 of 3
Istanbul - They Might Be Giants - Quartet - 1 of 3
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley - Quartet - 1 of 3
Livin' la Vida Loca" - Ricky Martin - Solo - 3 of 3
Love You Like A Love Song - Selena Gomez and the Scene - Solo - 1 of 3
Make The Party (Don't Stop) - Bunny Beatz - Solo - 2 of 3
Maneater - Nelly Furtado - Solo - 2 of 3
Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes featuring The Black Eyed Peas - Solo - 1 of 3
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera - Solo - 2 of 3
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan - Solo - 1 of 3
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley - Solo - 1 of 3
Oh No! - Marina and The Diamonds - Solo - 3 of 3
On The Floor - Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull - 1 of 3
Oops!... I Did It Again" - The Girly Team - Quartet - 2 of 3
Rock N'Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain) - Skrillex - Solo - 2 of 3
Rock Lobster - The B-52's - Duo - 2 of 3
Run The Show - Kat DeLuna featuring Busta Rhymes - Duo - 3 of 3
So What - Pink - Solo - 1 of 3
Some Catchin' Up To Do- Sammy - Solo - 1 of 3
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj - Solo - 3 of 3
Superstition - Stevie Wonder - Solo - 1 of 3
The Final Countdown - Europe - Duo - 3 of 3
Time Warp" - Halloween Thrills - Quartet - 3 of 3
Tribal Dance - 2 Unlimited - Duo - 3 of 3
Umbrella - Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - Solo - 1 of 3
Want U Back - Cher Lloyd featuring Astro - Solo - 1 of 3 (exclusive to Wii U)
We No Speak Americano - Hit The Electro Beat - Solo - 2 of 3
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction - Quartet - 1 of 3
Wild Wild West - Will Smith - Quartet - 3 of 3
You're The First, The Last, My Everything" - Barry White - Quartet - 1 of 3
Something else that's new to Just Dance 4 are "Dance Quests", basically a checklist of five goals to hit for each song (for example, getting 5 stars on the song, hitting all the "Gold" moves properly, and so on).
Game play works pretty much like it did in earlier versions of Just Dance--you mirror the moves of your on-screen counterpart, and as you hit moves correctly you'll be rewarded with positive messages and up to five stars. Pictographs will scroll along the bottom of the screen to cue you to upcoming moves, and occasionally you'll see a "Gold move" that will get you extra points if you hit it correctly.
The motion control problems that plagued earlier versions of Just Dance are virtually non-existent. Of course, the system doesn't detect precise hand, arm, and foot movement like the Xbox Kinect does, but it's still surprisingly accurate--you'll get more points dancing using your whole body than you will if you just phone it in and sit on the couch with the Wii remote.
The better your performance, the more "Mojo Points" you collect. Once you've collected a certain amount of Mojo points you can jump to the next level, at which point you can randomly select a new feature to unlock.
Something else to Just Dance 4 is "Battle Mode", where you can play against another player (or against the computer). You start by choosing a character that corresponds to a song. Then, you basically compete in a dance-off. It's an interesting twist on fighting games like Street Fighter, where the player that dances the most precise dance steps will score "hits" on the other. Whoever has the most life left at the end of a round wins that round and their song will be imposed on the next round. At the beginning your only song choices are Rock N Roll Will Take You To The Mountain or Livin' La Vida Loca, but presumably as you collect Mojo Points, other songs will be available for Battle Mode.
Something else new to the Wii U version is the ability to create "Dancer Cards" (which are basically user profiles). You can select an icon to represent you or use the GamePad camera to take your photo. You then select whether you're a girl or a boy, and select an age range (in a Logan's Run-esque kind of move, there are 6 age groupings: 0-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, and 30+...which makes some of us who might be in our 40s or beyond feel awful sheepish :P). Finally, you enter a nickname, a welcome improvement after years of being stuck with the name "Happy" in previous versions.
From that point on, anytime you dance you can select your dance card and all your stats will be recorded. Your card will show the total time you've danced, the average star rating, your preferred dance style, and favorite songs.
"Just Sweat" mode lets you play several songs in a row for a set amount of time, either 10 minutes (burning around 50 Kcals), 25 minutes (about 100 Kcals), or 45 minutes (about 200 Kcals). Instead of choosing individual songs to work out to, you choose from the following four genres of music:
Aerobics in Space (Dynamic Fitness Steps / 80's Pop Music)
Sweat Around the World (Latin Dance Practice / World Music)
Electro Body Combat (Cardio Fighting Exercise / Electro Music)
Cheerleader's Boot Camp (Extreme Training / Punk Rock Music)
The routines start out with a slower warm up routine and end with a cool down routine. Your energy level from song to song is tracked in real time through a running graph at the top of the page, and will determine whether the next song is "COOL" or "INTENSE", effective customizing your workout based on your individual level of energy. That they're using a little artificial intelligence to give you a personalized workout is a nice improvement that's definitely more sophisticated than in previous versions of Just Dance.
The number of Kcals you burn is displayed in the upper left hand of the screen. Take the calories with a grain of salt, as it's an average number that's likely to be understated for heavier players and overstated for lighter players. I would have liked to see the ability to measure weight using the Balance Board for a more precise calorie calculation.
One of the things I was most looking forward to was seeing how the Wii U GamePad was integrated into the game. At first, what the person holding the GamePad to do is limited; he or she can be the DJ, selecting the next song the group dances to, and he or she can also draw or write messages that are displayed to the players as they're dancing (and can have a lot of fun trying to throw dancers off by making them laugh). It's a nice way to involve someone who may for whatever reason be unwilling or unable to participate as one of the four players dancing with the Wii remotes.
One of the features Ubisoft advertised a lot was "Puppet Master Mode", where a player could control some of the action using the GamePad. Inexplicably, they decided to lock this mode until you collect enough Mojo Points to move up a level, and then happen to choose it when you're asked to randomly select which bonus feature to unlock. While I appreciate the use of Mojo points as incentive you to keep coming back to the the game, I found this a rather odd decision on the developers' part. A lot of people will buy this game for use at parties or family gatherings, and may not realize that they have to play for a few hours before being able to lock one of the most anticipated multi-player features in the game.
I finally did unlock Puppet Master Mode (once you do, every song will have a "Puppet Master Mode" option if you select the song icon and click the "Up" arrow on the GamePad), and it was definitely an innovative use of the GamePad. One to four players can dance using their Wii remotes, and a fifth person holding the GamePad will periodically see four icons of dancing Just Dance characters on the screen. By tapping the icon, he or she can determine what the next dance move the players have to dance is. I was happy to see some classic and some silly dance steps from past Just Dance games (some icons even had the original characters performing them). From time to time, the person with the GamePad can also select a "Strike a Pose" position and assign bonus points to players.
I've been impressed with every version of Just Dance starting with the original, and I'm just as impressed with the Wii U version. Ubisoft has once again done a great job in moving the franchise forward in this new version. Just Dance may not be the most precise dance game in the world, but for my money it's still the most fun one, both individually and in a group (which neither the PS3 nor the Xbox do as well). The two- and four-person choreography is better than it's ever been and after a few sessions will make you and your friends feel like professionals. The improvements to the Just Sweat mode help make it a viable replacement to a fitness and exercise game. And the new GamePad features are a great way to involve those who may not be able or willing to dance.