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The Wii Gaming System is a perfect alternative for rainy day exercise and sports simulation. When I saw "Just Dance" offered by UBI, I excitedly envisioned myself moving and grooving to a wide spectrum of music that would provide me with an alternative exercise option. Unfortunately, after playing this game for over an hour, I found that the limited playlist cut the action for me.

Instead of moving from song to song, I found myself surfing for something that moved me to dance. A more complete dance game that would appeal to all ages should include at least 7 or 8 songs from decades spanning the 50s through 2010. The thirty-two songs offered here are just not enough.

In addition a tutorial of sorts should be included so that participants can monitor their use of the Wiimote and see how the points will be scored. Other Wii games include some instruction when the gamer consistently moves incorrectly. The creators of 'Just Dance' assume that participants will just dance and not worry about the scoring. However, for the most part, as the choreography is repetitive and not that difficult to master, the inefficient way that the controller monitors the participant's dance moves is most evident. While dancing, the next moves are shown in stick figure format in a sequence on the bottom of the screen. As the participant dances, his/her moves are scored with either a psychedelic "Great", "OK" or "Miss" and points are garnered at the top left hand of the screen. Even when getting the moves down expertly, the monitor still misses the beat and the dancer frustratingly finds that he/she 'misses' more times than expected.

The idea of the game is to follow the dance steps and body movements of a song-appropriately dressed avatar. After the first two or three songs, I found myself wishing there was more of a selection and that the selection was ranked based on tempo rather than difficulty and effort level. Songs should also be cross-referenced by decade so that if a participant wishes to dance to the beat of the 70s, he/she should be able to tune into an immediate 70s playlist.

I would imagine that this game can be fun for more than one participant, but as I am a solitary exerciser, I can only make comments based on what I have experienced. However, any of the suggestions that I have made above would also make this game better for more than one participant also.

Bottom line? For the most part, "Just Dance" disappoints. The scoring does not work well and the playlist needs more than double what is already offered with cross-referencing that will allow gamers to solely dance to a particular decades music. For those who want to use this game as an exercise alternative, look elsewhere. A shuffle playlist option should be included to increase the tempo to facilitate warm-up, heart-rate and cool-down sessions. Also a tutorial should be included to instruct the user as to how the Wiimote is used with scoring. Not recommended for exercise, but might be fun for a younger age group in birthday party mode.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
2121 comments| 160 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 15, 2009
This is the best exercise video I ever bought! I know! I know! It's a video game! But I still consider this as an exercise video. Actually, better than a regular dance aerobics video because this one actually tells you if you're doing the movements correctly. Whenever I'm doing it, I feel like I have my very own dance aerobics coach!!!
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on May 5, 2010
After playing for a few hours last night, I'm finally getting the hang of this game and enjoying it. It's frustrating to get keep getting X's when it seems like you're doing it right. I'm a hardcore DDR player, so I really wanted to get good scores, but when I searched teh internets, all the reviews of the game said one of 2 things:
A. The scoring system sucks, don't bother playing.
B. The scoring system sucks, so just have fun and don't worry about score.

But if you're like me, "have fun" and "don't worry about score" do not belong in the same sentence!

After figuring out some things about the scoring system, I'm breaking 10,000 points pretty often, and having A LOT OF FUN too!
So, here are some tips on how to get a better score (and therefore be less frustrated :D):
1. As others have mentioned, dance with your whole body. Not that the Wii magically senses your body, but because this keeps your body on beat, which keeps you on beat, which is important to your score.
2. Hold the WiiMote in your right hand, and keep your finger on the trigger. This keeps the WiiMote oriented in the way that the game expects. (e.g. If the WiiMote gets twisted in your hand, that will hurt your score, because when you make your hand mimic the dancer's hand, it expects the correct orientation).
3. On a related note, try to focus on exactly what the dancer's right hand is doing. Not the whole body, and not even the whole right arm, but just the right hand, because that's what you're graded on. (But still do the rest of the motions, because that makes the game more fun! :D)
4. I also have Cooking Mama, and playing that game taught me that there are only a few motions the Wii can sense, and to get the points, you need activate a specific sensor in a specific way. So, when you're doing a dance move, make your best guess as to which sensor it's looking for, and emphasize that motion.
The 3 main sensors I've seen are
A. The whip/flick. (The motion you would make if you were cracking a whip.) Just doing this on beat will get you a lot of points.
B. Upward thrust. (The motion you would make if you were stabbing with a sword.) You'd be surprised how many moves look like they want some kind of curvy motion, yet the WiiMote just wants you to push it upward (all at once, and on beat!).
C. Downward thrust. (The motion you would make if you were stabbing yourself with a sword.) Same story.
There you go. Do one of those 3 (the correct one! :P) on beat, and that's 90% of your points right there. I'm still getting X's, so I think there's some other sensors I need to figure out. Gotta keep experimenting.
5. If you're like me, then you want to get more feedback from the game, so you can improve. One way I did this was by playing in 2 player mode, with a WiiMote in each hand. That way, the game will tell you if what your right hand OR your left hand is doing is what gives you points for that move, which means you can figure out which sensor to go for that much faster!

Those are the ideas I have so far, and doing that has made the game fun even for a gamer like me.
Find a song you like, play it a few times in a row, and watch your score go up as you get better at the timing and knowing what sensor to go for. Getting better scores is a good feeling. :D

Some other pro/cons:
Pro: I like the song list. I'm surprised how many of these I know, even though the song is way older than I am! Even if you don't recognize the song from the tracklist, you'd probably recognize it if you heard it.
Cons: Tutorial is worthless (nothing beyond the obvious). I don't know why they didn't include some way of practicing your moves, like the practice modes in Cooking Mama and Playstation 3 The Beatles: Rock Band - Software Only. Also, one of my WiiMotes lost the ability to sense shaking while I was playing this game. :( I'm hoping there's a way to fix this, but I'm not that optimistic.
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on January 30, 2010
I am a 63 year old woman and what fun this is... I like it better than my Wii Fit. I use my Wii Sport and then usually go to this for exercise. It is just a fun thing to do. I don't do to well but have loads of fun. Try it!!
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 23, 2010
I am a fan of interactive dance games for video game systems, and I really expected more from 'Just Dance.' The game has some fun songs, and even if you don't get any moves right, you will still work up a sweat. However, it is frustrating because the scoring mechanism is horrible. Basically, you hold the Wii remote in your right hand, and try to mimic the dancer on the screen. It only seems to register about half the moves, and it is confusing because you are supposed to mirror the image (so when they move their right, you move your left, etc). It doesn't boo you or anything, but it is ridiculous that no one can get any sort of decent score. I give this game a C. There are NO extras, NO options to download more songs, and it lacks any sort of tutorial that explains in detail how scoring works. The "training" on screen just says something like "Get the moves right to get more points!" Not so helpful... I'd say if the game were $15 or even $20 it would better represent the value. Fun game/concept, but a sub-par effort for content and usability.
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on January 23, 2010
There are complaints the game does not respond correctly to your moves but WHO CARES? this game is a lot of fun. I first did the songs I knew then went to songs I didnt know and some of those I ended up doing the best at or ended up liking the song anyway and were fun to dance to.
Game is fun and you get some exercise....some songs are more active than others.
I had not even heard of this game till my friends mentioned it after playing at someone else's house so I ordered it from Amazon cheaper than it was in the stores. I played it at their house and loved it so much I ordered a copy of my own right then and there (at an even LOWER price)
All you need is the regular wii mote. You do not need the nunchuck or dance pad or anything else.
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on January 19, 2010
The motions to Ring My Bell had me laughing so hard that I just had to stop and sit down. I am not a dancer and can't figure out my right foot from my left. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about my feet; all I had to concentrate on were my arms and having a good time. The game doesn't fail you, so again, you can leave worry behind and just have a good time. My review is based upon only thirty minutes of play with my boys (10 and 11) on multiplayer challenge, but the fun we had in those thirty minutes was priceless. I can't wait to share this with my fun adult friends who have a lively sense of humor.
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on November 30, 2009
This game is so much fun! Since I already had an idea of what to expect, I was not disappointed. I have no dance skills (or rhythm), but I had so much fun playing it by myself. I can only imagine how much fun this game will be when I play it with my friends this weekend. Did I mention this game is really fun? The only reason why I gave this game four stars is because the song list is a bit short, but I knew that before buying this game. If you are looking for silly fun, this is the game for you.

EDIT (1/12/10): I've had this game for more than a month now, and I am still loving it. It was a hit on Christmas. My cousins and my family (ages 9-39) had a blast and were up until almost 1 am playing. As others have mentioned, the scoring does suck, but this game is still loads of fun. I use it for fun when I have people over, and use it for a good aerobic workout when alone. Don't listen to the naysayers.
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on January 17, 2010
My daughter (17) and I had a great time with Just Dance. It was so much fun. I can see people of all ages playing this game and having a blast. The selection of songs is great and the dance moves are fun. It's really quite a workout dancing to the songs. My only wish is that there were more songs.
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on January 20, 2011
I played Just Dance 2 over the holidays & expected to dislike it...I LOVED IT! I came home & bought JD1 & JD2 instantly. I was getting great scores on JD2 the first time I played, but JD1 is incredibly frustrating to play alone because as everyone else says, it just does not score and detect the moves properly. I tried changing batteries, holding the remote different ways, switching remotes, even switching to a different sensor...and nothing helped! As a group when you are all being judged incorrectly, it will be fun, but if you are going to be playing alone at all, get JD2. It has better songs & much better detection of your dancing!!
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