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'Just Dance' Misses the Mark
on January 13, 2010
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