I have been playing rhythm games since the PlayStation One era and although I am a fan of the genre there is one thing that I never thought I’d do: play a rhythm title without a controller or stylus. Well, that became a reality when Just Dance 2018 entered my life and brought a whole new groove to this emperor.
Although I wasn’t moving like Jagger I still managed to score at least three and sometimes four stars.
Just as the previous instalment Just Dance 2018 can be played with three different peripherals. Firstly your smartphone (you’ll have to download the app and also make sure that your console and phone are connected to the same wifi network), secondly your body (obviously this is with the PS Camera) and third is the PS Move controllers. I unfortunately only had access to the first two during the review and have to admit that I found my smartphone to be so much more accurate (in a sense, more on this later) than the PS Camera although dancing with a smartphone in your hand is definitely not a wise choice since some of the dances can get a tad bit crazy. The other problem I had with the camera which didn’t seem to be a problem with the phone is the distance I needed to be from the camera which was about five feet away. Now five feet in my lounge sure isn’t a problem but five feet in my game room is near impossible.
Step back, I need space for this
Moving on from space limitation problems I jumped into my first song, 24K Magic by Bruno Mars, and let me tell you it was magic… no pun intended. I hit a five-star score on my first try and didn’t even know how I did it. The on-screen step/move tutorials (it really is the furthest thing from a tutorial) at the bottom of the screen seemed like an alien language that I was trying to decipher so I tried to follow the dancer on screen and although I was always a step behind I did manage to acquire a high score for my first on-stage performance. Admittedly this first performance was with my smartphone. Which is what led me to test out just how accurate it really is and it turns out that all I needed to do with it is wave my hands in the direction that the on-screen dancer was moving in along with a little shake and I’d hit the point making me a top candidate for the next Step Up movie. So what about in the case of the camera you ask? Well the camera did manage to capture my entire body movement so I was forced to move more and more like the dancer on screen or try and mimic the digital alien language at the bottom of the screen and although I wasn’t moving like Jagger I still managed to score at least three and sometimes four stars. I believe that this is the game’s way of taking it easy on you and encouraging you to keep trying. Believe me, I needed it as my two left feet often made me move in the opposite direction of where I needed to be.
Songs for all ages
Just Dance 2018 does have a rather good selection of soundtracks for every age group. The selection ranged from the early 1980s to 2017. And what’s more is that often I’d unlock a song that’s already been offered to me but the dance sequence would be different. Apart from these tracks the game also offers a set of tracks included in a mode called Kids Mode. Thankfully I have two kids so I had them test this out…okay fine I tested this mode myself as well and it was actually a lot more lenient in terms of scoring even if I didn’t move in the direction that I needed to. Some of the tracks in this mode also catered specifically towards the kids with titles like “A Pirate You Shall Be” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. If you get bored of the tracks included with the base game there’s always a subscription-based service known as Just Dance Unlimited. You’ll need to be connected online to access this but it gives you access to all the titles from the previous games.
All in all, I would say the best way to play a Just Dance title is with the camera input. Not only is it more accurate but watching the short clip of you and your friends and family after each song is hilarious. Keep in mind however that the game has no proper tutorials whatsoever so you’ll be jumping straight into the mix. This will immediately make or break the player. I’ve noticed this same problem in previous instalments in the series along with their menus not explaining much to you either. It’s quite sad actually since the series seems to receive a new instalment every year.
Keep in mind however that the game has no proper tutorials whatsoever so you’ll be jumping straight into the mix. This will immediately make or break the player.
There is a cool online mode which has dancers participating in groups to see which group can acquire the highest score as well as a mode where players have to defeat a boss which is a fun concept but alas is just basically grouping the players’ scores together and achieving the target score allows you to defeat the boss. Although this rhythm title was short lived for me and will now remain in the constraints of my cupboard I believe it’ll be a huge hit for dance fans out there, especially during parties. Just Dance 2018 being the most recent installment is obviously the dance title to own from the series and I know the SA Gamer team will be arguing again next year in excitement for who gets to review Just Dance 2019 but personally I’m happy with having experienced, enjoyed and gotten over this rhythm game with this version of the series. [Ed: Sounds like you are offering to review 2019 too Zain?]