gaming / reviews / 28/04/2017

Review: Just Dance 2017

If you have a Nintendo Switch and looking for some fun games, I recommend Just Dance 2017. I’ve played previous versions of this game on the PS4, and initially Xbox when I first got the Kinect. It was slightly different on the console with a camera attachment because it creates hilarious dance mash-up videos at the end which you can replay or save. The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a camera so it cannot track you the same way, instead you strap a Joy-Con to your wrist and play. Despite my review of this game for the Switch, if you have an Xbox or PS4/3, you should consider getting it. Also, in case you missed it, here are my thoughts on the Nintendo Switch.

INTRODUCTION
Just Dance is a fun game where you follow the dance instructions on screen to complete a song, and you are rated for your moves as you go along. You do not need to know how to dance to enjoy this game, you can trust me when I say this because I have no idea myself (I have two left feet) but still love playing it. Especially with a group of people. It’s fun, it feels like a workout (there’s a separate mode for this), and most of all, there will be lots of laughter. The song selection is mostly pop hits that you have undoubtedly heard already, with a whole lot more available online.

INITIAL SETUP
You can either purchase the game on the eShop directly on the Switch, it needs about ~13GB free, or you can purchase the physical copy, which is a memory card/cartridge format. If you don’t have the bandwidth, just visit a Starbucks (not kidding). Once you load up the game, the Switch will ask if you want to play with the Joy-Cons or through mobile handsets. I tried pairing my handset after downloading the iOS app, and it just refused to connect, on both auto and manual by using my IP address, and eventually gave up. However, if you are successful in setting up mobile handsets (this lets you play more than 2 players at a time), you have to be careful to make sure your handset does not fly across the room and hit something, or worse, crack your screen. The location of the green light on each Joy-Con will let you know which player you are, one or two.

GAMEPLAY
Once you’re all setup, you can dive straight in to play in either co-op or rival mode under the Just Dance mode. This means that the person you’re dancing with (player 1 and 2) are doing a duet, or dancing to the same song, doing the same moves as each other to see who does it better, and gets more points. Rival mode is better I think, if for two players, unless you have more controllers. If you have 4 controllers, you can select songs in solo, duet, trio, or quartet. If you’re in normal two player and want to duet, if you pick a romantic song, although not limited to a romantic one, one would dance the male moves, and the other, the female. When I had friend over and we played it, we preferred the rival mode. Some of the moves can be a bit, uh, odd lol. Just a quick note at this point for anyone who wants to buy it for the PS4/3 or Xbox, especially if you have a camera, then four players can join in by stepping into the frame. Also to note here, just because you can all step into the frame and the camera picks you up as four players, you also need room to all dance. Make sure it’s a large space, or move some furniture. 

POINTS
When the song starts playing, you see the dancers on the screen and you just mirror their moves essentially. There are little hints at the bottom showing you the moves that are coming up, but sometimes fixating on it can be distracting. I find it best to just mimic whatever you see on screen. With the Switch, the Joy-Cons are strapped to your wrist, and tightened, so it doesn’t fall off while you’re playing. The one niggle about it is that it only picks up the moves on the arms it is strapped on. So whatever foot moves you make, whether you do it or not, it won’t register as a move for points. You are then rated on-screen for each move in either, ok; good; perfect. Other consoles registers moves slightly better including feet, as the Switch does not have a camera to do this. You can see your ‘star rating’ as you play, and the counter goes up as you progress. You collect points at the end of each song which can be redeemed for others song, or alternate versions. Example, Sia – Cheap Thrills has a Bollywood dance sequence alternative that is locked initially (which I must add is quite difficult). Once you rack up enough points, the more you dance the more points you earn, you can redeem it for whatever is locked. You unlock avatars and skins etc, which each song played.

SONG SELECTION
I found the song selection to be vast and everything is listed alphabetically, apart from the regular tracklist for the 2017 version. It’s easy to navigate – it’s basically scrolling either horizontally or vertically. Some of the songs include Cake by the Ocean – DNCE, Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd, Cheap Thrills – Sia, Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen, Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira, Like I Would – Zayn, Sorry – Justin Beiber, Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – Silentó. The song selection, especially if you’re connected over WiFi, is massive. I found that it’s easier to scroll through as much as you can and ‘favourite’ songs that you want to dance to, which appears under Favourites.

OTHER MODES
If you want to use the game to get fit, just go into the Sweat+Playlist mode. Here you will see the amount of calories you burn while you are dancing to the song. You can choose an existing playlist, go through all songs or create you own. Other modes are available like Just Dance Machine – if you’re good at this, World Dance Floor – to join other players live across the world, Just Dance TV – to watch videos, Dance Quest – an adventure mode. 

CONCLUSION
If you have a Nintendo Switch and looking for fun games for the whole family, this is it. It costs R799 on Takealot, and while it is a lot to pay for a game, this is the general price for Switch games. If you’re buying the console, you’re going to need games, right? And if you want to get a bit of a workout, just go into Sweat mode. Even if you don’t want to play (initially), you will enjoy watching, as the visuals are colourful and captivating, and before you know it, you’re ready to try ‘just one song’. 

If you have a Nintendo Switch and looking for some fun games, I recommend Just Dance 2017. I've played previous versions of this game on the PS4, and initially Xbox when I first got the Kinect. It was slightly different on the console with a camera attachment because it creates hilarious…

JUST DANCE 2017

SONG SELECTION - 9
ACCURACY - 5.5
DANCE MOVES - 8.5
OVERALL WORKOUT - 7
FUN FACTOR - 10

8

This game will every one get up and dance, even if you don't know how. Fun for everyone, guaranteed.

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Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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