The Just Dance franchise, after producing two “Kids” games that lean more toward preschoolers with Wiggles and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, finally has a “family” game that the whole family can enjoy. Just Dance Disney Party, available on both Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect (I tried the Wii version), combines both tween Disney Channel hits with classic tunes their parents and grandparents love.
Just like all the other Just Dance games, basic gameplay consists of picking a song and mirroring the dancing avatar. The dancers are films of real people superimposed on colorful backgrounds. You score points by holding your Wii remote as you dance. Some songs are “duets” with two dancers doing different moves, and if you’re playing alone, you have to select a dancer before the song begins. Multiplayer modes include “freeze and shake” where at points in the song, you either have to freeze or shake your remote as hard as you can. (We tried it, and prefer conventional dancing.)
There’s no real workout mode, but you can create playlists or play nonstop random songs for a certain period of time. In addition, a parents’ dashboard lets you see how long the game was played on what days and how many calories were burned, and there are even some health tips.
On the down side, there are only 25 songs, which is rather stingy for a dance game, especially at more than a dollar per song. (And some of them could be considered filler, like 2 songs from Tangled – why not 2 songs from Mary Poppins instead?) That said, they treat them really well; instead of soundalikes and generic backgrounds, they use the actual soundtracks (as far as I can tell) and iconic Disney art. On the movie-soundtrack songs, they have animations of scenes from the movie – e.g. “Everybody Wants To Be a Cat” from The Aristocats shows the jazz cat band in the background – and scrolling lyrics are especially enjoyable with songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Be Our Guest.” There’s no Pixar, but they more than make up for that with the Muppet Show theme which has become the most-played song in our house. (Too bad this came out before Disney acquired Star Wars; it would’ve been fun to dance to the cantina song.)
Just Dance Disney Party should please Disney fans both old and young, and there’s plenty of material left for sequels!
(I received a free review copy of this game through the Amazon Vine program.)
And we don’t stop dancin’ – Dance Central 3 is coming this fall, again a Kinect exclusive. They aren’t doing much to mess with the success of the first two Dance Central games, but they appear to be broadening the song list from mainly hip-hop and club to hits of the 20th century such as “The Hustle”, “Da Butt” and “Electric Boogie”, each with their signature dances.
I have Dance Central 2, and have been enjoying the workout mode, which takes a cue from the workout modes of DDR on PS2 by offering courses (called “playlists”) of songs played back-to-back. You can also make up your own continuous playlists. DC 3 is promising “expanded and enhanced calorie tracking features”. Keep in mind that any calorie tracking in a video game is going to be a ballpark guess.
A third Zumba game is coming this fall! Zumba Fitness Core has been announced for Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect (but not PS3 or Wii U). It looks like much the same shimmying with new music and moves. Song list is yet to be announced. The Wii booty belt will return, and Kinect’s version will add a community feature and voice controls so you can shout out your love for Zumba.
Let’s Dance, which was released last year in the UK as Let’s Dance with Mel B, is entering the crowded dance game floor this month in North America. It’s going to come out on Wii, PS3 Move and Kinect, and great news for penny-pinchers, it has a list price of $20 on all three consoles.
The Kinect version looks like a cross between Just Dance and DanceMasters in that your dancing image can be placed right up there “on stage”. While I don’t see anything about a workout mode, the game’s website describes a “Survival Mode” where you apparently dance nonstop till you drop.
I received a free copy of Just Dance Kids 2 for Kinect through the Amazon Vine program, so the following is a copy of the review I wrote for the game.
Vine reviewers with kids between the ages of 3 and 8 were asked to review this game, and I think that’s a good age range for Just Dance Kids 2. My 7-year-old enjoys this game, while my 10-year-old prefers the “big” Just Dance 3 Kinect game.
This game is structured slightly differently from JD3. When players jump in front of the camera to play, it takes a picture of your face, and with gestures you can select a cartoon avatar that’s either boyish or girlish. (That’s an important distinction for young kids!) The videos show actual kids dancing against colorful backdrops, and the steps themselves are much simpler and more repetitive than the regular Just Dance dances. The songlist is more kid-oriented than JD (“Lollipop” here is the “lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly lolly lolly” song, NOT the “sucking too hard on your lollipop” song in JD3) although not as large, and so far there’s no downloadable songs. It’s very easy for players to jump in and out mid-song, but make sure there’s plenty of room for them to jump around – it can get pretty chaotic! The “create your own dance” feature is also included and a lot of fun.
This would probably have the most appeal to the Barney and Yo Gabba Gabba set. The controls are easy to use even for the youngest gamers, provided the camera can see them. If they’re older and already listen to a lot of pop songs, Just Dance 3 may be a better buy.
Here is the song list, from the description on Amazon:
Hot Pop Songs for Older Kids!
- Burnin’ up
- Dumb Love
- Feeling Good
- On Our Way
- I’m Gonna Catch You
- Just The Way You Are
- Love Me
- Whip My Hair
- Song 2
- Start All Over
Songs from kids’ favorite movies and TV shows
- Accidentally in Love
- Despicable Me
- Hold Still – Yo Gabba Gabba
- I Am A Gummy Bear (The Gummy Bear Song)
- Jump Up!
- The Robot Song – Yo Gabba Gabba
- Follow The Leader – The Wiggles
- The Shimmie Shake! – The Wiggles
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight
- Something That I Want
Fun Songs for Younger Kids
- Party Goes Down
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Five Little Monkeys
- Mah Nà Mah Nà
- Girls Can Too
- Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- Summer School
- Hand in Hand
Classic Kid favorites!
- Barbara Ann
- Crocodile Rock
- Jingle Bells
- Shake Your Groove Thing
- Hand in Hand