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Just Dance 2022: Daddy’s little gamer review

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Robby Bisschop

by Robby Bisschop


Robby lives and breathes videogames. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically… Read more






  • Just Dance 2022 is the latest entry in the famous dancing game series

  • There are 40 new songs included with the game and some of them look fantastic

  • It’s an accessible game that even the youngest players can enjoy



Put on your sweatpants and clear out the living room, because Just Dance 2022 is here and it’s time to get groovy! The arrival of a new Just Dance game is always an event to look forward to in our household as we always take the time to explore the game together.


I’m hands down the biggest gamer in the family but Just Dance succeeds where other games fail and draws my wife and kids to the TV set so we can take turns shaking to the beat.



My daughter Fé is probably the biggest fan though. She’ll be joining me for this review and weighing in with her opinions, giving a unique child’s eye perspective on things. It’s become somewhat of a yearly tradition.


New to Just Dance?


If you’re not yet familiar with the series, Just Dance is a game where you mirror the dance moves of the on-screen character(s) and you try to get as high a score as possible. It usually offers a mix of popular and lesser-known songs to shake your extremities to.



Just Dance 2022 | Ubisoft (NL)
Shake it!


A new version launches every year and introduces new songs that come with the game, as well as some alternative choreographies, and I’m happy to report that this year’s tracklist is a lot better than what we got in Just Dance 2021. Though I’m fully aware musical tastes are very personal.




Fé: I actually thought last year had more fun songs, like Dance Monkey and there was even a song from K3.
Daddy’s Note: K3 is a local Belgian girls band that is very popular, it’s great that they include local songs like this!




Like I said, it’s very much up to personal preference. I’ll share the 40 new official tracks here, so you can make up your own mind:




[embedded content]


My personal favourite is by far Believer by Imagine Dragons, there is a raw power that comes from dancing to this song and the visual backdrop they’ve added only adds more weight to it.




: My favourite is Good 4 U. It’s really fun to dance to and has a lot of jumping! (Olivia Rodrigo)




Just Dance Unlimited


While the above 40 songs come with the game, arguably the best reason to get Just Dance is when you also have access to…



BUY JUST DANCE UNLIMITED!


I’m sorry. Seems like a Just Dance Unlimited advertisement snuck into the review, I promise it won’t happen ag…



BUY NOW!


Yeah, that’s not a very pleasant experience, is it? The thing is, the game does this as well. In a game you pay for, you’re getting advertisements in image and video form to subscribe to their subscription.


You can’t skip the video when it appears and it defaults to the “buy now” option so you should be extra careful when trying to spam a button to exit it.




Fé: When I have the main controller, daddy makes sure to take it from me when the pop-up happens so I don’t accidentally activate it.




The good news: You get a free month alongside the game so you can try it out.
The bad news: It feels extremely limiting to go back to your selection of 40 songs when you’ve had access to 700+.



Boombayah!


So how much does it cost for a 1-year subscription to Just Dance Unlimited? We’ll, surprisingly little at $24.99. If you already own a previous version of Just Dance, I’d actually wager it’s a better deal to buy a year’s worth of Just Dance Unlimited instead of buying the new edition. Heck, since the new version usually costs around $49.99, you’ll usually be better off finding an older version to combine with the subscription, as the actual game does not differ that much year after year.




: But I always look forward to the new songs! and I heard there is a new K3 song on the way!




That is true and with the holidays coming up soon, I expect a lot of gift-wrapped Just Dance 2022 copies ending up under Christmas trees all over the world.


Amazing collaborations


Speaking of Christmas, there were a few songs in Just Dance 2022 that really popped. Even more than usual. And I bring this up now because one of them has a Christmas theme and even though we’re still at the start of November, it already got me in the holiday spirit.




: Does that mean we’ll put up our Christmas tree already?
Me: NO. Not until December!




There were a lot of fantastic collaborations this year, one of which was for Daði Freyr‘s Think About Things. The band has become well-known thanks to their participation in the Eurovision song festival (and if the 2020 edition hadn’t been cancelled, I’m sure they would have won) and Neels Studio made a wonderful 3D animation to accompany the song in Just Dance 2022.




: Stop telling them about it and just show the video, dad!




[embedded content]


And this wasn’t even the only such collaboration between a visually creative team, Ubisoft’s programmers and well-known artists. Trizz Studio made a great-looking video for Sia‘s Chandelier and one of my absolute favourites this year is the claymation version of Mr Blue Sky:




[embedded content]


Year after year, these animations get better and better and it gives me high hopes for the series’ longevity. But that’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows…




: Oh oh...




Stripped down


In Just Dance 2020 there was a single-player campaign to celebrate the 10-year existence of the Just Dance series and I’ve missed a similar feature ever since. Even though it was nothing more than a linear list of songs to play, the fact they were laid out and presented through a coherent theme added some extra value.


Now in this year’s version, they also removed another mainstay: the sticker album. While you can still collect avatars, backgrounds and taglines from the lottery machine (which is ever addictive), they removed the sticker sheets that you could fill out through playing songs over and over again for points.



Gotta get them addicted to gambling young!


It doesn’t sound like much, but small things like these can give players motivation to go the extra mile.


Also of note was that the Kids Playlist had only received 3 new songs, while Just Dance 2021 had an entire list of new tracks for the youngest players. My 3-year-old son Lio was especially disappointed by this.




Lio: Yeah. I wanna play new songs!
Fé: Don’t worry, daddy will activate the 3 months Just Dance Unlimited that came with his review copy soon!




A positive change though: some of the songs have bleeped out curse words for the youngest ears. I found it annoying in Just Dance 2021 that it was removed by a scratch sound or by plain muting the entire song (even the instruments) and this time they’ve correctly solved it by only muting the vocals.


Lingering technical issues


One thing that has plagued the series for some time now, is that at the start of each song, the visuals are often blurry. Now, I’d understand this if we’re playing the streamed versions of online songs, but for the ones included with the game, you’d expect the videos to be pre-rendered




: Yeah, it takes a while before the picture is sharp every time.



Pretend this is a song by Blur, as that would fit perfectly…


Another frequent issue is the tracking of the controllers. While the Joycons on the Nintendo Switch are usually pretty accurate, you can also use your smartphone but it often tends to lose the connection or doesn’t register your movements. (+ it also adds the risk of tossing your phone halfway through the living room)


Time to wrap this up


Just Dance 2022 is a great way to introduce some physical activity in your gaming lineup and it’s so easy to pick up that even your youngest family members can join in on the fun.


As per usual I’m asking the kids for feedback. I’d personally give this three and a half stars, mostly because it’s a lot of fun but the new editions don’t add any new features and instead only seem to strip things every year.




: I’d give it 5 stars. It’s fun and it lets us have dance parties in the living room.
Lio: Uhhh. Four? Is four more than five?




Let’s split things down the middle and set it at four then, but that’s mostly keeping in mind that you’ll probably end up paying for the Just Dance Unlimited offer at some point and that opens up A LOT of content.


Final thoughts on Just Dance 2022




Pros

Amazing tracklist this year with 40 new songs and variations

Some of the new tracks have fantastic animations thanks to collaborations with other studios

Accessible to even the youngest gamers



Cons

Blurry videos at the start of a song

Just Dance Unlimited advertisements



FINAL SCORE: 4/5


Just Dance 2022 is a fantastic game to play with the entire family. I’d mostly recommend picking this up if you don’t already own a previous version. It’s one of the most accessible titles imaginable and you’re sure to have a blast. Just keep in mind that the included songs will quickly outstay their welcome and you’ll kind of be forced to check out the Just Dance Unlimited subscription to keep the party going.


Just Dance 2022 costs around $49.99 and is available on Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 consoles and also on Google Stadia. Keep in mind that all platforms except the Nintendo Switch will require you to have a compatible smartphone with motion sensors (gyroscope).


*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by Ubisoft.




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