I have two boys in my house and watch as they play video games that they like; the ones where you have to beat a level or find the secrets, beat the boss and save the day. My attention span for those kinds of games fell by the wayside about the same time as the Super Nintendo. There are a few video games I do still like to play, the more recent of those being the Just Dance series of games.
Just Dance 3 was released for Wii, Playstation 3 and XBox in early October. It builds on the already popular franchise by adding lots of hit songs and new modes to extend and vary game play. The best thing about these series of games is that they get you off the couch and moving around. Although I do occasionally play them by myself, I have the most fun when family and friends are visiting and we are all playing together. It seems that Just Dance has replaced our old get-togethers that we once dubbed “Rock Band Parties.”
Just Dance 3 isn’t just for people who have the moves of a professional dancer. Anyone can play and have a great time, no matter if they can really dance or not. It’s easy to start it up and get to the mode that you want to play. If you are so inclined, you even have the choice to “Just Sweat,” which is a training program that does calculated cardio. If not, you can just dance, alone or with a group. Basically, you choose from about 45 different songs, some available as downloadable content, and just follow the moves of the on-screen dancer. You hold the Wii remote (or no controller, if you are playing Kinect) in your right hand and the sensor keeps up with where it is in relation to the dance moves happening on screen. My boys and I had a blast with this game, discovering the new songs and watching the dancers, who are always in funny-looking costumes and doing creative, different dance moves that keep you laughing while you’re dancing.
New to this version are the Dance Crew Mode, Smart Shuffle, Flash Mob Mode and Dance Mash-up. I tried out one of the dance crew songs by myself, “This is Halloween,” and although it was fun, it would have been a blast if three other dancers had been in the living room with me. I danced to a lot of the songs so I could get an idea of the new moves and scoring. The scoring doesn’t make you feel too bad if you stink at it; you get a number of stars and a rating like “Energetic,” or “Wild,” or even “Creative.” You don’t get booed, which is nice, especially if you have kids playing who may not do so well at first. I’m interested in trying out another new feature in the Wii version, the “Hold My Hand” mode, where up to 8 players can share 4 Wii Remotes and dance together. It sounds pretty cool, but I don’t know if my living room can hold that many dancers, so we might have to save that for a church youth party with the kids.
We don’t have to have a party or a get-together to play this game; my kids get excited when I want to play any video games with them, even this one. My son Michael has some great moves, so when I convince him to take a turn, it is quite entertaining. It never fails that if we put in one Just Dance game, we will end up playing all of them that we own, Just Dance 1 and 2 and Michael Jackson: The Experience. Ubisoft has released several dance games, like one just for kids, one that features Broadway tunes, and one that features The Black Eyed Peas.
For myself, when I popped in Just Dance 3 after everyone in my house had gone to sleep for the night, I had an absolute blast playing it. My favorite song to dance to was “Apache (Jump on It).” I couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about Carlton and Will doing their strip-tease on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air years ago. I would recommend this game for anyone who already has the previous Just Dance games, or who has never even played them. If you plan on having a get-together for the holidays this year, this would be a perfectly fun way for everyone to work off all of that yummy cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie!
For a listing of all songs featured in the game, and more information, check out the Just Dance 3 Wiki.
I received a copy of Just Dance 3 for the Nintendo Wii gaming console from Ubisoft for review purposes.