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'Just Dance 2014' is groovy for those not afraid to get goofy

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Just Dance 2014

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Just Dance 2014 is one of many games that made the jump to from current-gen consoles to the Xbox One. While it doesn’t really test the limits of the next-gen console’s horsepower or the motion detection of the new Kinect, it is a helpful reminder that sometimes a fun game is just a fun game no matter what the platform.

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If you’ve played a Just Dance game before, there won’t be much of a surprise with 2014. Gameplay revolves around players matching the movements of performers on the screen while music hits from today and yesterday compel your body to move.

Yes, you’ll likely look ridiculous but that is part of the charm of rhythm games and also why it’s best played with up to five friends. That’s the big upgrade with Just Dance 2014 over other platforms as the new Kinect sensor will support up to six players at one time if your play area has the room for it.

The good news is that even if your dance area doesn’t have room for six, it likely has room for at least four thanks to the better viewing angle of the Xbox One Kinect that allows players to get closer to the sensor.

In reality, Just Dance 2014 doesn’t track the entire body like the Dance Central series on the Xbox 360 does. Instead, it follows each player’s right hand so you could literally stand still and wave your right arm around and get a perfect score. Yes, this was tried for this review.

Still, the tracking through the Kinect sensor was fairly spot on and the upbeat music and performers make it hard not to want to try and mimic the entire dance routine.

The quality of the dancing games depends greatly on the quality of the music and Just Dance 2014 is no different. There are 50 different tracks with approximately filled from recent popular songs like Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and more. There’s a couple of stinker’s like Will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s “#thatPower” but the current lineup of recent songs is a solid outing and the pipeline of downloadable songs will be voluminous.

There are older songs as well going back to the 1959 with some goofy songs as well like “Ghostbusters” and “Prince Ali” from Disney’s Aladdin. Want to get the youngsters off the couch and dancing too? Performers dressed up like Slimer or Genie pretty much do the trick.

If you feel like singing along with the music, Just Dance 2014 allows for that as well with a karaoke mode that rewards players for singing the right notes but doesn’t penalize for singing the wrong ones. There’s also the Party Mode that smartly utilizes the Xbox One SmartGlass app for smartphones and tablets to let one player change up songs, rules and moves while up to four other players dance.

Stage Mode is another new mode that lets one player take the forefront with the rest serving as backup dancers while Sweat Mode returns for an entertaining way to burn some calories. The Autodance feature has been updated as well to allow players to create custom short videos and share their most embarrassing moments via Just Dance TV, Twitter and Facebook.

Another new mode with Just Dance 2014 is The World Dance Floor mode which is an MMO-like multiplayer mode that lets players compete against one another online on the same playlists to see who the top performer is.

Despite being a party game, Just Dance 2014 does require players to go through the process of unlocking additional content like dance mash ups, alternate choreography, modes and battles. These have to be purchased with the mojo points that are earned from dancing to each of the songs. It’s always been a bit baffling why a game that’s meant to be played with others in a “just having fun” atmosphere would choose to have any sort of unlockable progression. It’s not a huge detriment since the game starts with a wealth of songs and MOJO points are fairly easy to earn. But, it is still there.

Just Dance 2014 isn’t something that screams “next-gen!” but it does scream “fun!” If you pick up an Xbox One and need a game that lets you and friends or family goof off for a while, it’s hard to go wrong with Ubisoft’s latest entry in the franchise; especially when its starting price is $39.99.

Title: Just Dance 2014
Platform(s): PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii
Developer: Ubisoft Milan
Publisher: Ubisoft
Price: $39.99
Release Date: Oct.8 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii), Nov. 15 (PS4), Nov. 22 (Xbox One)

A review copy for the Xbox One was provided by Ubisoft for the purposes of this review.

You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feed or email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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