Did the rhythm get you?
AHHH! It bit me! Damn you, rhythm. I can’t believe you did that after the CDC said explicitly that all rhythm waste needs to be handled with care. Now I need to shake my butt in front of Microsoft’s Xbox One Kinect camera for a while, just to bring the fever down and before you ask, no, I do not have a first-aid cowbell around to take care of this thing the normal way.
In an effort to disclose the basis for my review fully, I’ll state that I do not keep my Kinect camera plugged into the Xbox One console normally and while I’d rather keep it that way, I did set up my living room for a few songs in the latest yearly iteration of the Just Dance franchise. Rather than force myself through every song, I went into the experience to focus on a few key factors. Namely, I wanted to know if Just Dance 2015 could provide a killer tracklist, appropriate dance-move-tracking, and the opportunity for easy-access multiplayer no matter what level gamer you are.
I should also say that I did not play through every song available in Just Dance 2015. I didn’t think it was necessary, particularly since the experience proves itself playable, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining even if you have to stumble through the first few songs. Popular singles like Pharrell’s “Happy” provide a strong pop basis while oddballs like a Tetris track or an unfortunately obnoxious song about a fox explore the far reaches of danceable contemporary music. If you’ve actually found yourself with a copy of Just Dance 2015, your taste in music may stand in the way of enjoying the game with or without friends. You’ve been warned.
Past dancing games have done a better job shaping a tracklist out of new and old songs, though the yearly nature of Just Dance’s release outlook often negates complaints I could levy against the franchise for playing to the lowest common denominator. It’s not like a Dream Theater track would make sense with the game’s neon-colored background and characters, so take a chill pill and then have a coffee enema because this game really pushes the envelope for high-energy songs.
In fact, I broke a quick sweat playing on normal difficulty, particularly thanks to the way Just Dance 2015 doesn’t punish errant moves and instead lightly encourages the user to get back on track with repeated swaying and jiving. For most gamers, the experience will rest heavy on the environment they play in. This is either a staple of the franchise or a weakness of the Kinect-ed version of the game on Xbox One. Still, the motion camera tracked my arms, legs, and body well enough to ensure a few high scores.
And multiplayer will certainly tease more value out of the entire package if you’re struggling to decide which software should accompany a new Xbox One console for someone special this holiday season. If a family installs a Kinect camera in their home and enjoys getting slowly, progressively more thrashed on egg nog, they’ll want to watch out for over-crowding in competitive living room match ups. Up to six players can meander into the Kinect camera’s sight though I didn’t have an opportunity to test this and I doubt that points matter all that much once you’ve got that many players packed in together.
Of my own preferences regarding the music genre, dancing remains somewhere out of the lead when it comes to interacting with sound and visuals, though Just Dance 2015 hits on every requirement I have from anything asking me to move my feet without a pad to stomp on. Originators like Dance Dance Revolution relied on technical skill and Just Dance has an obvious wink for sloppy dancers or those not willing to practice at length. Despite my own wishes for changes to the tracklist, fans of the franchise and new Xbox One owners could do a lot worse for in-home dance simulations this Fall.
Copy provided by publisher. Review based on Xbox One version. Also available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, and Wii U.