I’d like to think that if I strode into a nightclub and busted out the moves that Just Dance 2014 eloquently taught me, that I would be the envy of the dance floor. Sadly not, although that’s more to do with my lack of grace – more akin to the celebrities fumbling their way through the early rounds of Strictly Come Dancing, rather than the fluid choreographed routines that we now associate with Ubisoft’s series.
It’s easier, then, to carry on tirelessly practising in the comfort of my own home, basking in the neon-fused vibrancy of Just Dance 2014, the latest extension to a series that can already boast sales of more than 42 million copies worldwide.
With the game’s remaining simple to pick-up-and-play, even those with minimal experience of previous titles will be eased in to the experience as they choose from the new selection of tracks that range from recent hits such as Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, Lady Gaga’s Applause, or Gentleman by the incomparable PSY, to more obtuse choices like the Ghostbusters theme and the pompous buoyancy of Prince Ali from Disney’s Aladdin.
Each requires you to mimic the movements of an on-screen dancer in rhythm, with carefully calculated choreography sure to both amuse and also see you soon breaking into a sweat. As can be expected it’s more of a learning process, with regular practice seeing players more able to anticipate upcoming step changes within each routine in allowing them to reach those more elusive high scores.
Modes remain familiar – either teaming you up or pitting you against other players with success rewarding you with Mojo – currency that may be spent to unlock new choreographies and avatars within the game, personalising your Dancer Card that displays your progression.
The Wii U GamePad expands the experience, Autodance seeing you recording 30-second clips to share through Just Dance TV and Twitter, whilst the controller’s microphone opening up Karaoke opportunities for players to sing along to your chosen track. Whereas Party Master mode, an expanded version of Puppet Master from last year’s Just Dance 4, invites one player to push their friends and family to their limits – selecting dance moves, choosing poses, and even switching the song to keep them on their toes.
You can also dance against other Just Dance 2014 players from around the world, World Dance Floor pitting me against a mixture spread across the United States, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, France and Canada, from what I could see. You’ll compete against one another in the in playlists, sometimes pitting girls vs boys, whilst community and world challenges see you unlock new songs.
Where Just Dance 2014 suffers is a problem that the series has faced for a few years. Those that have enjoyed their previous Just Dance experiences will revel in finding much of that same magic here, but the package fails to elevate itself enough beyond expectation. The new tracks, and inevitable downloadable content are welcome to the casual consumer, but we’re looking for a more daring leap to be taken.