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Just Dance 3 (Wii) Review

Review for Just Dance 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There was a time where the world of video gaming was almost completely isolated from other media, relying on simple button presses to get by. Over the years the experience has evolved, intertwining rich, movie-like narrative and complex storytelling, but players were still bound to a controller and tapping away at buttons to make something happen on the screen. Whilst we've had peripherals to emulate the real thing like light guns, swords and instruments, the act of dancing always seemed like a bit mechanical, relying on fixed button positions on the floor to progress.

Even Nintendo toyed with dance games in an early rhythm game Dance Aerobics back in 1987, followed by Konami's ever popular Dance Dance Revolution and its numerous spin-offs. More recently we've had a stream of dance games like Ubisoft's Just Dance and Kinect rival Dance Central, but with the once Wii-exclusive Just Dance series reaching its third iteration is there still room for a jiggle, or should the franchise hang up its dancing shoes for good?

The answer comes with the question - do you like to dance? Even if you have a small, itching sensation trickling down your legs whilst watching club goers do their thing, Just Dance 3 makes approaching the medium far more accessible than those dance mats - instead of tapping out specific routines with your feet, it's up to your paws to do the talking. With Wii Remote held tight, players mimic the on-screen avatar; usually a rather voluptuous woman or street-loving chap. He or she swing their arms about, gyrate, hop and bop to various songs. There are action prompts that shuffle about on screen, but generally it's a free-for-all experience and up to you how much you attempt, with points rewarded for accurate positioning and timing.

With the simpler tunes, it's fairly easy to rack up the points and perfects, even for a bumbling computer-slave with two left feet. Granted, it's only measuring your arms - and just one for that matter - so you could get away with sitting on the couch with a burger in one hand, waving the Wii Remote in the other, but the concept is intended to be as accessible as possible. You simply can't fail. Can't quite work out those moves? Take a breather and try again. It's almost like the practice mode in Guitar Hero, or playing a fighting game with both players set to invincible.

Screenshot for Just Dance 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The recognition this time round feels far more accurate than our Just Dance 2 encounter. In the previous game we found there to be niggles in how the game picked up the Wii Remote; we'd swear on our sparkly dancing shoes that our hands were swooping into the right position, yet the game would slap a large, unsightly cross, a big, menacing zero, next to our points meter. In Just Dance 3, the experience is far smoother and more enjoyable - the stream of points heading our way is far more consistent this time around. Getting the moves right for the sheer thrill of it comes with the varied routines on offer - while some dance moves are shared between songs, the majority of songs have their own specific choreography that each ooze their own distinctive personality - something that sets Just Dance 3 from its contemporaries. It offers a far more refined and polished experience from past entries.

Price Tag sees you bursting with feminine attitude just as artist Jessie J dictates, whilst Katy Perry's California Gurls finds players using their curves and gyrating their hips like Shakira after too much sugar. Hip swaying routines aside, there are plenty of styles and routines to satisfy every guilty pleasure. Club classic Da Funk and the super-repetitive, yet catchy, Barbra Streisand are almost guaranteed to get those closet dancers at least merrily foot-tapping away. These tracks are all complemented by vibrant and relevant backgrounds - flashing neon lights, stylised exotic and glamorous settings that, although not too different from past entries, bust with rich detail and offer something interesting to gawp at whilst trying to score the big points.

Screenshot for Just Dance 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Many games within the rhythm/music genre have some kind of solo campaign mode, yet Just Dance 3 opts to do away with all that and focus on getting stuck in from the moment the Ubisoft logo fades away. That said, there are a handful of unlockables and a basic achievement system, granting you bronze, silver or gold based on a rather random list of goals: completing certain dances, styles or genres. These grant you access to various new songs and a handful of unlockable tunes to boost your Just Dance 3 jukebox. There is, of course, a growing amount of DLC on the virtual Ubisoft airwaves, but unfortunately Just Dance 2 additions can't be accessed or bought.

Whilst going at it alone is fine - and not as awkward as dancing solo in a club - the core setup demands multiplayer. There are specific routines for up to four players this time, seeing you slide to one another, playing a macho bloke or ditzy lass and, opening up the potential to become the focus of tomorrow’s most "liked" video on your social networking hub. If you were to spend a moment trying it solo, the included Just Sweat feature makes a welcome return, allowing players to rack up a profile of exercise over a seven day period. Each tune comes with its own difficulty, but also a score to sweat up to if you expect to burn calories. To mix it up there are several set-lists available. If you desire only 80’s hits or can’t stand anything but contemporary beats, there are neat new options to explore during your workouts. This mode has greater depth than the past Just Dance games, but once the novelty wears thin it's hard to keep following these workout routines; but at least it gives the experience that extra purpose.

Screenshot for Just Dance 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Aside from that, there isn't much else to strive for in Just Dance 3. One of the main complaints we had with previous entries, and likewise Ubisoft's other dance games like Michael Jackson: The Experience, was the lack of instruction and tutorials for those who do want to learn some of the more sophisticated arm jiggles and leg twirls. The more recent dance-offs have included basic videos, yet no way of slowing down the action and practice. Just Dance 3 follows the same routine and unfortunately doesn't offer any means of slowing down the tempo for those keen to learn.

Screenshot for Just Dance 3 on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Simple and straight to the point - at times it feels more like an advanced DVD dance workout rather than a game, and there's no real way to lose either. However the core, almost free-style approach is refreshing and accessible for a large audience. It's the routines, song selection and design that make Just Dance 3 stand out from the crowd - each interesting and innovative. That said, the inclusion of more an optional goal-driven approach, challenges and stronger solo campaign would have brought much more to the experience.

Graphics

Colourful, bold and vivid, Just Dance 3 brings a charming, stylised experience that's not bursting with realism yet is detailed and smooth. Animated, fun and interesting with each song, there's certainly something for everyone.

Sound

A solid selection of tunes - from 80’s classics to electronic favourites, pop anthems to country covers. There is something for everyone to find, alongside a guilty pleasure or two. Far more varied than past instalments, with the bonus of genre-driven playlists and interesting mash-ups.

Value

A game that can be brought out at a party much like your karaoke microphones or dance mats. It’s simple to pick up and have a go without the fear of losing or being booted off. There’s enough variety in the routines to bring back players to try and beat high scores or learn some of the intricate parts. A growing DLC selection boosts the game's longevity, but with a lack of substantial career mode and practice/tutorial features, it winds up being limited to those party scenarios.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Just Dance 3 is another solid effort from Ubisoft - simple, fun and accessible, offering a varied song selection, different difficulty levels and all sorts of bright, interesting routines to try and accomplish. Aside from new sounds and additional multiplayer features, the experience is very much the same as its predecessors and cries for at least some optional goal-driven features. You can rack up awards and unlock content but as the series grows it demands more depth to the core gameplay. That aside, if you are considering having a jiggle about this Christmas then Just Dance 3 is by far the most refined and varied in the series - so leap off the couch and get dancing!

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03.11.2011

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Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Dance

Players

4

Online enabled

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (3 Votes)

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For anyone thinking Ubi's 360 version has cut into Wii sales considerably, last week's sales split between the two was 94% of sales attributed to the Wii, with the remaining 6% from 360...

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