Does anyone remember back to when there was all sorts of confusion surrounding the numbering system of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy RPG series? Well, it seems that Ubisoft has not learned from that with its children’s spin-off version of the ever-popular Just Dance series. Dance Juniors launched across Europe back in early February 2011 and was a renamed version of the US release Just Dance Kids. That would have been perfectly fine if Just Dance Kids 2 over there became Dance Juniors 2 here. However, to muddy the waters, the US follow-up has now arrived on European shores as none other than Just Dance Kids, again from Japanese developer Land Ho!.
More often than not when a game is released for children, it is hardly up to the same standard as those targeting the ‘teens-and-up’ bracket, which is quite the shame really as with a little bit of extra time and effort employed, strong software for the younger audience can be achieved. Just Dance Kids is testament to just that. As with its predecessor, Dance Juniors, it includes the usual motion-controlled dancing fun where players must match the young children on-screen by following their straightforward choreographed routines, with a helping-hand from the glowing of one hand to indicate what part you need to mimic. This is a stripped down version of Just Dance in the fact that any complicated moves have been removed since this is aimed at children from four years of age and above, yet is meaty in terms of actual content.
First up, again as with Dance Juniors, there are forty popular song choices for children of all age ranges, appealing to a wide variety of tastes, all re-recorded by children rather than sticking to the original artists. Be it pop tracks such as Love Me by Justin Bieber, nursery songs like Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, The Lion Sleeps Tonight from The Lion King plus other movie themes, or even The Gummy Bear Song from YouTube, with several television songs and classic pop hits mixed in for good measure. Everything is set to bright and fanciful backgrounds, with child dancers dressed in often comical outfits to keep youngsters entertained.
Secondly, there is the fact that not only is Just Dance Kids truly well presented, with lyrics to sing along to, as well as clear-cut menu navigation and controls, but it includes a ‘Parents’ Corner’ for adults to pre-select a playlist for their little ones, checking on details such as how much time has been spent playing in total and what are the favourite song choices. The game modes are also key to ensuring Just Dance Kids does not grow repetitive. With up to four-players able to work together or even go head-to-head, and the Shake or Freeze options where wiggling the Wii Remote or holding perfectly still when instructed give extra points, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had with this new entry from Land Ho! Hoping to get your children involved with the dance antics, but feel the mainline Just Dance releases are not quite suitable? Then Just Dance Kids is the perfect alternative.
With the basics of Just Dance emulated here, but with simpler choreography for the younger audience, but some extra play modes, Just Dance Kids is the perfect alternative to the main games.
Fun, bright, colourful, and even sometimes amusing visuals to keep children entertained during each song.
The range of songs available is highly impressive, sourcing a vast array of themes to help appeal to all ages.
With forty songs to choose from, some enjoyable extra modes to try and a four-player option, the only aspect missing is download content for new tracks.
The dance crazy just swept across the age divide to wash over younger children as well. Just Dance Kids on Wii proves that the same formula can be successfully tweaked to appeal to a completely different audience, whilst not removing any of the core that helped make the main series so addictive.