Just Dance 2016 (Wii U) Review

By Chris Leebody 08.12.2015

Review for Just Dance 2016 on Wii U

Just Dance is back, as might be expected for a party-game like this that continues to be a great money-spinner for Ubisoft. There is something universally timeless about a bunch of friends gathering around, having a few drinks and busting some moves to great pop tracks. This is ripe to be exploited, especially on Nintendo's consoles. The previous Wii versions continually proved to be popular and it would be fair to say Just Dance found it's natural home on the Wii with the advent of the Wii Remote. However, the Wii is in the past and frankly the decision since Just Dance 2015 to allow smartphones to be used was one of the most obvious decisions Ubisoft has arguably ever taken. If there is one thing that the Wii U has, it is great multiplayer experiences, so prepare to get down and boogie with Just Dance 2016.

Just Dance 2016 doesn't really revolutionise anything in the series, but that's okay as nobody is expecting this to be a trendsetter. This is one of those games people get out in student houses at 1am, or kids spend five hours playing with their friends on a rainy afternoon. In that context, Just Dance 2016 largely succeeds. This is now the second year that smartphones have been introduced and, as briefly mentioned above, this has proven to be an invaluable decision in allowing a much more convenient and workable solution (not to mention cost effective one) than having to drag out a whole bunch of Wii Remotes for everyone to flail around. Who doesn't have a smartphone these days, after all?

The potential, of course, is that without the restriction of the Wii Remote (as previous versions of the title on other consoles used various impractical peripherals), it loses less of its unique selling point, in having a ready-made, workable reference point to matching the on-screen dancing, such as the Wii Remote was. In reality, however, this feels like a title that just fits on Nintendo consoles. No one could accuse Just Dance 2016 of chasing the serious crowd; that's a different market. This is a budget title on what, to be honest, is a budget console (in comparison to the Wii U's HD cousins).

It's pretty obvious, but gameplay involves using whichever preferred control method to match the moves of the vibrant and colourful human avatars on the screen in front. The marketing, of course, makes this seem fancier than it really is. Anyone can play this, sitting on a chair, waving their phone around; after all the accelerometer is a crude tool and it is not necessary to pull off all the moves in order to cheat the system.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2016 on Wii U

The only thing that does feel slightly redundant (at least initially) are the little dance move characters that scroll along the screen, signalling the next move. They have a habit of being overly elaborate. That cynical attitude of critics, however, is not the spirit that Just Dance 2016 deserves to be played in. Instead, it only has to be compared to titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, equally silly and crude on the surface, but hiding the potential for absolutely addictive madness underneath. Filling that bar up on the side and getting five stars is insanely addictive, which is, ultimately, the true test of a title such as this.

One thing that has always been underrated in this franchise is how cool the art style is. The dancers on-screen themselves are incredibly cheesy, but some of the scenes going on in the background of songs are really inventive and slick here. Uptown Funk and its associated video, with the city scene, is a particular highlight and helps set the series apart from its competitors and their duller presentation. Of course, dancing games live and die on their track list. Thankfully, 2016 has a pretty good mix of the best hits of the last year, from artists such as Lady Gaga, One Direction, and Katy Perry, as well as a decent selection of some memorable tunes from recent years, plus a few classics.

The track list isn't what anyone would describe as vast, though, and Ubisoft has not missed a trick in having a juicy money-spinner up its sleeve with the new paywall that covers past songs from the previous versions. Just Dance Unlimited is a monthly, three-monthly, or yearly deal offering more than 150 new songs to play. It is a good amount, but the significant cost (around £32.99) for a yearly pass, is an irritating, but not surprising, turn of events.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2016 on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Is Just Dance 2016 going to win any awards? Maybe not. However, like many of its best tracks, sometimes people just want to kick back and have a little fun. There is a lot of fun to be had here in a very polished formula and with very inventive music videos. There is a greater expanded online and social presence in 2016's version, with the new Showtime video recording mode, as well as sending other players challenges. However when the experience comes alive and starts to get in the groove is with other people in real life. It is a throwback and shows that gamers have not forgotten how fun it is to play games in the same room as others.


Ubisoft Paris







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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