Just Dance 2017 (Wii U) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 14.11.2016

Review for Just Dance 2017 on Wii U

It's been almost seven years since Ubisoft conjured up a chart hit with Just Dance as a Wii exclusive, with hit after hit slamming onto Wii and topping sales charts around the globe, even cracking the Japanese market thanks to a little bit of support from Nintendo on the publishing front. With Wii dead and buried now, Ubisoft has been pushing into other console territory, Wii U included, with strong success in terms of quality, but lower than sales than before. With the industry and music scene having progressed, is there room for an encore for the series?

There have been many attempts by developers big and small to crack the lucrative rhythm and dance markets over the years, with the likes of Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, and Rhythm Heaven proving to be a hit with those who love a good tune or two.

Back when Nintendo's Wii was in full swing and captivating audiences around the globe, Ubisoft introduced a brand-new concept to the market - Just Dance - a game that aimed to strip back button pressing or foot tapping in favour of pure, almost unrestrained dancing. Your nan could ditch the Zimmer frame and boogie on down with the kids to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger with ease.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Wii U

It was make or break for Ubisoft, with the title receiving mixed reviews from critics, but resonating exceptionally well with an audience that was craving a new experience. Six main entries and a heap of spin-off games later, Wii Remotes are gathering dust and smartphones are dominating the market, so is there still room for Ubisoft's annual set list?

At face value Just Dance 2017 maintains much of the core parts from past instalments; simply pick a song from the vast library of classic and contemporary tracks and follow the on-screen avatars as best as possible, racking up points for throwing shapes in the living room. Things are just as intense as before, with a manner of different steps popping up on the screen: slides, taps, spins galore, with a manner of different styles on offer to suit different experience levels. The game doesn't penalise too much for those who may want a more casual, relaxed, and potentially alcohol-infused jig about. Even for the novice dancer, it only measures arm movements, so is accessible as possible. You simply can't fail.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Wii U

One of the bigger highlights, and a smart one at that, is the inclusion of an app for smartphones that allow these pocket-huggers to be used as controllers. It's a neat addition that's ideal for parties where an abundance of Wii Remotes may not lurking. It may sound like the recipe for a synchronisation disaster, but does work surprisingly well in tracking moments… just don't let go!

As with any Just Dance release, or any rhythm title for that matter, the song selection is the most important feature. Imagine grabbing one of those pop compilation albums, which still exist, and only liking two tracks? Fortunately, the crop this time spans a fair few generations, from Queen's Don't Stop Me Now to Scream & Shout by will.i.am, Sorry by Justin Bieber to Major Lazer's club hit, Lean On. If the 39 songs bundled don't quite scratch that musical itch, Just Dance 2017 includes support for Ubisoft's subscription service, which bumps up the setlist to over 200 songs - many from past games, right back to the very first Just Dance release. It's a nifty way to keep the party swinging, and have access to past content.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Wii U

Don't fancy dancing? Just Dance 2017 also lets players whip out a microphone and belt out a few vocal riffs to on-screen lyrics, which is a great addition for those who may want to brave both dancing/singing, and friends who crave a more karaoke-like fix. Want to shame your slightly inebriated friends and family? The GamePad can be used to record, and share, performance footage from the integrated camera. It's a little bizarre, but has the potential for some rather embarrassing footage on social networks. The main purpose, though, is for the returning "World Video Challenge" where you compete against other dancers around the globe whilst watching their performances.

Fitness folk can shred a few calories with the return of the "Sweat" feature, which allows for tracks to be stacked up into a playlist, designed for a stream of songs to work out to. There's even a bizarre mini-game that sees you attempting to crank up the juice on a spaceship's battery in a timeframe, and it's these little inclusions that help revitalise the experience and keep things a little bit more goal driven rather than, well, just dancing around.

Whilst there are solo-optimised songs for those who like to strut about in their underpants and channel Tom Cruise, multiplayer is where Just Dance 2017 steps into the spotlight by challenging friends to pivot to perfection, with routines that just work with multiple people.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Just Dance 2017 is the most comprehensive entry in the series to date, and paired with the Unlimited selection service, it will become a centrepiece for any party. The songs and routines are varied, and the additional modes complement the experience well. There may not be enough to warrant a new purchase for those of you who own Just Dance 2016, but for newcomers Just Dance 2017 is the complete collection.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Dance

Players

6

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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