Just Dance 2017 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 08.03.2017 1

Review for Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch

The Just Dance series may have started to slow down after the Wii slipped from its lofty perch, but it has clearly been doing enough to justify still churning out new release after new release, even if the Sony and Microsoft contingent did not pick up the slack, and Wii U was pretty much a non-starter. In fact, in the past few years, Ubisoft has had to keep supporting Wii in the hope that the old install base would pay dividends - and it did, with that version regularly popping into the charts higher than any other format. Just Dance 2017 may just have found a new lease of life, though, with the advent of the Nintendo Switch and its native motion controllers. No camera or microphone support just yet, but back to basics motion-controlled dancing… Get those dancing shoes ready, because it is time to get-a-groovin'!

The Just Dance series, to be fair to its development team, has not merely sat back and milked the concept without at least trying to add some flair to the annual proceedings. Ubisoft has worked hard to bring in various new features, from its 'Just Sweat' calorie counter mode, to the new Just Unlimited feature that provides access to a whole host of extra songs, as well as classic dance routines from older Just Dance entries. There have also been additions in terms of filming the dance action, and even being able to get a friend sing along in a spot of karaoke. Those last two, though, are not present here, since Nintendo Switch does not have the same built-in camera that the Wii U's GamePad had, nor does it support USB microphones just yet - but lyrics do still appear on-screen for those that just have to sing along. Maybe hold a hair brush, or something, if you really need the feeling of holding a mic…

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch

Matching the little dance prompt icons that slide onto the screen may seem rudimentary and stale now, but it works just as well as it ever did, although many will likely prefer to just emulate the funky on-screen dancers as they strut their stuff against neon-coloured backdrops that are full of life to keep the entertainment stakes high. Sometimes there is more enjoyment from attempting to merely mimic the dancers than accurately follow the instructional icons...but it all depends on the skills of people involved. Importantly, moving and shaking is as pleasing as ever, and whilst the responsiveness of the Joy-Con, just as with the Wii Remote controllers of old, may still be called into question, this is as accurate as can be expected on a Nintendo system, and does a fine job of encouraging people to show off their moves. The wealth of options on offer also makes this fantastic fun for all the family.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch

The neon-themed backdrops are also more full of life than ever before, with this year's update excelling, and the silhouetted dancers looking amazing, upping the immersive feel, and the routines being slicker than ever. This is without a doubt a highly polished package and continues to impress year in, year out. Throw in the clear and easy-to-use interface, plus the ability to view actual video content of other gamers and experts dancing - despite not being able to record yourself this time round, meaning no World Video Challenge, unfortunately - and this is a right, royal feast for the eyes. In fact, presentation-wise in general, even on the audio front it excels, with hits played back in perfect quality, as expected, but also coming complete with rousing sound effects to cheer players on, and fantastic accompanying musical themes during menu navigation. Ubisoft has got this package absolutely spot on, easily beating out the competition for style.

As with entries from the past couple of years, there is a smooth integration of online services, allowing for joining in with regional dance crews for tournaments, tackling a favourite song from the Unlimited catalogue (with a 90-day free trial coming with each copy of the game here in Europe), and competing against others around the world that want a piece of the action to achieve the highest score. There is that ultimate sense of satisfaction knowing that you are the best mover and shaker around - or that you can simply rotate and shake the Joy-Con in such a way that the game is fooled into thinking you are hot stuff, anyway!

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch

The calorie counting option is still there, for the fitness crowd that loved the introduction of Just Sweat in the past, but the majority of the time will either be spent working through and enjoying the dance routines alone or with friends in the vanilla mode, or jumping into one of the other great options available. There are over 40 tracks to dance to, with even more in Just Dance Unlimited (more than 250 songs to stream online - although watch out for buffering on slower connections), alternative choreographies, mash-ups, dance crews, the aforementioned fitness element, and that is not all… There is also the inclusion of the excellent competitive Just Dance Machine, where aliens have abducted you and require dance energy to charge their batteries. Five unique dance experiences ensue, all in differing styles (Charleston, Ballet, and so on), with more unlocking as the aliens' batteries fill up.

There is so much packed into Just Dance 2017 that it looks like its popularity is not set to die down just yet, maybe even being revived somewhat if early sales on Switch - in the UK, at least - are anything to go by. Ubisoft has done a great job of developing the series and managed to keep this fresh and fun for all the family. After all these years, the Just Dance series has surprisingly not grown tiresome, with Ubisoft adding smoother online integration for the betterment of the experience. Use the mojo coins accrued during dances to unlock new songs, as well as alternative dances, or even if players just end up getting roped into online battles, start up Just Dance 2017 and the hours will fly by without realising.

Screenshot for Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

This year's edition of the Just Dance series lifts the game beyond its former releases thanks to its focus on treating players to various extras the more they play, as well as integrating the online component so smoothly. There will always be a tendency to jiggle the Joy-Con randomly - as with the Wii Remote in the past - in the hopes of cheating to get a decent score, but some of the fun factor is removed by doing that. Just Dance 2017 on Nintendo Switch is as close to perfection in the genre as possible, even if this version has lost some of the features included in the already released Wii U edition.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Dance

Players

1

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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I don't know if there are still that many JD fans out there, but I'm still having fun with this. It's a really good laugh!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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