Just Dance 4 is the fourth instalment of the Just Dance series of dancing games. Ubisoft continues their tradition of supporting just about every console launch out there by bringing the iconic dancing series to the Wii U.

With an additional mode that utilises the GamePad, is this the version to buy? We’ll let you know in our review!

The Review

Just Dance 4 is very similar to past entries, where players are expected to follow an on-screen dancer’s routine. Dancing is done exclusively with the Wii Remote, with the on-screen dancer having one high-lighted hand representing the Wii Remote hand.

The first thing that you’ll experience is that the menu is rather bare-boned, with the player only having ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Just Sweat’ modes to choose from. From the ‘Just Dance’ menu, you are given a selection of fifty different songs to dance to. Once you highlight a song, you can scroll to choose which mode (such as Puppet Master and Mash-Up) to select. The navigation is very cumbersome, and it would have been nice to be able to choose from the different dance modes first, and then select the song based on what mode you want to play.

Just Dance 4 Wii U

Once I managed to wrestle my way through the menu, I had a lot of fun with this game. The song selection is spot-on for a dancing game, with a solid selection of music my kids love (such as One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen), and songs of yesteryear that I can get my groove on to (such as the B-52’s and They Might Be Giants).

As far as difficulty in getting the moves right when dancing, Just Dance 4 ranges from simple to just unfair. This can cause frustration if you’re doing particularly well in a song, then the game asks you to do some moves your body might not be ready for. It can be punishing at times, and getting a five star rating from the game is incredibly hard. A tutorial mode has never been a part of the Just Dance series, and I believe that Ubisoft needs to take a look at this, just so beginners can know what to expect when they take a full dance routine head on.

Dance Mash-Ups make a return to Just Dance 4, for those unaware of how it works, it basically takes one of the songs from the game, and then gives you a random selection of constantly changing dance routines taken from previous entries of the Just Dance series. Unfortunately these mash-ups need to be unlocked, and only twelve of the fifty songs have mash-up versions, it would have been nice to do mash-ups for all songs, as I’m sure there are people out there whose favourite song isn’t included in this mode.

Just Dance 4 Wii U

As far as GamePad integration goes, this is exclusive to the new ‘Puppet Master’ mode, exclusive to the Wii U version. In all honesty, it’s a lot like the Mash-Up mode, except you have one player controlling which dance style your victims will fall prey to you next. When I say victims, I mean it! If you want the dancers in your lounge room to be a sopping pile of sweat on the floor at the end of the song, the game will give you some serious moves to choose from. If you’re the kind of person who is kind to their friends, there’s a selection of easier dances as well. In the middle of a song, the GamePad player can touch an icon in the corner of the screen to make the dancers strike a pose, then choose who the best poser is for a small bonus.

All dance styles are chosen on the fly are all taken from all four of the main Just Dance titles. It’s a pity that all Puppet Master modes need to be unlocked before playing, as telling all your mates to come over and play as soon as you get the game could be more fun if this was available out of the box.

The ‘Just Sweat’ mode, the other main mode of Just Dance 4 is needlessly titled, as the entire game is very good at making you sweat! Although this is in a more controlled environment. You make a selection from a number of workouts (such as aerobics and body combat), then choose the duration of your workout; I haven’t dared try a 45 minute workout yet! A typical 10 minute workout starts with a warm up with your trainer, then gives you a song to dance to, then a controlled workout with the trainer, another song, then finally a cool down with your trainer, incorporating stretches into the music, which is rather nice.

Both the ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Just Sweat’ modes include achievement style goals to achieve. Achieving these goals award additional ‘mojo’ points, which are normally earned by dancing and training. Once you get enough ‘mojo’ points, you can gain a level and unlock a random bonus. The only trouble with this unlock system comes when you want a certain Mash-Up or Puppet Master song to be unlocked,  yet you find yourself unlocking everything except the song you want. It’s a way to keep you playing for sure; it can just be a tad on the frustrating side.

Just Dance 4 Wii U

You also won’t find Miiverse integrated into the game, much like a lot of 3rd party launch titles, it would be nice in a future update if you could see comments made by others on a song you just performed on the fly, but the Just Dance 4 community will have to make do, at least for now.

Just Dance 4 is a great party game to have friends over with, I didn’t expect a lot of GamePad integration, and what’s there works beautifully. The wonderful selection of songs will delight people of all ages. It might not add a lot new to the table, but Just Dance 4 is good enough to earn its spot on your shelf if party or dancing games are your thing!

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Brad Long

Brad Long

Brad Long grew up in a family completely unfamiliar with video gaming. Against all odds, he can lay claim to '100%ing' over 500 different video games, and secretly catalogues his victories. Brad has also started a family of his own, and raises them as future gamers, his son beating Guerilla War on the NES at age 4, his daughter finishing Donkey Kong's Crash Course 3 days after the Wii U launch at age 6.

You can read Brad Long's weekly opinion column here and follow him on Twitter.