Video Games Weekly: Just Dance 2016
I’m guessing most of you are familiar with the Just Dance series. The series released its first game Just Dance in 2009, and like Now That’s What I Call Music!, there is a new Just Dance game released every year. Just Dance 2016 is different from its predecessors, and I don’t mean it only has an updated the song list!
Platform: Wii, Wii U, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One. Notice how this is one of the very new titles released for older consoles! Also, I played this on my Wii U, which is a different version from other consoles.
Single or Multiplayer: Both. I say it’s more fun to play on multiplayer.
Controls: Like the 2015 version, Just Dance 2016 heavily promotes the tagline “You can play Just Dance 2016 by using your smartphone to track and score your dance moves!” Yes, this is a neat feature for players who own smartphones, but there are still teens in the U.S. who still do not own a smartphone. Reading the tagline makes me cringe, because I have a few regular teens at my library who don’t own smartphones. I wouldn’t want to make those teens explain they need a Wiimote while everyone else uses the app because I think that could be very embarrassing for the teen. One way to combat this is to have every teen play with a Wiimote, no questions asked. I should also mention that players can only use their smartphones if they are playing on a Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One. If you’re playing on Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, you’re stuck using the controllers regardless!
In order to play, players hold either a controller or their phone in one hand, and follow along with the dancer on screen during a song of their choice. There is a small diagram that appears at the bottom right hand corner that gives players a warning about what “moves” are coming up next, but I personally find them incredibly unhelpful and tend to ignore it.
Players score points based on the accuracy of their dance moves. The more points you get, the more stars, which means you get bragging rights. You can’t really “fail” when playing Just Dance 2016, which is helpful to convince reluctant teens to play!
Party Master: Solely available on the Wii U GamePad, four players dance while one player uses the “Wii U GamePad” to be the “Party Master”. The “Party Master” is in charge of selecting which moves they want the other four to perform. It’s ridiculously funny, but I recommend having teens take turns being “Party Master” before they get corrupted from the power.
Just Dance Unlimited: Before I get into the different modes, I want to talk about the song availability. Just Dance 2016 is starting something new where players can subscribe to “over 150 songs” playlist. You can purchase a one month, three month, or one year pass. The game disc comes with 45 songs, which you can view here.
Dance Party: The game’s main mode is “Dance Party”. Players can opt to play single player where they can try to get a high score on a song or master the moves. Players can also play multiplayer in “Dance Party”. “Dance Party” is really fun to play in multiplayer because players can either play with their friends to get a combined high score, or they can literally have a dance battle. If you have teens who love Just Dance, you could easily have a “Dance Party” battle tournament program!
Dance Quest: Instead of battling against your friends, “Dance Quest” has players go up against an AI player tournament style over three songs. Whoever scores more points wins the tournament. This is a fun option for solo players who want to experience a little more competition in the game rather than trying to get five stars on a song.
Sweat: Sweat mode is not new to the Just Dance series. In “Sweat” mode, the goal is to burn more calories instead of points. I can personally vouch that this will indeed make you sweat, which may not be desirable while you’re at work! I’m not sure how accurate the “calories burned” calculator is, but there are people out there who have lost weight by playing video games along with other cardio exercises.
Online Modes on Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One: Just Dance 2016 added three new online modes, but they are only available for the newer generation consoles. The first mode, “Showtime”, records players to lip sync along and create your own routine. The Wii U Gamepad records your performance, so it has to be in front of the player at a decent height. Players can post their performance online (over my dead body am I posting my rendition to “Born This Way” for the internet to see!) on “JDTV”. Players can watch other players’ recordings on “JDTV” and “like” them if they wish. “JDTV” has gotten crazy, with people dressing up in costumes, doing professional dance routines, but sadly I can’t show you a video on YouTube because you can only see it on “JDTV”!. Finally, there’s “World Video Challenge” which in a nutshell lets you compete against other players on an international scale.
Verdict: A good purchase for core collections, but avoid purchasing any “gold editions”! Just Dance 2016: Gold Edition is more expensive because it comes with a three month subscription to “Just Dance Unlimited”, which can only be redeemed once.
Whether or not you want to play it at Teen Game Nights or a teen program depends on your teens’ interests. One thing to keep in mind is making sure you have fans and water available at a program, because the programming space will smell like teen spirit with all the dancing, sweating, and fun!
Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!
By: Alanna Graves
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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