With the removal of a version number and the addition of a year, Just Dance has finally resigned itself to its fate: a yearly update that's more song pack than new game. But for a series that hit upon a winning formula so early on in its life--one that remains largely unchallenged to this day--that's not entirely a bad thing. Just Dance 2014 is every bit as enjoyable and ludicrously silly as its predecessors, thanks to some stellar choreography and one of the best song collections the series has had to date.
It's a set of songs that lean more towards modern pop than ever before; the 49-strong collection is dominated by the likes of Kesha, Lady Gaga, and One Direction. That said, Just Dance throws a few wildcards in there too, with George Michael's "Careless Whisper," the Village People's "YMCA," and Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" boasting some of the most impressively crazy dance routines around.
Indeed, it's those very routines that continue to make Just Dance such a joy to play with friends and bust out at parties. You can forget any hint of sensibleness here: these are routines designed to have you laughing out loud and leaping around the room like a lunatic, before inevitably collapsing on the couch in a fit of exhaustion and sore sides. It's the four-player routines in particular that succeed; they have you doing the do-si-do and the cancan, and spinning your friends around the room with abandon. Oh, and don't forget the jazz hands.
A glorified song pack it may be, but this is still as fun a party game as you're going find.
Everything is wrapped in Just Dance's typically exuberant style. The game blasts you with impressive performances from videos of real dancers that are heavily stylised with bright colours and ridiculous costumes. Those include bowler-hat-clad hippos, mechs, glittering gold and silver suits, and giant pieces of fruit. Because, you know, nothing screams "In the Summertime" like a dancing pineapple.
Scoring for your dancing is loose, and you're never quite sure if what you're doing has any bearing on your score. But then, that has never been the point of Just Dance. Its low barrier to entry--simply dancing while holding a Wii Remote, Move controller, or nothing at all in the case of the Kinect--along with its inherent silliness are precisely what make it so successful at getting you grooving. The only time you'll really care about the score is for unlocking bonus content, such as new playlists and mash-ups, but thankfully not the core songs themselves, all of which are unlocked from the off.
Aside from the standard Just Dance mode, Just Sweat mode returns and remains largely unchanged from before, letting you create personalised workout sessions to burn off a few calories. The big addition to Just Dance 2014 is World Dance Floor, a real-time online dance-off where you pit your skills against others in a rolling global playlist. It's a great mode if you're simply too lazy to pick a song, or if you're the competitive type, with online leaderboards giving you bragging rights for your smooth moves.
That feature alone isn't enough to make Just Dance 2014 a worthy upgrade over its predecessor. It all comes down to the routines and the songs, which are some of the best the series has ever had. A glorified song pack it may be, but this is still as fun a party game as you're going find, one that revels in its own brilliant silliness and that's all but guaranteed to get the party started.