Letting go of your inhibitions can often be difficult--just ask a sober person at a karaoke bar--but doing so is a requisite for getting the most out of Just Dance 3. Its hilarious and often downright insane routines have you doing the jive bunny, playing air guitar, and jumping around like a complete loon to an eclectic selection of songs that are guaranteed to get you dancing. Though Just Dance 3 still lacks a career mode or even a set of simple unlockables, there's plenty of fun to be had performing the visually striking and silly routines with a group of friends. It isn't the game to go for if you're after a technically challenging dancing experience, but if it's a silly, energetic, and accessible dancing game you're after, it's unmatched.
The Just Dance series has never been difficult to pick up and play: you pick a song to dance to, hold the Wii Remote in your right hand, and mimic the actions of a virtual dancer onscreen. You're awarded points based on your movements, which are tracked by the Wii Remote, with each being scored as bad, OK, good, or perfect. No matter how many points you rack up, though, it's impossible to fail out of a song. While this makes the game much more accessible for casual players, it removes much of the challenge, which makes playing on your own a dull experience for all but the most dedicated dance fiends.
Get three of your friends together, though, and you'll have a lot more fun. Any song can be played with up to four players, and there are specific songs that have been designed with more dancers in mind. These include a bouncy duet to Girls Aloud's "Jump" and a rock-and-roll duet to Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." It's the four-player dances that are the most fun, though, with choreography that's clearly designed to cause as much embarrassment for the participants as possible. Highlights include the Power Rangers-inspired "Spectronizer," complete with multiple superhero poses, and Kiss' "I Was Made for Loving You," which features a full four-piece air band and the most unexpected dancing twist in the game.
The choreography is excellent throughout, striking a fine balance between fun, skill requirement, and suitability to the song. Play an early '90s hit like "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," for instance, and you're asked to perform the running man, while more modern songs like Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand" and Katy Perry's "California Gurls" feature sexy twists and twirls that wouldn't look out of place onstage today. Even if you're not participating, it's hilarious to watch your friends perform, with onscreen lyrics that let you sing along too. While the excellent tracklist caters to most tastes, other songs are available to download from the in-game store, such as Anja's "Baby Don't Stop Now" and Groove Century's "Soul Searchin," for 250 Wii points each.
Matching the excellent choreography are the visuals. The bright neon dancers with their stark white outlines look better than ever and are still modelled after video footage of real-life performances, making them natural and easy to follow against the bright backgrounds. The artwork has seen an overhaul too, with improved detail and animations that fit within the theme of each song. Highlights include the '70s disco lights and Afros in Earth Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland"; the electronics-infused circuit boards and robot costumes in Daft Punk's "Da Funk"; and the floating price tags and cash symbols in Jessie J's "Price Tag."
Aside from the standard Dance mode, there are different playlists to play through, coming under the banner of Sweat mode. You can jump straight into a playlist, or take part in a seven-day challenge, which does a great job of keeping track of your dancing and how many calories you're burning over the course of the week. Unfortunately, that's the only other mode to play through in Just Dance 3, with the Dance Battle mode of its predecessor going the way of the Dodo. Combined with the lack of a career mode or rewards, this makes Just Dance 3 a lightweight experience, and not much fun on your own. Playing with friends is key to getting the most out of the game's routines, and when you do so, it's hilarious. Each routine has been expertly choreographed, not to be technically impressive, but to be as much fun as possible. Even the most cynical of players should give Just Dance 3 a try--you might come away a little embarrassed, maybe even a little sweaty, but you'll have a huge smile afterward.