As one gets older, it’s tougher to be hip. It’s easier to hurt one’s hip, but it’s tougher to BE hip. Not even sure ‘hip’ is a thing now. Doesn’t matter, people can change their ways, as it’s too late for me and I’m old and see in mine. GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!
*gasp for air* *sleeps* *wakes*
Anyway, as I was saying, it’s tougher to feel cool/hip as one increases in age and thankfully there is Just Dance 2017 to boost one’s morale on the subject.
Just Dance 2017 works just like previous Just Dance’s of old — you move and dance the correct ways against a bevy of songs categorized by year, style, alphabetical and whatnot. If you move correctly at the right time, then you get a certain amount of points and encouragement that you’re doing a great job (sometimes perfect). It’s in the same style as Guitar Hero, which asks you to push buttons on the guitar as they pass through a set literal line. Get it right and you score points. Get it wrong and you’re a failure (it’s all very harsh). As with Guitar Hero, if you score enough points in Just Dance 2017, as well as words of encouragement (ok, good, perfect!), all of it translates to a rating of 1-5 stars, depending on how you did with the song/dance. The better you move, the better you score.
Again, just like in past Just Dance games.
In the past with Just Dance, on bigger consoles, specifically the PlayStation 4’s Eye and Xbox One’s Kinect, you would have a camera reading your body movements, which would provide some sort of detection accuracy. For the Eye, it worked about 80% of the time (it wasn’t the greatest at reading body movements at times). The Xbox Kinect did this game nearly perfect, even the Xbox 360 version, in the Kinect’s short-lived technological career. In fact, it might have been the only game that the Kinect actually worked on.
*says small prayer for such a tiny piece of tech with great potential*
Anyway, the Nintendo Switch has you holding a controller in your hand rather than having a camera pointing at your body during your dance routine. While I would love to believe that the Switch is accurate and reliable, I have to say the game actually provides some major leeway for the experience to unfold, as moves can be missed, but the game continues like you’ve done a good job. This means that if you’re not exactly perfect with your moves, it will give you the benefit of the doubt (depending on difficulty). Need proof? I watched my kids play this game over the weekend and child #5 (3) was hitting her ‘perfects’ more often than not. While I could write this off as my daughter being a future trainer on Dancing with the Stars, I realistically must think that the reason she was doing so well was because the game allowed her to do so with a major amount of motion forgiveness. Most reviewers I have spoken too have agreed there is some slippage and forgiveness to movement, which devalues the purpose of the game just slightly, as it should be more accurate than not. As a reviewer, I acknowledge this is the case with Just Dance 2017 and I can’t let that slide with the review score.
Having said that, as a parent, I’m completely okay with the leeway, as I would rather my kids want to keep playing the game because it seems more fun and it gets them off their asses (huge deal). Sometimes the illusion of fun overpowers the illusion of function, which is the case here. Having fun is what games were built on back in the 80s/90s and that essence should be in every game not called Dark Souls that is made on every platform. That essence is quite prevalent in Just Dance 2017. The kids absolutely have a blast with this and aren’t judge-y or aware of the game’s functional shortcomings.
Controls aside, the other reason you want this game is for the music selection, which is actually quite impressive. Popular songs that my family listens to on the radio and through Amazon Music are very much present in this game. For example, Silentó’s Watch Me is ever present and a fan favorite in the household, even to the point where I need to hide the Switch at times to stop hearing it in my dreams/nightmares. Other musical pieces you can look forward to in the game include songs from The Black Eyed Peas, Ariana Grande, a bevy of Katie Perry songs and more than a few other good hits that are recent. While I’m too old to appreciate such ‘gems’, I did find a lovely batch of 80s music that my kids cringed at during my dance routines. Too bad for them. There’s nothing quite like dancing to Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero, starring a man dressed as a Native American riding a spaceship through multiple landscapes that are not of this earth (I’m not sure it’s PC, but it makes everyone uncomfortable, except me, in the household).
Regardless of musical needs/tastes, my point here is that there is a little something in the music category for everyone in the game and the young kids in the household, those who will be playing this title the most, were more than happy with the music they could move and grove too. I’m sure there is a point where you need more music, but I can’t understand why and when that would be.
The lone caveat to the music library is that you get a limited ‘free’ subscription (three months) to Just Dance 2017’s unlimited music category, which provides you with 200+ songs (and continually adds new songs as they come through). The cost for a year of that subscription is minimal ($29.99) in hindsight, but the fact that the microtransaction exists will probably rub people the wrong way. For me, I see it as a premium pass for a game, and a cheap one at that. In the gaming world it’s not the worst price to encounter.
Overall, Just Dance 2017’s pros far outweigh its cons. The controls aren’t the best, as their inaccuracy is present from the moment you start moving, but there is a lot of fun to be had dancing and prancing your way to stardom, especially if you have young kids in the household.