Just Dance Video Game Series

The Just Dance series brings a dance club to your video game console.

Ubisoft Just Dance 2 for Wii screen shot
Ubisoft, Inc.

Note: This review focuses on Just Dance 2 for Nintendo Wii. Maker Ubisoft issues a new Just Dance edition yearly (in the fall) with new, popular songs (see it on Amazon). Versions are available for Xbox, Wii/WiiU, and Playstation platforms.

Just Dance 2 gets everyone in your family up and dancing, with songs and dance steps that will appeal to a wide range of tastes. Slip in a workout with Just Sweat mode or while competing in a Dance Crew Face-Off!

While Just Dance 2 doesn't include a lot of the fitness components you'd expect from an exergame, the choreography and visuals will get your feet moving and your heart pounding. Just Dance 2 for Wii has four dance modes: Dance Crew Face-off, Dancing Duets, Dance Party, and Just Sweat, and comes with 44 songs.

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Just Dance 2 for Wii - Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fun songs and choreography
  • Easy to learn to play (although some dance moves are tricky!)
  • Up to eight dancers can play
  • Good indoor workout

Cons

  • Warm-up includes static stretches, usually not a good idea
  • Just Sweat interface (workout mode) can be confusing
  • Few extras or options for workout mode
  • Inconsistent scoring

Just Dance 2 for Nintendo Wii - Review

Playing this game reminded me of the aerobics classes I took in college—when I had a teacher who played great music and incorporated fun choreography. It's so much fun bopping to the music, and trying to keep up with the dance steps, that I hardly notice the workout I'm getting.

A follow-up to Ubisoft's Just Dance, which came out in 2009, Just Dance 2 contains new songs and the option to download more using Wii points. It's a karaoke-like dance game in which players follow an onscreen avatar's moves to score points, but it doesn't require an extra peripheral like a mat (as in Dance Dance Revolution).

The visuals on this game are super appealing (see screenshot). The background and costume changes reflect each song's era and style in a fun and cheeky way; check out the Afro and bell-bottoms on the Jackson 5 song "I Want You Back." The avatar's right hand lights up, indicating where the Wii remote should be, and pictograms at the bottom of the screen preview upcoming moves.

Really, only your arm movements are tracked for scoring purposes, so if you're playing for points, you may feel frustrated. I recommend just enjoying the fun of the music and visuals, the challenge of the choreography, and the satisfaction of a pretty decent workout. The variety of songs and dance styles is excellent—from Donna Summer to a Bollywood number to the Pussycat Dolls. Some song lyrics may not be appropriate for young children (Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" comes to mind), although the worst words are silenced on the audio track and not listed on the onscreen lyrics. The game is E10+ (for Everyone 10 and up) due to the lyrics.

Check out Just Dance Kids (available at Amazon) for songs that are more appropriate for younger children.

Just Sweat Mode for Just Dance 2

Just Dance 2 includes a workout mode called "Just Sweat." In this mode, you can view a gauge that indicates how hard you're working, and you can earn sweat points and track progress toward a weekly goal. Without a heart-rate monitor or basic data on your height and weight, this "gauge" is a pretty subjective measurement. But if seeing it inch upwards motivates you, then that's all that matters.

The choices for this mode are "mild," "tough," and "intense," which refer to the number of sweat points you want to earn. You can dance to any of the songs in the game; there is no recommended or pre-set playlist for Just Sweat. (Look at the number of sweat drops marking each song to see how tough a workout it is). After each song, you view a graph that shows how close you are to your goal. Oddly, if you want to continue playing, you click on the button marked "Start." So you won't get an organized, planned, and properly tracked workout as you would with fitness exergame. But you will have a lot of fun, and get your heart rate up too.

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