Just Dance 2017 Review — Shake It Off (Again)

on November 12, 2016 10:47 AM

Another year, another Just Dance. Brimming from top to bottom with overzealous energy and ecstatic colors, Just Dance 2017 is exactly what you would expect: a good time. But on the other end of the spectrum, the only real fault in Just Dance‘s most recent revival is its lack of innovation. The game (like the variety of sports titles that come out annually) is often more of the same, but a ton of fun nonetheless if you fit into the audience.

After a few moments of searching for and dusting off my Kinect 2.0 and Xbox One, I popped in Just Dance 2017 to the familiar barrage of neon colors and upbeat tunes. I’ve purchased the last few years of Just Dance so the cadence of the games is no surprise to me. In fact, some of the best additions to the previous games — the mobile phone compatibility and the subscription service — makes a return.

Speaking to the latter, Ubisoft’s subscription service, Just Dance Unlimited, is a welcome addition to Just Dance 2017. Players who sign up will be able to play any song or remix since the original Just Dance released in 2009. The feature is great, and considerably opens up the playlist to pop tracks I had long forgotten about. However, the service does come at a price… literally.

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Although every player will be able to get a brief trial period of two days, players can extend their subscription for a month, three months, or a year ($6.99, $14.99, and $39.99, respectively). And while the included titles are by no means paltry, the subscription service seems like an obvious purchase. Especially for gamers that don’t own previous entries or those who intend to play for more than a month.

Besides the ever-rotating variety of songs, not much else has changed from the Just Dance formula year-to-year. Just Dance 2017 sports similar modes to what we’ve seen in the past. Players can work out with a Sweat it Off Mode or take on others in a Quest Mode. And while they are both welcome additions that add some replay value and variety to the title, I was often pining for something a little more creative.

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Well… less creative that the newly included Just Dance Machine mode. After a frankly-trippy sequence of aliens looking to build up energy to fuel their spaceships by dancing (after unsuccessfully trying with bananas), players are tasked to dance out a few different styles. You will jump around like a ballerina and conduct an imaginary concert — but the mode feels thrown-in and like filler content.

Also, like previous versions of the game, players have the option of playing with their respective cameras (Kinect 2.0, PlayStation Camera), Wiimotes, or smart phones. In other words, you (likely) won’t need to buy new equipment to have your entire squad playing Just Dance 2017. This particularly is a boon to anyone wanting to try this out at a party, but not willing to invest in the Kinect or a million Wiimotes.

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And although Just Dance 2017 is perfect for families and parties, the game has a limited range of appeal. Just Dance has always been a game about the current pop-selections with a few eclectic tracks thrown in. However, if you are looking for a broader selection other than what you might find on Billboard’s Top 100, you may be a little out of the loop. Although, the Just Dance Unlimited function does offer selections up considerably.

On top of that, Just Dance 2017 is a game that will only fit in a few lifestyles. Perfect for parties, families, and people looking for a workout. However, people with limited space or those looking for a more traditional gameplay experience need not apply. In my one own one-bedroom apartment, my girlfriend and I were cramped for space even after clearing the floor.

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It feels weird to assign a score to Just Dance 2017 — the game doesn’t stray too far from the path, but it’s never been a series that needs to. The game is all out fun and still a world-class party game, but treads the same ground as any other game in the last couple years. If you need to get the latest injection of pop music or haven’t touched the series in years, this game is an easy recommendation. While it isn’t too different from last year’s version (on the one before it), it is still the best Just Dance 2017.

 /  Editor-in-Chief
Lou Contaldi is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers, specializing in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.