Parents need to know that "Just Dance 2018" is the latest release in Ubisoft's popular rhythm and music series. The version for newer consoles includes some deeper content, and the Switch version in particular sports a few exclusive modes and features that take advantage of the dual Joy-Con controllers. While the game encourages players to get active with full body movement, players can skirt by using only minor motions in the hands and arms. Parents should also be aware that, despite having a decent amount of content packed in, "Just Dance 2018" pushes hard for players to purchase additional downloadable content, with a specific focus on a monthly subscription service for the game.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Just Dance 2018 is the latest entry in Ubisoft's hit rhythm and music series. Players can get up of the couch and hit the virtual dance floor, matching the movements of professionally choreographed dance routines set to a wide range of musical hits, both past and present. By downloading the "Just Dance" app, players can use their iOS or Android smartphone as a controller and dance their heart out to more than 40 music tracks, and even more routines are available through the Just Dance Unlimited monthly subscription service. Younger fans can learn to groove with the game's new Kids Mode, with easier routines, packed with positive reinforcement. Switch owners can take the game a step further, using the Joy-Con controllers to move to the beat while taking on two handed challenges in the exclusive Double Rumble Mode.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
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Admittedly, "Just Dance 2018" isn't exactly groundbreaking, following the familiar formula of the past few games in the series, right down to the decision to get players to download the companion app on their smartphones to use as motion controllers. Just like with previous games, those motion controls aren't exactly anywhere close to precise. In fact, you can easily just sit on the couch, wave your phone around, and still break out high score after high score. Then again, more adventurous types willing to put in the actual and intended effort might wind up with lower scores, but will have a blast making a fool of themselves.
While "Just Dance 2018" did play it safe this year, it managed to toss in a few interesting new twists. One, meant to draw in a new generation of virtual dancers, is a Kids Mode. This mode has a kid-specific playlist of performances, easier difficulty, and LOTS of positive reinforcement. Switch owners also get an added bonus with the new Double Rumble mode, which gives players specific rhythm challenges that require the simultaneous use of two Joy-Con controllers (one in each hand), as well as the system's unique HD Rumble feature. Neither of these additions reinvent the wheel, but still offer a bit of a variety to the gameplay. While the game does include more than 40 tracks baked in, it never misses an opportunity to remind you of the 300+ library of tunes waiting for you, if you're willing to shell out a little extra money. Still, there's enough content in the main package to get friends together, move to the beat, and start up a mini-rave party on a whim.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 2 out of 5
Positive role models: 0 out of 5
Ease of play: 2 out of 5
Violence: 0 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 5 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release date: October 24, 2017
Genre: Music and Dance
ESRB rating: E10+ for Lyrics
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