Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2018 has just been released for nearly every motion control-enabled console out there. Available for Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo’s last three consoles, we playtested the PS4 version.
The motion control boom is well and truly behind us at this point, with Sony’s Move controllers now being used mainly for VR purposes. It’s been ages since we’ve seen a big studio launch a Kinect title, and most Switch titles don’t use its motion controls either. The Just Dance franchise is still going strong though, with a 2018 edition now available through retail and digital stores. And because of changes introduced in previous versions, it can now be played without dedicated motion controllers as well – thanks to Just Dance’s support for smart devices as motion controller replacements.
Just Dance 2018 is, not surprisingly, quite similar to last year’s edition. There’s a brand new soundtrack with close to 40 tracks available, and most of them are current hits or songs that were big in the past five years or so. In fact, the only true “classic” on this year’s playlist is Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, so if you’re looking for music to please players of all generations then this 2018 edition is not the ideal one for you. Instead, get ready to enjoy the likes of Luis Fonsi’s Despocito and tracks by Shakira, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry.
Ubisoft switched things up with the release of Just Dance Unlimited last year though, which is their (paid) streaming service that provides access to hundreds of additional songs. With this, you’re guaranteed to have something in there for everyone – which is a ton better than going back to the same four or five on-disc favorites time after time. The biggest downside is that it’s a paid service, with a subscription fee that (although) reasonable comes on top of a full price base game. I would have like seeing a free edition of the game (perhaps with a single track) instead that allows you to buy additional tracks or subscribe to Unlimited instead. Now, you might end up paying for tracks you don’t care for when you’d rather spend the money on Unlimited.
The game plays nearly exactly like last year’s version, with multiplayer gameplay supported and a mix of supported controllers – including the aforementioned smart phones. These work through Ubisoft’s Just Dance app, though you’ll want to be careful that you’re not sending your phones flying when flailing your arms around. Worst case scenario, it flies straight towards your TV. I’m so happy my Move controllers have wrist cords attached to them….
The biggest new feature in this year’s version is the return of a kids mode, which simplifies the controls and restricts access to non-appropriate content, which includes the ability to purchase things in the store. It’s a great feature, though I wish it had been supplemented with a few audio tracks for smaller kids. There are a few Disney songs in the mix, but the amount of songs that a typical four year old will be familiar with is limited. Nevertheless, this could be something that’s included in the 2019 edition, since younger children seem to really enjoy playing the game.
With Just Dance Unlimited already available for the 2017 version, investing in the new game is mostly down to your like or dislike of the tracklist. The game does come with a free three month subscription to the streaming service though, so if you’ve been considering trying it out then this could be the time. If you ignore the Unlimited library, Just Dance 2018’s tracklist is a tad too restrictive for my liking – with a lack of classics tracks and an emphasis on current songs that may not resonate with everyone.