Ubisoft’s Just Dance series is up to its 10th entry with its 2019 edition. As we did last year, we got on the dance floor with the PS4 version of the game.
One of the most enduring franchises from the motion control era, Just Dance 2019 isn’t afraid to show its origins – heck, it’s even coming out for the original Nintendo Wii. That feels a little bit like an homage to the system that pioneered motion controls to the masses, although the series has received a few tweaks over the years – this year’s edition is no exception.
Motion controls are, of course, still in full swing here. You can use the Move controllers on the PS4 (one of the few non-VR titles to use them), but if you don’t have them laying around then you can sort of create your own versions of them as well. To do this, you download the companion app on your smartphone and use its built-in gyroscope to have the game track your performance.
The most fun way to play with a bunch of people (including kids, as the game has a built in kids mode) is to use the peripheral-free camera mode, which tracks your entire body without the need to hold a controller or phone (and the dangers that come with that). It’s not quite as precise in its tracking as when using Move, but Just Dance is (for most people) more about the fun factor than it is about scoring top marks.
This was always echoed in Just Dance’s colorful exterior as well, with flashy and vibrant visuals in-game. Those are still there in Just Dance 2019, but the menu system has definitely been sobered up a little bit. There’s a cleaner interface this time around, with a few new features that are basically quality of life improvements. You can easily toggle various options, but playlist management is where the real benefits lie – allowing you to select favorites and songs you’d rather not hear with ease.
This is an especially big benefit when you use Just Dance Unlimited, Ubisoft’s subscription model for the game. When you subscribe, you get access to an impressive library of over 400 songs to dance to – and access is included for a full month after you boot up the game for the first time. After that, the annual price (which depends on your region) is quite reasonable too, especially when you consider that it gets you 400 songs versus the mere 40 that come with the base game.
Opt out of renewing your subscription to Unlimited, and you drop back to about 10% of the library – so you have to REALLY dig the tracklist to warrant that full price purchase. Since it mostly consists of current hits (and we generally like the classics better), it felt like an Unlimited subscription bundled with a previous Just Dance release was a smarter option for us. This is especially true because all the classic songs in Just Dance 2019 are cover versions, which is somewhat of a Just Dance staple that I still don’t quite understand.
Is Just Dance 2019 fun to play? It definitely is, and the new interface has improvements as well – even though it moves the game away a little bit from “fun” and more towards “functional”. If you’re a loyal Just Dance player and already have a subscription then it’s down to how badly you want the new tracklist. That’s also true if you’re a new player, but in that case you also have the option of an older version and the paid subscription – which makes Just Dance 2019 somewhat of a tough sell, no matter how fun it is to dance the night away.