Like clockwork, we’re getting a brand new version of Ubisoft’s Let’s Dance. Let’s Dance 2020 is out now for all the usual platforming (including the Wii!), and we tested the PS4 version of the game. The franchise is a decade old now, so let’s see what’s new….
One thing that’s new to this year’s version is that it’s coming out for a brand new platform – the upcoming Google Stadia. That release will follow later this month when Stadia finally releases, and it will no doubt feature Just Dance’s ability to control the game using your smart device as a motion controller.
That feature is also available on the PS4 edition again, though if you have a Playstation camera you can also go with Move controllers – a safer option if you’re using wriststraps. All of that is familiar territory for the franchise though, and most of its new features are in a brand new tracklist as well as a few tweaks to the menu system that seem to hint at the future of the franchise.
Starting off with the tracklist, Just Dance embraces its status as a franchise that is mainly popular with a younger audience. Only five of the forty songs in the tracklist are pre-2000, and those are all cover versions as well. “Always look on the bright side of life” isn’t done by Eric Idle, Imagination is not singing “Just an illusion” this time around and – perhaps most ironically of all – “Everybody (Backstreet’s back)” isn’t done by a band with “Backstreet” in their name. In addition, you can play an All Stars mode with highlights from a decade of Just Dance, unlocking a few stickers on your journey through time. With well-known songs to complement the ‘latest hits’ in the main tracklist, this is nice new feature.
There are plenty of original artists on the tracklist (and this is true for All Star mode as well), but don’t expect a “greatest hits of all time”-type of collection on the core tracklist. Instead, expect plenty of today’s hits, including Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus, Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Highlighting Just Dance’s kids mode, which is aimed at the younger audience, is a selection of songs that that has simplified routines available for them – the standout title there being Youtube sensation “Baby Shark”. Multiple difficulty levels are available, which gets determined by your choice of track.
The core gameplay is the same it’s been for years, and the game’s online subscription mode Just Dance Unlimited also returns and comes with a recommendation system to help you filter through the 500+ songs the service now has. Just Dance 2020 seems to be more about sharing the experience this year though, which is what a lot of the new menu layout seems to be about.
Online play features heavily in the new menu, with updates on events greeting you when you log in. There are also online dance parties, tournaments and other online activities to engage with, emphasizing that Ubisoft seems to want to turn their dance franchise into a “games as a service” model. As someone who’s always viewed Just Dance as a party game first and foremost, I’m not sure the change does much for me.
Luckily, playing the game the old fashioned way is still very much possible and if you have a couple of friends over (or a few kids running around) then Just Dance is a lot of fun. In that scenario, whether or not the 2020 version is worth the purchase is entirely up to how much you are interested in the included tracklist and if you already have the “All Stars” songs through previous games – if there’s only a handful of new songs that you are hoping to dance to then investing in a Just Dance Unlimited subscription on top of your existing game might be an option for you as well. Unless you’re interested in the online social elements of the new Just Dance, in which case 2020 is a big step forward. I personally wasn’t too keen on sharing my moves to “baby shark” with anyone outside of my house.