Customer Review

112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Your Sillies Out!, 20 Feb. 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dance Juniors (Wii) (Video Game)
Despite mixed reviews from the gaming press, Ubisoft's 'Just Dance' series has proved to be very popular with casual gamers. Just Dance and Just Dance 2 have shifted roughly 5 million copies each. It's good to know that all over the world there are uncoordinated souls like me who bought the games '...for the kids' (hem, hem) but end up playing and enjoying the games just as much as their offspring. While the original game (in my opinion anyway) had the better track list, Just Dance 2 looked and played better and offered extra songs that the keen could download for additional LOLs. (I recommend 'Crazy Christmas' for those in need of a good old skank at the end of a busy day.) ...And I can't deny that these games have had a much longer appeal than I originally thought. These games, while hardly the sort of thing that gets Serious Gamers in a hot and sticky fanboy lather, are lots of fun and are an ideal way of wearing off your kids' excess energy on cold, wet rainy days.

Even so, I wasn't exactly excited by the idea of Just Dance Juniors (also known as 'Just Dance Kids' in the US and elsewhere). Why would you want another version of the game you have bought twice already? Especially when there is overlap in the featured tracks?

Game Design:
The series game concept itself is unchanged in JDJ - *you* copy a virtual gym instructor as they shimmy gracefully and *they* score your quasi-rhythmic wobbling - but the look and feel of the game is different. For one, the almost stylish array of themed dancers in Just Dance 1 and 2 have been replaced by a trio of perma-smiling and remarkably coordinated children in a variety of silly costumes. The graphical design has changed from a 1980s neon night club theme to one purloined from CBeebies' 'Get Squiggling' via the 'Scribblenauts' Nintendo DS game. I quite liked this redesign; it really suits the game, even if it does feel like the designers are perhaps trying a little too hard to please their intended audience. The downside is that any kid over eight would think that the game was for little kids, and that's before they had heard any of the music.

The Music:
Ah yes, the music. At first glance the track listing seems promising given its raison d'etre. It's a pot pourri of current pop hits (e.g. Justin Bieber's 'One Time'), 'heritage' party songs like Madonna's 'Holiday' and Village People's 'Y.M.C.A', traditional kiddie songs like 'If You're Happy And You Know It' and 'The Wheels On The Bus' and lots and lots of novelty songs like 'The Chicken/Birdie Song', 'The Macarena' and 'The Hamster Dance Song'. But wait - before your excitement gets the better of you - most of these songs are cover versions sung by children. Ah. The spectrum of musical ability exhibited in these covers ranges from the cute and competent to the unspeakable; the whole gamut from, say, the squeaky yet melodic Stephanie-from-Lazytown to the utterly, utterly horrific atonal mauling inflicted by arch-mini sadists The Minipops. The more traditional songs like 'The Ants Go Marching' and 'Pop Goes The Weasel' seem to have survived this process the best. The aforementioned song about ambulant members of the Formicidae family is almost perversely enjoyable - someone somewhere obviously likes the Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. Note that there are *some* tracks performed by their original artists, notably those by The Wiggles and the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba (yay!), but they are in the minority.

My eldest daughter G (6-and-a-quarter years old) enjoyed making her own playlists. The one that alternated between 'The Chicken/Birdie Song' and 'The Hamster Dance Song' was not the for faint-hearted. Additional songs are NOT available for download. I'm not sure if this is a boon or a drawback.

And finally... A word of warning. There is a cover version of Kim Wilde's 'Kids In America' that gives me ...The Fear. Let's put it this way - the (ironic?) demolition of the song by comedy thrash metallers Lawnmower Deth would be considered sympathetic in comparison. I really can't imagine anyone wanting to dance to the version featured in the game. Adopting the foetal position and crying for any passing responsible adult for reassurance, yes, certainly. Dancing, no. 'Ooh Crikey!', indeed.

In summary, the music mix is fine for the pre-schooler crowd, but it will singularly fail to impress or interest anyone over the age of eight. Except for *that* cover, which should be locked in a lead-lined cabinet three metres underground and only allowed out at Hallowe'en. Brrr.

Gameplay:
Gameplay is as you would expect for the third title in a series; the game engine has been refined and seems more responsive and less unforgiving than before. Admittedly this might, in part, be due to the subtle and graceful movements that the game expects of you - a lot of jumping up and down and frantic waving of your arms and legs. This means that even the little ones, like my almost three year old M, can do that funny Jump-Up-And-Down thing they like to do and still score points. I also noticed that there are fewer helpful onscreen diagrams to help the confused and a surprising number of complicated dance moves which are more difficult than the ones in the grown up titles. The level of difficulty is more Channel 5's Milkshake's 'Bop Box' than CBeebies' 'Boogie Beebies'. (Get your preschooler to explain if you don't understand what I mean by that.) Also... I really wasn't expecting the Junior version of the game to be MORE exhausting than the adult version, but it is. Finally, and most importantly of all, bouncing around to 'Get The Sillies Out' really is a blast. I'm forty year old married dad of two. Please don't judge me.

Summary:
I quite liked the game. My children enjoyed playing it. For the first couple of days after purchased it, we shook until all the sillies were out and partied our tummies all day until it was time to go to bed. I would recommend this game to anyone who has children under the age of eight, but they may want to save their money if they already own any of the previous titles in the series. Older children should steer clear. Embarrassingly uncoordinated parents should steer clear also, but only to prevent the blushes of their children.
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Comments

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Feb 2011 23:40:02 GMT
An excellent review, funny as well as informative. Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2011 11:26:48 GMT
Maria White says:
lol... I agree. A nicely written review by someone who sounds like a fun dad. Lucky Kids.

Posted on 14 Apr 2011 19:40:25 BDT
cleggie says:
Brilliant Review, informative and slightly hilarious- thanks!

Posted on 23 Oct 2011 09:41:04 BDT
Funniest review I have read in ages - you're a legend!!

Posted on 17 Nov 2011 19:16:14 GMT
Excellent review which has saved me from a grisly Christmas fate. Thank you, thank you, thank you, oh thank you!

Posted on 24 Nov 2011 23:05:30 GMT
T Mohans says:
I don't usually bother commenting about people's reviews, but felt that yours deserved a 'thank you!'. Great review, prompted me to buy for my three year old who loves dancing. You should be a professional reviewer, especially for childrens items!!! I also think you should be on commission for items purchased after reading your review. Are you secretly employed by Amazon???

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2011 13:42:54 GMT
Sadly I'm not a professional reviewer, nor am I employed by Amazon. Thank you for your kind words!
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

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