Review: “Just Dance 2022” doesn’t break the molds, but stays true to its nostalgic roots

“Just Dance” has been a constant part of the childhood of my generation. I vividly remember waking up on Christmas Day almost every year with the new version of the game and dancing with my sister until we went through the catalog. I still play a lot of older games on my old game consoles and not only are they still entertaining, but deeply nostalgic. I jumped at the chance to be able to test the latest version of the game.

The next installment, “Just Dance 2022″, was announced in June 2021 and will be the 13th game in the main series. “Just Dance” has been a board game out of the ordinary since the first of the name was released in November 2009. Not much about the game itself has changed since its inception; the player is given a list of choreographed songs to be mirrored and is graded on his performance. Whether the player just puts their controller or their heart and soul into the dance is up to them. No matter how skilled the player is, he can “just dance” with little fear of judgment. The game proves that its creators discovered a solid code for success combining unabashed fun with popular music and exercise.

‘Just Dance 2022’ is an expected addition to the series, as it doesn’t have anything remarkably innovative, but rather an updated version of the game. On the Nintendo Switch, the player can dance with a group of up to six people, either by working together in “cooperative mode” or by confronting each other. It is possible to use the in-game controllers or the Just Dance controller app. “Just Dance 2022” includes other classic features such as “Just Sweat”, where the player is able to play more extreme versions of the dances, and a “QuickPlay” option where all songs are shuffled and put back to back. The game also includes a “Kids” version, similar to the last editions, which is essentially a simplified version of the gameplay to children’s or Disney-inspired music. Additionally, “Just Dance 2022” still gives the player a “mojo” that they can spend on a gachapon-type machine that provides new avatars, skins, and slogans for your player profile.

The biggest change in ‘Just Dance 2022’ is the content it provides. The tracklist reflects both trends and radio hits from the past year with a more cinematic backdrop than ever before. The atmospheres created by the game are vibrant and engaging, although at times they are a little hard to follow for what the game is all about. ‘Just Dance 2022’ seems to be quite diverse in its choices as always, featuring music from K-pop bands, forgotten internet culture, TikTok, and what I would call “family travel music,” all alongside Top 100 picks of the year.

Some of the options were surprising at first. Similar to the censorship of the ‘Just Dance’ brand, Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch” has been changed to “Boss Witch”. Although a bit cheesy, the change was a lot more creative than “paging” swear words, and the witch theme was nice and in line with current trends. Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” also stood out for both the popularity of the song and the spatial theme of the dance. Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” definitely struck us as unsuitable for Just Dance, and yet it captures the song with the bittersweet rage it demands. Taylor Swift’s “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” was also on the tracklist and I thought it was a fitting nod to Swift’s growth as an artist and the recent resurgence. of its popularity.

For a game that tries to end the year with dance, “Just Dance 2022” does a great job. Many of the dancers had masks attached to their costumes and most of the distance dancers were masked. We have all lived through the trauma of the pandemic and are still suffering from the aftermath. Masks have become commonplace. Seeing COVID portrayed so gently in a game that doesn’t necessarily require it felt thoughtful and truly representative of the times.

Despite its triumphs, “Just Dance 2022” also had some unsatisfying times, which is disappointing for a game that has been around for so long and is so celebrated. Songs like El Chombo’s “Chacarron” sound late, and including “Chandelier” in light of the SIA musician’s many recent controversies sounded slightly unpleasant. Also, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” was announced, but nowhere to be found on our copy of “Just Dance 2022”.

Another part of that disappointment is the constant emphasis on Just Dance Unlimited. “Just Dance 2022” follows its predecessors and offers 40 tracks to dance to, while also offering a larger collection of dances. Most of these dances – both old and new content – are blocked unless the player has an unlimited subscription (I was able to use the free trial, which significantly improved my experience). There were also several commercials for Just Dance Unlimited between dances that seemed both misplaced and as a risk to young players who might accidentally make the purchase for $ 3.99 per month.

Overall, “Just Dance 2022” nestles comfortably within the “Just Dance” series. While he doesn’t provide a lot of new quirks, he doesn’t have to. The game does exactly what is expected of it and the latest version is just a new batch of dancing and a better experience as the technology improves. “Just Dance” has been a constant for 12 years and doesn’t seem to want to back down anytime soon.

“Just Dance 2022” will be available for purchase on November 4, 2021 on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S and Stadia.

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