Just Dance 2018
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Just Dance 2018 is the latest release in Ubisoft's popular rhythm and music series. The version for newer consoles includes some deeper content, and the Switch version in particular sports a few exclusive modes and features that take advantage of the dual Joy-Con controllers. While the game encourages players to get active with full body movement, players can skirt by using only minor motions in the hands and arms. Parents should also be aware that, despite having a decent amount of content packed in, Just Dance 2018 pushes hard for players to purchase additional downloadable content, with a specific focus on a monthly subscription service for the game.
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What's it about?
JUST DANCE 2018 is the latest entry in Ubisoft's hit rhythm and music series. Players can get up off the couch and hit the virtual dance floor, matching the movements of professionally choreographed dance routines set to a wide range of musical hits, both past and present. By downloading the Just Dance app, players can use their iOS or Android smartphone as a controller and dance their heart out to more than 40 music tracks, and even more routines are available through the Just Dance Unlimited monthly subscription service. Younger fans can learn to groove with the game's new Kids mode, with easier routines and packed with positive reinforcement. Switch owners can take the game a step further, using the Joy-Con controllers to move to the beat while taking on two handed challenges in the exclusive Double Rumble mode.
Is it any good?
They say you should "dance like no one's watching" -- well, now you've got the perfect excuse to do just that, as it's time once again to get off the couch and get your virtual groove on. Admittedly, Just Dance 2018 isn't exactly groundbreaking, following the familiar formula of the past few games in the series, right down to the decision to get players to download the companion app on their smartphone to use as a motion controller. Just like with previous games, those motion controls aren't exactly anywhere close to precise. In fact, you can easily just sit on the couch and wave your phone around, and still break out high score after high score. Then again, more adventurous types willing to put in the actual and intended effort might wind up with lower scores, but will have a blast making a fool of themselves ... especially in a party atmosphere with friends willing to have fun looking just as goofy.
While Just Dance 2018 did play it safe this year, not straying too far from what fans expect, it did manage to toss in a few interesting new twists. One, meant to draw in a new generation of virtual dancers, is a Kids mode. This mode has a kid-specific playlist of performances, easier difficulty, and LOTS of positive reinforcement, perfect for young and inexperienced newcomers ... and even the occasional self-conscious adult. Switch owners also get an added bonus with the new Double Rumble mode, which gives players specific rhythm challenges that require the simultaneous use of two Joy-Con controllers (one in each hand), as well as the system's unique HD Rumble feature. Neither of these additions reinvents the wheel, but they still add a bit of variety to the gameplay. Unfortunately, there's still a huge push to get players to sign up for Ubisoft's Just Dance Unlimited subscription service. While the game does include more than 40 tracks baked in, it never misses an opportunity to remind you of the 300+ library of tunes waiting for you, if you're willing to shell out a little extra money either monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Still, there's enough content in the main package to get friends together, move to the beat, and start up a mini-rave party on a whim.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about using games for exercise. How do games like the Just Dance series help to get kids off the couch and physically active? What are some other games that can help kids to stay active?
Talk about music and music appreciation. How can music affect our moods and our behaviors? Also, how much work and training goes into the choreography of musical performances?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: October 24, 2017
- Genre: Music and Dance
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Lyrics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.