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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Just Dance 2021 is a rhythm-based music and dance game available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Stadia gaming platforms. This is the latest chapter in the Just Dance franchise. Players use motion controls and a mobile app to mimic onscreen choreography in time with any of the game's 40 included pop songs. The game includes options for solo performances or group play for up to six people, as well as casual fun or exercise routines. Although there can be some issues with connecting the mobile app to the game, the controls are generally easy to pick up and play for gamers of all ages and skill levels. Some included songs' lyrics do contain mild profanity and suggestive lyrics. The game also regularly promotes the purchase of an additional Just Dance Unlimited pass, adding a wide range of new songs and dance routines for an additional cost.
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What's it about?
Celebrating ten years of the Just Dance series bringing people together, JUST DANCE 2021 keeps the dance party going strong and into a whole new decade of fun. It's time to get up off the couch and move to the beat of 40 brand new chart-topping tracks such as "Rain On Me" by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, "Adore You" by Harry Styles, "Ice Cream" by BLACKPINK x Selena Gomez, and more. You can take the spotlight for yourself in solo play or share the stage in co-op play for up to six players. You can also bring the kids along with the return of Just Dance's Kid Mode, with special routines and songs designed for younger players. Players can burn off some calories and get some cardio in with the game's exercise themed Sweat Mode, and finally, go on a global tour with others in the Just Dance community by joining the online World Dance Floor. It's your dance party, done the way you want. The only thing left to do is get up, find your groove, and just dance.
Is it any good?
They say music makes the world go round, and this series has helped fuel that movement for more than ten years. For Just Dance 2021, the series makes its "next-gen" debut alongside the current generation consoles. But rather than huge strides or revolutionary changes, the game sticks close to its formula with little refinements here and there. The World Dance Floor, for example, feels smoother when challenging other players to an online dance off. There's also a new quickplay feature that lets players choose a mode and jump right in the action with a randomized playlist. This is particularly fun when playing with groups, as everyone waits to see which track is next, usually to a room full of groans or cheers. Sweat Mode feels the same as before, giving players a running tally of estimated caloric burn and time spent dancing. It makes for a great little extra workout routine and, when done correctly, definitely leaves players "feeling the burn."
One big focus this year is integration with the Just Dance mobile app, available for Android and iOS based devices. The next-gen versions of the game don't feature camera support, leaving the app as the only available way to register movement. After syncing up with the game, players can use the phone to scroll through menus, choose songs, etc. Then, once the dancing is ready to start, players simply hold the device in their right hand and let it do its motion sensing work. The problem here is more an issue with the differences between devices more than anything. Some phones might be larger and less comfortable to hold while swinging around to the music. Others might have less responsive hardware that can occasionally throw off accuracy. Finally, connection issues can creep up if the phone enters sleep mode or a player accidentally touches the screen and interrupts play. But more often than not, things work great and, before long, you're tearing up the dance floor with friends and family in a fun, active, groovy sort of way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about using games as exercise. How can games like Just Dance 2021 be used to help keep kids physically active, and how can it encourage kids to be more active outside of gaming as well?
How can games help kids to develop an appreciation for musical subjects, such as composition, rhythm, choreography, etc.? How can music help to influence kids' behaviors and attitudes?
- Platforms: Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Subjects: Arts: choreography, dance, music, rhythm
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: November 12, 2020
- Genre: Music & Dance
- Topics: Friendship, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Lyrics
- Last updated: September 21, 2021
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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.