Just Dance 3 good for dance and good for laughs
Just dance and you’ll just laugh, especially if you get the whole family to just play the latest in the Ubisoft’s Just Dance video game series, Just Dance 3.
Although I’ve never played the previous versions of the game, I’ve observed entire gymnasiums of adolescent girls at parties and carnivals synchronically following the steps and beat of these dance games, like they were the zombies in the “Thriller” music video. Assuming dance games were more for girls, I certainly didn’t think my 10-year-old boy would entertain the thought of playing a dance video game. I was wrong.
We tried out the Wii version, but getting your groove on is possible on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 with Kinect. Actually the Kinect has a mode that allows players to create their own dance routines, reversing the role of player and choreographer in the other limited platforms. Playing on the Wii allows up to four players to mirror the dance moves of bright neon silhouetted dancers on the screen. Motion is detected when players hold the Wiimote in one hand and mimic the dancers’ movements.
Positioned side by side and with Wiimote straps securely wrapped around our wrists, my son and I prepared to boogie down as only mom and son can. From the expansive list of 50-plus tunes, including some from my growing up years — The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited” or Groove Century’s “Boogie Wonderland” — my little man selected Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” This dance game covers many genres. The youngsters can shake their groove thang to Taio Cruz’ “Dynamite” and the older crowd can bump to the beat of Queen’s, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
By the time Perry was singing the first chorus “Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top …,” I was moving as fast as I could. Hips, hands, feet, head — it was all swiveling, shaking and shimmying, but still my dance meter was frequently flashing the red “X” on me indicating I had no groove, while my kid was achieving “goods” and “perfects.” I moved faster, made my movements bigger and more exaggerated. That did it. I began to score “perfects,” but was unable to beat him. At what I thought was the end of Perry, Snoop Dogg sings an add-on, extending the dance/workout and wearing me out.
Word to the wise. Learning the exact foot movements, head twists and hip swings is not critical to winning the dance contest in this motion game. The winner is the one with the most exaggerated arm movements. Those playing on Kinect may experience motion detection more accurately but with the Wii, it’s all in the hands.
Because I had given my all to the Perry pop hit, I let my little man dance solo to the rhythmic repetition of The Chemical Brothers’ “Hey Girl, Hey Boy,” which is still ringing in my head at this writing. And when my husband came home minutes later, we coaxed him into dancing “Hey Girl, Hey Boy,” while we sat back and laughed at the intense concentration and spastically charming movements of a man trained in ballroom dancing. At one point my son screamed, “Daddy, why do you have your mouth open?”For around $35, you too can dance, or laugh at those who dance, with this game just out mid-October and rated E10 for those 10 and over, primarily because of the song lyrics.
Several of the songs feature group dancing, allowing four to bop at a time. We danced to Kiss singing, “I Was Made for Loving You.”
There is also “hold-my hand” mode that allows up to eight players to share a Wiimote and play together, as well as a Just Sweat selection, which is a work out, as if the dance mode isn’t.
Can’t say the graphics are all that enticing. It’s a bit bright and pulsating, perfect for the teen scene.
For smaller dancers, Ubisoft also has Just Dance Kids with 51 songs featuring kid-friendly lyrics. Kids get “Love Me” by Justin Bieber but also the “Hokey Pokey” and the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” In a Candyland like wonderland, real kids, not neon people, lead the choreography.
Just Dance 3 could be a big hit this holiday season among the 10-14 crowd. And for those us who live with them, it’s not too shabby a home workout, either.