Put on your sweatpants and clear out the living room, because Just Dance 2021 is here and it’s time to get groovy! The arrival of a new Just Dance game is always an event to look forward to in our household as we always take the time to explore the game together. Even my youngest can’t sit still when the beat drops.
My daughter Fé is probably the biggest fan though. She’ll be joining me for this review and weighing in with her opinions, giving a unique child’s eye perspective on things.
If you’re not yet familiar with the series, Just Dance is a game where you mirror the dance-moves of the on-screen character(s) and you try to get as high a score as possible. It usually offers a mix of popular and lesser-known songs to shake your extremities to.
Sadly, the overall tracklist for this year was somewhat disappointing. There’s maybe a handful of songs that I was really into. I’m fully aware that this is a subjective take and will differ from person to person, but there is a noticeable lack of songs you’ll hear on the radio from day to day. Even the international superstars are in the line-up with their lesser-received tracks.
Seeing as this is very much up to your individual tastes, I suggest you look at the tracklist and make up you own mind about this aspect.
Fé: I don’t agree at all, daddy. There’s the Monkey song we learned at school (Tones and I – Dance Monkey), there are songs with really funny characters like the two cool dogs that make you move real fast (DJ Fresh – Dibby Dibby Sound) and they even included a new song by K3 (K3 – Dans van de Farao). I always get five blue stars and my score is better than yours. Perhaps that’s why you don’t like it?
Well, I never said I didn’t like it. I’m just missing a few songs that I really vibe with myself in this lineup and…
I’m sorry. Seems like a Just Dance Unlimited advertisement snuck into the review, I promise it won’t happen ag…
Yeah, that’s not a very pleasant experience is it? The thing is, the game does this as well. In a game you pay for, you’re getting advertisements in image and video form to subscribe to their subscription. It’s pretty annoying and with the “get it now” option highlighted by default whenever an ad plays, I sometimes had to take the joy-con away from Fé, lest she pays for it.
Fé: But didn’t you say we get one month free with the game?
Yeah, that’s true and when you’ve tried it, it’s hard to go back to your limited number of songs that come with the game. That’s why we’re going to first enjoy the included list to the fullest and activate it afterwards. I still need to get a good score on my favourite songs after all!
If you’re mostly going to play songs from the Unlimited offer, then you’re probably better off picking up a previous version of the game at a discount, it will work just as well. You can easily find Just Dance 2020 at half the price of this one and it even has a 10-year anniversary campaign to play through, which is sadly missing from this edition.
Fé: But I really, really, really like the kids songs! They all have such a fun story to tell. There’s one where you have to clean up the planet by putting garbage into a bin or the one where we play as the firemen and have to pump water to put out fires.
She does have a point, the songs for kids do have a better appeal to them than the lists we’ve seen before. This really goes to show what an accessible title it is for gamers of all ages. They don’t have to press any buttons and just mirror the movements of the on-screen characters. Monkey see/Monkey do is the oldest form of learning after all.
Fé: stop calling me a monkey!
I would if you’d stop jumping up and down on the couch. Either way… I digress. Let’s get back to the review and bring up the weird part where we’re playing an offline game, but it feels like the game is streaming video from the internet, with often blurry visuals at the start of a song. It’s like it’s still buffering the HD version, at least on the Switch. This issue has been around as long as I can remember and I have no clue why this hasn’t been addressed yet.
Something else that I’ve always found weird, is their inability to properly censor some of the curse words. In Eminem’s Without Me they bleeped out [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], with a DJ scratch effect, but in other songs they even remove words like “Damn” by just muting the entire track, not just the vocals.
Fé: They don’t need to remove those words for me. I hear enough of them from you and mommy and the other games you play. I’m always the cool kid at school when I teach the other kids new words.
Hahaha, let’s not dive too deep into that topic, I already know some of their parents are reading this… Let’s wrap up!
Just Dance 2021 is great way to introduce some physical activity in your gaming lineup and it’s so easy to pick up that even your youngest family members can join in on the fun. It’s just a bit of a shame that the tracklist is slightly disappointing, that’s why I’m scoring this one a bit lower than the 2020 version.
Fé: Don’t you dare! It’s not because you’re not up to date on what everyone else likes to dance to that you should give it a lower score!
Well yeah, but there’s also the lack of a single-player campaign, which is I really liked in Just Dance 2020.
Fé: I think most people just want to dance in front of their TV and you’re taking this way too serious.
So we’re at a bit of a stand-off, I was going to rate this a 7.5 out of ten, what would you give it?
Fé: Just give it a 10/10. It’s fun and I want you to stop writing and start dancing again. Get back on the dance floor!
Ok, guess we’re rounding it back up to an 8. Don’t tell her, she can’t read yet!
Just Dance 2021 is a fun game to play with the entire family. It’s one of the most accessible titels imaginable and you’re sure to have a blast, but the included songs will soon outstay their welcome and you’ll kind of be forced to check out the Just Dance Unlimited subscription.
Disclaimer: Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by Ubisoft
Just Dance 2021$49.99
- The characters and backgrounds are as excellent as ever
- Accessible to even the youngest gamers
- A lot of collectables to unlock: Characters, stickers, backgrounds
- Not the best line-up
- Sometimes blurry at the start of a song
- Just Dance Unlimited advertisements