I had fun with the original Just Dance game for the Wii, but I always found myself thinking it could be better. User reviews and responses all had the same suggestions. “If only you could save your profiles.” “If only you could have interactive partner dances.” “If only you could add more songs to the ones that came with the game.” Just Dance 2 accomplishes all of these tasks and so much more that you will be left breathless-literally.
Graphics. The graphics in Just Dance 2 take the game from the watered-down neon Manga look to a brighter, more rounded atmosphere that consistently frames every song’s theme. It seems like every element was made with greater detail with minimal gameplay obstruction. Instead of the rising bar that overflows when you break 10,000 points, you get a button that flashes your move status from “x” to “perfect!” The backgrounds completely illustrate the songs with an added oomph and attention to detail! Dagomba by Sorcerer features an erupting volcano with silhouetted birds flying around your dancer’s head. During Monster Mash, the monster’s shoulder brush move brings out rats that drop to the floor and scurry off. Just Dance 2 also brought back the scrolling lyrics, completing the view experience for those who aren’t quite ready to bust the moves.
Gameplay. Just like the original, none of the moves in Just Dance 2 are easy if you want to do more than wave the Wii-mote in the right direction. At least for me, that is. But none are so difficult that frustration overtakes the fun. The execution timing seems improved and there’s still about a second or two between seeing your upcoming moves and the execution point. If you’ve never played the original, I’d suggest starting off with Monster Mash or The Shoop Shoop Song. When you get brave, take a shot at the Tron-style Idealistic where your dance moves involve shooting boxes at 120 beats per minute.
Modes. By far the best improvement is Just Dance 2’s Duet Mode. There are boy-girl, girl-girl, and boy-boy songs that give everyone a chance to work out a routine together. And it’s not just two people dancing side by side. There are high-fives, alternating shimmies, and coordinated spin moves that are comical when done wrong and fist-pumping great when you get it right. My favorite was taking on Kriss Kross’ Jump song with my daughter.They even got the backwards pants and suspenders right on this one! I was having a good flashback to my high school dancing days and could recall some of the original video’s moves with ease. But about three minutes in, they threw in a shimmy/180 degree jump/jump back/shimmy move that left my calves burning and heart pounding with a minute to go.
Just Dance 2 also brings back the challenge modes and up to eight players for a team battle. There’s also a Just Sweat mode where you can set up a dance routine to do up to six songs in a row. It measures your calories burned in the form of “sweat” drops. You can go with one of the established profiles or create your own and save it to your Wii, fulfilling yet another item off the sequel wish list.
Another added bonus is the ability to add songs. That was the problem with the first Just Dance: whether you mastered each song or not, you were pretty much stuck with the track list. This sequel still spreads out the songs evenly by genre and difficulty, making it fun for everyone. Just Dance 2 lets you add more to the 44 tracks already in the game, meaning that Nintendo-and possibly third party developers- can extend the life of your game. There were already brand new tracks from Katy Perry available for purchase and the infamous Barbie Girl song, which was made into a Duet-mode track.
My only caveat to this game is that it still leans towards the female demographic. So far my only wish list item for the next version would be to balance out the sexes or add alternative male or female characters for selection on each track. Otherwise, Just Dance 2 goes leaps and bounds over its predecessor. That makes me wanna jump!