High School Musical Dance
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Just Dance 2 Wii makes it look easy. But a dance game this well executed is no fluke - detailed understanding of the audience and perfect technical execution make this a stand out experience on the Nintendo Wii.
Just Dance 2 proves the huge success of the first game was no fluke. Like before, it brings an intelligent balance of simple visuals and clear dance moves. But now, with a little more backing the song list is even better and includes an online store.
This is all great for hard core dance game players, but even better of families. By having sensibly shaped dancers, rather than the slender artists themselves perform the songs, the focus is firmly on rhythm and movement than sexuality.
Add to this the original backgrounds, rather than the music videos used by other games, as well as sanitised edits and Just Dance 2 is ideal for kids. This also avoids heading into Disney's saccharine approach that worked well in High School Musical Dance but excluded all but the youngest players.
This is all well and good but how would it go down in an actual family setting? My family is more than a little fatigued at trying out the latest Wii games. But Just Dance 2 surprised us all. My wife rarely plays games with us but literally couldn't be kept away from the Wii while we were playing.
As well as the easy to play mechanics, where you simply mirror the on screen dancer, the songs seem to have been handpicked just for us. Wham, Ting Tings and James Brown were all great choices.
Sensibly shaped dancers, rather than the slender artists themselves perform the songs.
Although I like to think it's not true, we have a running joke about my lack of rhythm. Just Dance 2 seemed to validate this as those who were better dancers in the family led the way each song. While I felt a little huffy and consistently coming last, it was good to see that good dancing is genuinely rewarded here.
Points are won for each move perfectly mirrored with the Wii-mote in your right hand. There are then extra points awarded at the end for streaks and special moves.
You can play four players simultaneously or eight in teams of two. There are also some cute modes that throw in special move directions for different players - stop, spin, clap and the like. This is rounded off by a first past the post Race mode, and fitness focused Sweat mode and a novel Duet mode where players each have different (related) moves to execute.
It would have been nice to have some sort of handicap option to level-out the family playing field (ed: to help dad catch up). I would also have liked some difficulty levels and a left handed option. But these issues are really grasping at critical straws.
In an instant this has become a favourite family dance game on the Wii.
I'd heard a lot about Just Dance's surprise success with the first game. Playing the follow up seems to be no mystery why the game did so well.
In an instant this has become a favourite family dance game on the Wii because it genuinely works for the whole family. It sets a high bar for the likes of Dance Central on 360's Kinect and Sing Star Dance on PS3's Move - and one players can enjoy for much less money.
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