There's something I've always enjoyed about the Just Dance series: the varied track list, combined with the eccentric dances, exotic visuals, and extras make a game that's perfect as a party game, or when you just want to tear up the dance floor by your lonesome. The latest title is no exception, adding a wide range of songs to play through and a couple new tweaks that may interest people who have played the previous games in the series - just don't expect a full sequel here.
There's obviously no way to account for everyone's tastes, but Just Dance 4 definitely tries. From super-campy titles like Never Gonna Give You Up and Rock Lobster, to songs with a strong beat like Mr Saxobeat and Final Countdown, to actual chart toppers such as Umbrella, Wild Wild West, and Super Bass. There's certainly something here for everyone, with some songs allowing you to dance a duet, or even an entire four-man troupe. The moves are as varied as the song list, and you'll see yourself rolling across the floor, dancing the samba with a partner, or pumping your arms to the beat.
One element of the gameplay is how it doesn't really react to your ability. Whether or not you make the moves or not, the song continues - which is good, since the game isn't exactly great at picking up your movements. I'm never sure what it's recording, as there are times when I've simply flailed my arms around and I've gotten a Perfect rating. So, if accuracy and score is your thing, this probably won't appeal to you.
There's also a really big problem in one crucial part of the game: the interface. Trying to get from one song to the next can be an exercise in frustration - simply trying to point at one song or the next can take multiple tries, and it's too easy to click on something you weren't supposed to. It's probably the most frustrating UI I've used, and at one point, getting someone to join the game and pick their own song took a good ten minutes before I had to move them aside and find one for them, as they simply could not grasp the menu.
There's more to the game than just the standard song list - there are alternate routines that you can unlock for certain songs, some that make them harder, or some that involve the use of props (such as throwing in the use of an umbrella for, what else, Umbrella). The only problem here is that there just aren't enough of them. Each song also comes with an assortment of Dance Quests, objectives to meet that earn you extra mojo, which unlocks more content.
There's also an improved battle mode in which you an another player 'battle' over a mash-up of two songs, to see whose song is better. Complete with health bars and posturing avatars that dance moves around each other, it's pretty fun to watch and take part in. And, if it's your thing, there's always the fitness mode - Just Sweat - allowing you to burn calories and exercise to music. Last but not least, the addition of 'Just Dance TV', which basically records a bunch of clips of you looking goofy as all hell and allows you to upload your footage online.
Just Dance 4 isn't really a big change in the series, but there are certainly improvements to the formula. The song list is entertaining, and for people who have enjoyed Just Dance in the past, there's more here for them. I mean, there aren't exactly a lot of games that allow you and three friends to dance The Time Warp, and that's just an opportunity that's hard to pass up.