Ubisoft has been delivering Just Dance games every autumn since 2009, and this year is no exception. The hit rhythm franchise, which has also produced a number of spin-offs, is now ten years old and still going strong.
This latest incarnation features a new tracklist, the return of Co-op mode, and a brand-new All-Stars Mode, which will hit long term players right in the feels. Familiar, yet different enough to feel like a new game, Just Dance 2020 is a must-have for fans of the rhythm game franchise.
Controlling The Action
I played Just Dance 2020 on the Nintendo Switch, and the platform was a wise choice. Just as the game franchise has always worked well with the Wii thanks to its motion sensor controllers, it works even better with the Switch. The small size of the Joy-Cons makes it more comfortable to dance with them in your hand and the motion sensors are more reliable.
I also appreciated that the Switch version gives you the option to use the Just Dance app, the only controller choice for the PS4 and Xbox One. This means that if you wish to play multiplayer with more people than you have controllers, then you can simply install the app on almost any smartphone as an alternative. However, if you are nervous about waving your phone around, or don’t want to hand an expensive mobile device over to younger players, the Joy-Cons are an excellent and comfortable alternative, especially for small hands.
The mobile controller is much easier to use than you may expect, although I recommend using it with a good case you can grip well and a screen protector, just in case.
Dancing The Night Away
As always, the tracklist is packed full of chart hits. This year's offering includes hits by Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Panic! At the Disco, Dr. Creole, The Streets, and more. There are around 40 new songs in total and they vary in intensity.
If you're interested in a specific genre, intensity, or difficulty then the playlist option can help you choose the right tracklist to create a workout suited to your taste or ability. You can also create your own custom playlist.
For those who have children, Just Dance's Kids Mode has also made a return. However, making a strategic exit at certain points is advised (assuming they are old enough to be left by themselves) due to the presence of "Baby Shark" on the playlist.
The game was thoroughly tested by my children, whose ages range from 9 to 15, and they all enjoyed it and are still playing. Irritatingly, at least one of them is even better at it than I am.
A nice addition to this 10th-anniversary release is the new All-Stars Mode. This feature requires a decent online connection, but will allow you to visit ten Just Dance Planets which contain iconic tracks from the previous releases. If you dance through them all, you can unlock another new track.
For even more content, there is also a dance-on-demand streaming service that contains over 500 tracks. Your first month is free, and after that, you can purchase passes that allow one day, one month, three months, or a year's worth of access. Prices vary, but a day pass is $4 (or £2.50) while a year's access is $29.99 (or £19.99).
For those who want to keep variety in the game and play on a regular basis, maybe as part of a workout, the pass is a nice touch. As the game itself is reasonably priced, the pass and game together are still only the same price as many other Nintendo Switch new releases.
The Same, But Different
With franchises like Just Dance, it can be difficult to justify buying a new game. However, despite the concept being familiar, there are enough new things in Just Dance 2020 to keep it feeling fresh.
Obviously, the new tracks will always be a pull, but this version is more than just this. The return of favorites like Sweat mode, Co-op, and Kids mode, makes this feel like a definitive version of the game. Being able to play with up to six players using mobile devices also adds a great dimension for those who enjoy playing at parties, while the playlists allow you to easily jump in for a specified period of time.
If you use the game as a workout tool, the pass is worth the investment, allowing access to a huge amount of new song content. However, even without it, the playlist takes a decent amount of time to get through, especially if your internet connection can handle the All-Stars Mode.
Overall, this latest game is unlikely to disappoint fans of the rhythm genre and this series in particular. It has a good selection of songs, the control system is spot on (presumably since the team has spent years refining it), and there are some nice returns with great new features.
Literally, the only thing “wrong” with it is that since the franchise moved away from motion capture a few years back, you can now “cheat” by mostly only moving your arms. Still, you wouldn’t cheat now, would you?
A Switch review copy of Just Dance 2020 was provided to TheGamer for this review. Just Dance 2020 is now available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Wii, Xbox One, and soon, Google Stadia.