Just Dance 2024

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Just Dance 2024 (Nintendo Switch) – Review

Ubisoft’s done it again, bringing back the party in Just Dance 2024 Edition. I’ve returned to the dance floor, otherwise known as my living room, playing this year’s expansion to the catalogue on the Nintendo Switch. The rhythm-based title brings a whopping 40 new songs, various game modes, and the next chapter of the Danceverses saga. All songs can be played solo, in local multiplayer, or online co-op, perfect for some gaming time that gets you moving and out of your seat.

Just Dance is more than a game about bustin’ a move, it shows a vast range of “worlds” and an imaginative take on choreography. The best way to jump into Ubisoft’s dance nation is through the Dance with the Swan playlist, which acts as the next instalment of Enter the Danceverses, the 2023 revamp story. Here we reunite with the coaches known as the “Just Dancers,” once again including Wanderlust and Sara in their dance battle against the nefarious Night Swan. It’s a great gateway to get back into the swing of the game with routines including “Canned Heat” and the Just Dance remix of “Tainted Love” with a variety of genres and choreography styles.

The campaign’s coaches have their own dance styles, including contemporary, some hip-hop and modern dance. Each routine has a different vibe to it which makes it the perfect introduction to what’s to come. The story has you swap between characters, sometimes in the same song, so there’s a dynamic shift in energy and you have to be quick on your feet to keep up.

The story itself serves as more of a teaser, clocking in at just over 25 minutes, or 7 songs long, and it’s a decent time for a session. The epic build-up throughout those songs to the finale left me wanting another playlist to see what happens next, though that most likely won’t be released until the 2025 edition.

The 40 new songs in the library include classics such as Whitney Houston and Britney Spears, dance hits by the likes of Flume, heavy hitters like Fall Out Boy, and worldwide artists, including K-Pop royalty, Blackpink. There’s a huge variety of genres to explore representing various dance styles, cultures, and tastes, including a few more obscure tracks – it’s an eclectic and effective mix. There’s one thing to be sure of, there’s something for everyone and they’re all presented gloriously in excellent performances.

Choreography is next level, thanks to the continued use of brilliant choreographers and ridiculously talented dancers to shoot mocap for the routines. They’ve stepped up their game again with great characters, costume design and themes. Stages all feel unique, some will have you dancing as an alien, other times as a pirate, or even straight-up popstars. With colourful and dynamic 3D backgrounds, flawless transitions, and a plethora of art styles and settings, everything stays fun and fresh. It’s easy to get into the flow when the dancers and the stage set the tone, and Ubisoft does an amazing job at helping its players feel the vibe. The worst part is how hard it is to focus when everything looks so good, it’s so immersive.

Routines range from relatively simplistic and easy to pick up to high-energy and elaborate with many modes and playlists. There are also extreme versions of some songs for the die-hard players. It comes with plenty of challenges, heart rates will soar, and arms will hurt, but it’s all worth it for the amount of fun I had. It will make you work for it though. It’s very upper-body movement heavy and it does not take long to feel the burn, but hey, it’s satisfying to know the dancing is paying off. If you really want to pump it, Just Dance 2024 brings in Workout Mode, to track calories burned and time spent dancing, proving dance is excellent for the body, mind, and heart. It’s great when you’re stuck inside and want to be entertained while getting a good exercise session in.

There are plenty of accessibility options for players, including jump-free options, floorwork-free, seated, and leg-friendly. There’s additionally an option for smaller spaces, perfect for those of us who live in apartments.

Just Dance requires a decent amount of set-up. I had to make sure I had a safe surface to move on – a timber floor with socks is a dangerous move, and I definitely prefer playing on a rug or carpet. I made sure to have plenty of floor space, take ample breaks, and drink plenty of water between songs. Trust me, you do not want to knock your elbow on a table or stub your toe on a coffee table. Rearranging my lounge room was a big ask to play a game, but if you’re planning to go all out on the moves, which are way more than a simple step-touch, you’ll need it.

Scoring is pretty lenient if you know the song well, and as long as you move in time with the beat, you stand a pretty good chance of doing well. For instance, I am not overly familiar with Billy Elish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” and its strange lack of a beat-to-hit compared to the well-known beat-heavy hits, making a huge difference to my end scores. There’s a whole new series of achievements to unlock alongside new dance avatars, emotes, and personalisation options. Earning stars feels immensely satisfying, and comparing your performances against your past scores and the scores of others is a nice touch to see your standings.

It wouldn’t be a party without being able to dance with others, while there’s the option to go solo, you can also play online or local with up to 6 players in the same room. It’s hard, in my experience, to play in the same area without whacking someone in the face or stepping on each other, so I would definitely recommend online play or going one-on-one.

The online matchmaking always has a decent player base since Just Dancer’s from both the 2023 and 2024 versions can play together. The only downside to playing online is that you need a paid Nintendo Switch online account, and your friends will need the equivalent online subscription for their console of choice, and that is my biggest upset with the series – the additional costs.

From Just Dance 2023 onwards, the series has become download-only, but it still has a full-price tag on it, and there are no more yearly titles after Just Dance 2023, so this game acts as an expansion.

For those who already have the 2023 version, this can be downloaded straight into the base game. The recently introduced ‘games as a service’ model that the series has adopted includes seasonal content and events, but it also comes with additional costs if you want access to the whole library.

There were no massive changes to the UI or general visuals from the last game, but it more functions like a streaming service, making it easy to navigate, searches can be sorted by genre, intensity, and mood, and playlists can be curated by most danced or based around certain themes, but if you want access to the extensive back catalogue, you’ll need Just Dance+. I’m lucky enough to have the Just Dance 2024 Ultimate Edition, giving me 13 months access to over 300 songs from the series which began all the way back in 2009, whereas the standard edition comes with a 30-day trial. It would be nice to have ongoing access to older tracks and pay for the new songs only, but thankfully, the regular updates will see the addition of extra songs, events, and cosmetics.

Most of the time, my dance performances weren’t interrupted by game performance issues. It ran well on the Nintendo Switch with very few stutters. Given the vivid effects and amount going on in each stage, I was surprised at the minimal frame drops. Connectivity remained stable and load times were fast, and the game can be played using Joy-Cons or by using the Just Dance phone app which is easy to pair. Both were responsive to motion. The scariest part is playing without a wrist strap – while you fling your arms about, make sure you don’t fling the controller with them. Overall it’s a great way to break the ice, get in some exercise and have a great time.

Just Dance 2024 adds another lineup of catchy and cool tracks to the Just Dance Collection, and it’s a great game for encouraging movement, fun and socialisation. As always, the 2024 edition is a great accompaniment at parties and to get you moving.

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The Good

  • Variety of songs of different genres and eras
  • Diverse, imaginative dance settings and choreography
  • Great additions to tracklist and more songs available through Just Dance+
  • Introduction of Workout Mode

The Bad

  • Choreography can be intense and difficult to learn
  • Limited low-intensity routines
  • Games as service model restricts access to catalogue

Written by: Yasmin Noble


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