Let me preface this review with the fact that I am NOT a gamer. I married to a gamer who has just about every system I can name. However, his deep love of electronics and gaming is not what keeps us together; it is mostly the children. I am helpless with any controller that has more the 2 buttons which is why I am only allowed to play games involving the Kinect. I have truly enjoyed dancing games in the past, leading to my being recruited to review some new Kinect dance titles recently. This brings me to the latest dance release: Just Dance 4.
Previous to this release I have only played Just Dance on the Nintendo Wii. I enjoyed the game on the Wii and was excited to try it out without the fear of excitedly throwing a controller through the TV during my dance sessions. Sadly, this game has the worst interface for the Kinect I have ever experienced. I could barely get the machine to get past the menu screen. It had difficultly reading me and when it did there was no clear instruction on how to get the menu to work so I was flailing my arms around like a fool trying to get the game to turn on and then get the songs to load. As you can imagine, this was terribly frustrating for me but extremely entertaining for my audience.
The menu, in addition to being extremely irritating to operate, offers you the option to practice or jump right in to the songs. The song options were varied and included many fun and popular songs; this is possibly the best feature of the game. When you get the game going and begin dancing the moves can be tricky to follow because you are only seeing the outline but it is pretty simple dancing; however, since the design of the game prevents it from reading people properly the score may not accurately reflect one’s dance prowess. I played with both another adult and my kids and both parties found the awkward controls very challenging.
There is an option to practice the moves but it is not required so those of us who are more action oriented simply skipped that part, which is probably why we needed to do each song twice to get it right. In addition to the fun song choices, the graphics are fun and colorful. And Just Dance 4 includes the lyrics on screen as you dance – this is fun for non-dancing guests who can join the fun through karaoke.
While I love to dance around like a fool in my living room; I cannot in good faith recommend Just Dance 4 on the Xbox 360. While the song options are great and the graphics are fun, the inability to get past the main menu because of difficult controls (on a system designed to be idiot proof) make this game very hard to play. If you are looking for a party game to share with friends for a fun night in, try another dance title – on the other hand if you can master the controls and get started you may have a good time.