With Just Dance 2014 tipped to hit the consoles this year as well as a variety of other competing dance titles on the market that once rocked the living rooms of millions of fans, it can be easy to forget about some of the blasts from the past that simply stood head and shoulder above the rest. Truly magnificent dance games are after all quite a rarity since most of the titles you are likely to come across struggle to break beyond the average barrier in terms of the content they have to offer as well as the quality of the gameplay and the innovation that drives it. Ubisoft seem to have a knack for impressing gamers however, and Just Dance 4 was a targeted attack at the dance game fans out there looking for the next superior dance experience. Though it was released back in 2012, Just Dance 4 remains for many the peak of the dance game revolution, and though this revolution has long since declined, the game still has a number of features and factors that make it one of the best dance games you can possibly own.
The gameplay of Just Dance 4 at its core is based on the usual premise: dancing in your living room under the gaze of your console's input mechanism (be this the Kinect technolog or the Wii's motion-sensors and accompanying remote) whilst being scored on your performance's loyalty to the moves being shown on screen. In terms of mechanics, it's all be done before and it is the way that ever single dance game operates at its very core. The way that Just Dance 4 - as well as the rest of the games in this big dance series - conducts itself however is somewhat different to the slightly more serious and borderline instructional nature of the Dance Central series in that it carries itself with a lot more fun, a lot less attention to the nitty gritty of the choreography, and the generally more playful and outrageous nature of the presentation and dance routines.
The two modes may seem a little restrictive but this really is all you need to experience the fun that Just Dance 4 has to offer. Just Dance is the main mode of the game where much of the fun is to be had. This mode triggers a dance off which can be played with up to three other players and the idea is to follow the actions of the on-screen instructor in order to try and perform the dances as accurately as possible. The scoring system is where this game differentiates itself further from its Dance Central compadre in that it is much less strict and more likely to forgive mistakes at every turn. The emphasis here is more on fun and having a good time whilst throwing a few shapes as opposed to the one and only goal being to perform as accurately as possible in lieu of a more relaxed approach.
The game isn't without its reward system however, since good performances are rewarded with stars and the equivalent of experience points. This progression allows for the more serious gamers progression-requiring players to have a good time as well, giving them something to strive for whilst the fun-loving players that don't care as much about this kind of thing can also have a good time.
The choice of tracks in the game is one of its main strengths since you have a particularly varied mixture of songs to dance along to. The tracks range from modern-day hits from Maroon 5, Bieber, Rihanna, and Skrillex right back to old-school tracks from B-52s, Nelly Furtado, Elvis, and the Blues Brothers. The dance routines that can accompany these tracks are also quite outlandish and more outrageous than ever, adding to the game's entertainment value and steering it in a different direction from Dance Central.
The graphics of Just Dance 4 also stand out, with neon-coloured visuals and some pretty insane presentation all round. If you like to keep track of your dancing and the calories burned then Sweat Mode also acts as a sort of fitness accompaniment that allows you to dance to mashups of your favourite tracks much like you can in fitness-centric game Zumba Fitness Rush. Just Dance 4 is truly one of the greatest dance games ever released for the Xbox 360 and will likely only be superseded by Just Dance 2014 when it is released.