Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2021 is the latest installment of their popular Just Dance franchise. Since first coming out in 2009, this game will be the 12th iteration in the series. I first played Just Dance 2 in high school, jumping around my living room late at night to “Jai Ho!” “Firework” and “Rasputin.” Now, almost 10 years later, I’m jumping around my living room to the newest pop hits reminiscent of this year’s obsession with TikTok.
If you’ve never played Just Dance, the mechanics are pretty straight forward. Follow the onscreen dancers to the best of your ability. Each song has a preset dance to go along with it, and to help the player follow along, the on-screen dancer “mirrors” the player, with the controller-dominant hand in a different color. Depending on the song, dances can range from being easy to relatively difficult. Regardless, no matter what you choose, you’ll break a sweat one way or another. On-screen dancers are also accompanied by brightly colored graphics that play into the themes of each song. This creates a visually stimulating experience for the player.
Upon loading the game, I realized that it bore so much similarity to its predecessor, Just Dance 2020. They were near identical in terms of menu interfaces and graphics. The main addition to 2021 is the use of changing playlists. Depending on if you opted to pay a little extra for the game, those playlists were either incredibly helpful, or a mere tease at what could be.
One of the features from Just Dance 2020 that returns to 2021 is the Unlimited feature. For an extra $5 a month, players gain access to over 550 additional songs and dances from previous games. They’ll also gain access to new exclusive hits. While this allows players to experience past favorites, it creates a huge paywall to fully enjoy the game. With a mere 53 songs, players may want to look into Unlimited to keep their dance repertoire fresh and exciting.
Luckily, Just Dance 2021 allows players to try the Unlimited feature out for 30 days. After unlocking the other 550+ songs, I was able to play some of my personal favorite Just Dance hits. This included songs like TWICE’s “Fancy” from Just Dance 2020, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” from Just Dance 4, and O-Zone’s iconic “Dragostea Din Tea” from Just Dance 2017. There was even Just Dance 2015’s “Tetris” from Dancing Bros., which OG Ninendo fans would likely appreciate. I even had the chance to return to Katy Perry’s “Firework”, a song I learned in a high school campus leadership retreat in 2011. This was the first time I’ve done the dance since then, getting all five stars (nailed it).
Overall, Just Dance 2021 is a great way to stay moving while cooped up inside. You don’t have to be the greatest dancer to enjoy yourself, but diversifying your library may need a little extra money to access new songs. There isn’t a lot of visual change from previous games, you just get a few songs that are from the current times. If you’ve been a Just Dance player since the beginning or brand new to the franchise, 2021 will still make an excellent addition to your dance repertoire.
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