Just Dance 2023 | Review

The long-running Just Dance series gets a substantial overhaul that delivers a smoother, better-looking and more accessible experience that you can easily share with your friends.

Starting with the initial small download size, everything has been designed so this new online live service can get you up and dancing as quickly as possible.

A fresh new look to the menus, coaches, and the in-game dance experience has made everything much more engaging. Coaches now look more life-like which makes it much easier to follow the dance moves.

Personalised recommendations and playlists ensure you can always find your current, or next, favourite track to dance to.

The supporting Just Dance Controller App does, on one hand, remove one barrier to entry, but at the same time puts another, more difficult-to-surmount, barrier in its place.

The continued reliance on an App, on your Mobile phone, to track the dance moves comes with one major flaw. You need to own a mobile phone. I know in this day and age it seems crazy to think there are people without a smartphone, but a lot of the younger audience that likes to play Just Dance is not at the phone-owning age yet.

Not using the camera to track the moves, or the console controller (we played on PS5) means that the sweaty-handed 6-year-old dancing her socks off in front of the TV screen needs to hold your expensive mobile in her right hand. If you are not home to supply the phone, then the game has no way to track the dance moves and becomes unplayable.

If you have a second or third sibling wanting to join in the fun, unless your home owns 2 or 3 phones then they are out of luck.

On the other hand, if you have a group of adult friends (that do have their own phones) then it opens the game up very quickly. This year you can share the experience with a group of 5 friends or family members. Once they are part of the Host’s game, your friends can interact by dancing together on screen and adding emotes and encouragement to other players.

The second issue I found with the use of the mobile app. It is pretty bad and tracking the dance movements. It seems to pick up that you moved, not necessarily what move you made.

It doesn’t differentiate between you raising your arm, rolling your arms, or reaching to the ground. You don’t need to match the dance moves at all, just the timing.

You can, if you are so inclined, just sit down and flick your wrist at the right time to get a pretty high score.

Apart from the reliance on the Mobile App, everything else is great. The song list at launch is impressively varied. And it will consistently grow as songs and new game modes roll in throughout the year as part of the planned free content updates.

Just Dance + (the subscription streaming service) gives you access to 150 + songs from previous years with even more exclusive content being added. The first month is free if you want to give it a bash.

The accessibility options do include dancers that have different requirements. Those that need to stay seated, or would struggle to reach the ground from a standing position, for example, can select a variety of the dance routine.

Overall: Even though it has been a few years since I dipped into the Just Dance series I was surprised at how much had changed. Every aspect of the game looks, plays and feels better.

The selection of songs at launch is much more varied than expected. Ranging from Harry Styles and BTS to Linkin Park.

A list of accessibility options means Just Dance 2023 is far more inclusive, up to a point.

The move away from using a camera/controller, to using a mobile app, has on one hand reduced the need for unnecessary accessories. But at the same time, the requirement to own a mobile phone has put up a pretty expensive barrier to entry. Homes are far more likely to have 2-3 controllers than 2-3 mobile phones.

For a very enjoyable and fun game, that has clearly gone out of its way to be more thoughtful and inclusive. It is a disappointment that the app is a “requirement to play” and not an alternative.

Fingers crossed a future update adds controller support because everything else is a blast.

Please Join us on your Social Platform of choice