On the heels of the Dancing with the Stars craze, as well as the continued trend of workout games like Wii Fit, it should be expected that a dancing game like last year’s Just Dance would spawn a sequel. While the first one (which sold very well) met absolutely deflating reception, the second one’s a big improvement, and is pretty fun to play—that is, if you’re really, really self-assured. Or really wasted.
You see, unlike other games of this type, like the wildly popular Dance Dance Revolution series, in which you simply hopped up and down to a song’s beat, Just Dance 2 requires you to actually dance. Well, what they call “dancing,” anyway. In all honesty, you’ll probably look like airport ground crew, trying to direct a plane while having a seizure on a moving treadmill. Some of the choreography is ridiculous, as are some of the graphics—specifically a few of the on-screen dancing avatars, whose moves you must mirror. (The Wii remote detects your motions. The more in sync your writhing is, the more points you’ll get.) For example, if you select Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” you must shadow a doughy, mullet-sporting display of foppish androgyny in hot pants, who flails about as if Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is playing Whack-a-Mole.
But that’s precisely what makes it fun. The characters and their moves you mimic might make you feel like a complete idiot (and you might require libations of some kind to ameliorate the humiliation in front of your friends), but isn’t that what dancing is? Looking like a fool and stepping outside your comfort zone? Granted, some of the exaggerated moves in Just Dance 2 might invoke images of a frenetic, coked-out, Justin Bieber backup dancer, but that’s what makes it pretty enjoyable.
Improvements over the original installment include a wider song list, which offers 45 songs from artists like Ke$ha, Vampire Weekend, Ike & Tina Turner, the Pussycat Dolls, the Rolling Stones, Jamiroquai, and more. There’s even a Bollywood number and Charleston routine thrown in. Gameplay is pretty much idiot-proof, as you can dive right in with no instruction and start boogeying. There are even songs specifically designed to dance with a partner. Or if you like going solo, there’s the Just Sweat mode, which counts the calories you burn as you perform dances in succession.
Uncomplicated yet over-the-top, Just Dance 2 may very well leave hardcore gamers a little disgruntled, who might prefer their video games multilayered odysseys of complex play that demand attention for weeks on end. But if you’re simply looking to gyrate your self-respect away with a solidly fun, musical party game, Just Dance 2 awaits your purchase.