There’s certainly no shortage of video games designed to make you look like a complete idiot. Dance Dance Revolution sees you hop in place to Willow Smith songs. The online multiplayer in games like Call of Duty may cause you to scream into a headset in your basement, arguing with a 10-year-old in Kansas over who’s the bigger noob. But no video-game experience is more shaming than the wickedly choreographed Just Dance series. Of course, if you don’t mind losing all dignity in the name of motion-sensing gameplay, the series’s latest entry, Just Dance 3, actually delivers the fun factor in spades.
Following the formula of its predecessors, Just Dance 3 is a rhythm game that forces hapless players to mimic wildly uninhibited neon-pulsating dancers on the screen to a collection of surprisingly diverse songs. The dance moves are also scrolled along the bottom of the screen, and you have to do your best to match the movements. The motion-sensing Wii remote will tell if you’re swingin’ those hips with proper timing or not. That’s pretty much it. It’s a concept that deserves kudos for its easy-to-pick-up simplicity (heck, you don’t even need to push any buttons, other than to navigate menus), and it’s why we’ll be seeing more installments of this multi-platform franchise.
Besides the inherently different gameplay, the wide song selection is what separates this title from similar rhythm games. For example, in the recent Dance Dance Revolution II for the Wii, half the songs were hallmark J-pop, while the other half served up sugary helpings of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and the like. In Just Dance 3, you do have the obligatory pop pegs, like Cee-Lo’s “Forget You,” but you’ll also get stuff like Daft Punk’s “Da Funk,” Mika’s “Lollipop,” Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances,” even Danny Elfman’s “This Is Halloween,” from The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. Another plus is that the game is eye candy. Slick, minimalistic menus with bright, vibrant colors and simple design make the game one that’s indeed appealing to sight and sound. That being said, prepare to look and feel like a buffoon. Like its predecessors, Just Dance 3 demands wind-milling, lunging, hip-thrusting, air-swatting, sashaying, and general gyrating to guarantee success. You’ve been warned.
In addition to solo numbers, you can dance in duos and quartets. This can be fun, but with all dances, especially if you’re dancing a one-player duo or quartet by yourself with the computer, take a bit of a learning curve. It may take a couple run-throughs on a particular song in order to get the choreography down pat. Playing with other humans can be a blast, especially in Hold My Hand mode, in which you’re playing with a partner, hands locked together, dancing as one. Is it a metaphor for love? Sticking together even in the most humiliating of tribulations? Perhaps. But in this mode, a grand total of eight players (four couples holding hands and sharing a remote) can get in on the action.
Throw in dance mash-ups that combine routines from previous Just Dance games, customizable playlists, and unlockable songs (with at least four available for download for 250 Wii Points each), and you’re guaranteed hours of dancing like a sassy, spastic turkey. On a treadmill. While being electrocuted. With an itch that can’t quite be reached.