The first Just Dance Kids title arrives to Kinect and Xbox making its debut. I have heard of Just Dance Kids although I’ve never seen it nor had any intentions on getting it for my kids, so to me, this is new and it might be new to you as well. The synopsis states:
The all-ages dance party continues with Just Dance Kids 2! Kids can get movin’ and keep groovin’ with 40 all-new dance routines created for kids and led by kids. The soundtrack blends top hits with timeless classics, songs from favorite TV shows, and even nursery rhymes for li’l dancers. Tracks include “Whip My Hair,” “Gummy Bear,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” tunes from The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba, and more. Kids can make their own setlists, parents can create a timed non-stop shuffle, and four players can dance together. A Kinect-exclusive Create Mode lets kids design their own dances and star in their own music videos.
Basically, this game is the kids version of Just Dance, what a concept. It offers the same fun gameplay without caring about whether the moves you are doing are right or wrong. The soundtrack has a wide variety to include all ages so it will probably be welcomed by most. There are some nifty things about it which I’ll go into detail about below.
The menu is the normal hover and lock method. Just Dance 3 did use a Dance Central type menu, but I’m guessing the younger ones may have an issue with it which is why they went this route. The menu categories include Dance, Playlists, Non-Stop Shuffle, Create, Parents, Total and Exit. One complaint that most people will probably have is with choosing the songs. There’s really no way to preview them unless you manuever your hand icon on the song and then off of it real quick but making sure you don’t hover over any other songs.
This is the main section of the game. You are first introduced in a children’s style, with 10 flash cards on how to play the game. Will kids understand this, maybe. Will they care? Absolutely not. I think the developers thought it would be inconvenient as well so I’m not sure even sure why it’s in there. I accidentally skipped it not paying attention. You can get back into it though with the help icon on the song selection screen.
There are 3 dance modes that you can choose from. The default is chosen already for you which is regular mode. This is just normal dancing with getting points. Team high score allows another player to join in the fun and help you get a high score. Pose & Shake is a weird one where in the middle of the songs, you have to mimic poses and then randomly 4 musical instruments will show up. When it shows up, you do the instrument motion and you’ll get some bonus points.
You can also sort all of the songs via different methods. The default is All, which sorts those alphabetically. If I recall, it is 6 songs per page, and there’s quite a few pages so kids might get confused if they don’t understand they are alphabetical or if they can’t read yet, they may need some parents help. There is also one more feature that I’d like to point out. Certain songs will have a flag over them. What this means is you can play these songs in different languages which I thought was pretty educational. Songs such as Hokey Pokey are available in English, French, Spanish and German.
The actual gameplay plays similar to Just Dance 3. There is no feedback system, so if you do a move wrong, you have no idea what you are doing wrong. It is pretty sloppy for the most part, so kids should be fine with it. It does performance ratings in a similar manner as well, you can get a red X for doing a move incorrectly, an OK, a good and a perfect. There is some glow effect that happens when you get some perfects in a row, I think its 3 which probably rakes in some more bonus points. I did make a video of a normal song, which you can view below so you can get an idea of how the game plays:
This section offers a playlist to choose from that has certain songs in them. There are 6 predefined playlists which include:
- For All (6 songs)
- Silly Songs (6 songs)
- Tween Girls (6 songs)
- Tween Boys (7 songs)
- Young (6 songs)
- Movies (5 songs)
There are also 12 empty slots that if your children wish to create their own mega mix, they can.
This mode is for the kids that just can’t get enough. Kids are able to choose whether to dance for an infinite amount of time, or from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. Songs are again categorized by All, Younger, Older, Easy and Hard. Once you choose your options, off you go!
The create mode is a good addition again. It’s the same create mode featured in Just Dance 3, but it’s a little better. Instead of transforming you into a JD character, it uses a normal video image of yourself and plops you into the animated background. Kids may spend some time in here making memories and they are given 48 open slots to save their masterpieces, but it is quick to the point. You can’t record full length like you can in Just Dance 3.
This section parents may find useful. There’s a few items in here so I’ll break down each one. The first is the Play Tracker. What this does is keep track of all playing. It records the date, how many times songs were played as a total, the total time of that play session and the calories that were burned so you will know your kids are active or not. It also tallies all of this up for you in a Totals section for you to review.
Another section included is Progress. Progress keeps tracks of individual songs, but only scores and how many times they played that song. Then you have Philosophy. Basically, this the Just Dance Kids story and why the game was made, is it necessary, probably not, but I seen it more as a sales story to solicit you than anything else. The last are Credits and Options which only includes turning lyrics, next move icons and the result screen animations on or off.
Graphics and Sound
Now the one really positive note I must say about this game is that the real video graphics of the kids dancing is just amazing. Why Just Dance 3 didn’t use this style, I have no idea. At times when playing, I forgot I was playing a game because of the dancing kids. Apparently, this style was used in the first Just Dance Kids, but we all know the limitations on the Wii. Now they are in HD, they look really good. Just an idea, can you imagine how cool it would be to have real people instead of avatars and you could change their outfits and stuff? But then again, maybe that would be more of a nuisance as people would want their own faces in the game and then we lose the characters that we have now like Dance Central offers.
For the soundtrack, it’s a pretty wide variety so I’m sure your kiddos will find at least one song they like. Some of the songs are full length and others are not so its really a mixed bag. You can check out the track list below, although be forewarned, if your kids are big music buffs, they will know that these aren’t original tracks. 4 of the tracks are original while the rest are all covers. My older kid like Bruno Mars and the Bruno Mars cover is just not very good. Since it is the holiday season, I decided to also do this video for your viewing pleasure. Happy holidays!
- Accidentally In Love – Counting Crows
- Alright – David Choi
- Are You Sleeping – Just Dance Kids
- Barbara Ann – Beach Boys
- Burning Up – Jonas Brothers
- Crocodile Rock – Elton John w/ Nelly Furtado
- Despicable Me – Pharrell Williams
- Dumb Love – Sean Kingston
- Itsy Bitsy Spider – Just Dance Kids
- Feeling Good – Michael Buble
- Five Little Monkey – Just Dance Kids
- Follow The Leader – Wiggles
- Girls Can Too – Tyler Van Der Bery
- Hand In Hand – Just Dance Kids
- Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes – Nadia Gifford
- Hold Still – Yo Gabba Gabba!
- I’m A Gummy Bear – Gummibar
- I’m Gonna Catch You – Laurie Berkner
- Intuition – Selena Gomez & The Scene
- Istanbul – Four Lads
- Jingle Bells – Just Dance Kids
- Jump Up! – Imagination Movers
- Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
- Lollipop – Chordettes
- Love Me – Justin Bieber
- Mah Na Mah Na – Piero Umiliani
- On Our Way – Time Flies
- Party Goes Down – Just Dance Kids
- Positivity – Ashley Tisdale
- Rocketeer – Far East Movement
- Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches & Herb
- Something That I Want – Grace Potter
- Song 2 – Blur
- Start All Over – Miley Cyrus
- Summer School – Twirl
- The Hokey Pokey – Just Dance Kids
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Evening Birds
- The Robot Song – Yo Gabba Gabba!
- The Shimmie Shake! – Wiggles
- Whip My Hair – Willow Smith
Comparing this game to kids dance titles that I experienced, it’s probably one of the better ones due to the content and display. However, you may want to ask yourself these questions if you are considering purchasing this title. Do your kids need a game to dance and just have fun? Will they understand the concept of getting into the star rating system with points? Will they even care? If you answered no, then more than likely, turn on Radio Disney or something and you’ll get the same effect and save yourself some money. If you want your kids to actually learn some moves and kind of force it on them, you may want to check out the Alvin and The Chipmunks game, or if you have really little ones, the Nickelodeon Dance title may suit your needs.
It’s fine that developers make kids dancing games, but as a parent such as yourselves, I’d rather have my kids learn how to dance instead of just being silly. Realistically, they can learn more from playing a regular kids Xbox game compared to this type of game. I may be generous in the rating, but hopefully Ubisoft will realize that they need to take these Just Dance games to the next level with some type of feedback detection.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Just Dance Kids 2
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