It’s that time of year once again. No, we’re not talking about holiday pressures and stresses, just throw your arms in the air like you just don’t care thanks to Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2022!
If you’ve played the series – now in its twelfth year – previously, then getting into this will be like catching up with an old friend. It’s more of what you know, with very little change.
That means that we’re still relying on clutching our phone, running the Just Dance Controller app, in order for the game to register our moves. Why the DualSense motion controls still aren’t utilised is something that only Ubi can answer. Anyway, with the app running we booted the game and it synced up almost instantly with no dramas, which was both impressive and a relief. You just have to ensure that both phone and console are hooked into the same Wi-Fi network, which isn’t a particularly hard ask. Oh, and don’t accidentally turn off your phone mid-bop. Not that we did that, of course…
“…the music is great… as long as you like recent chart stuff.”
So far so good. Now, what do we get to shake our booty to? Another 40 new tracks are on offer this year, basically running a finger down the past year’s charts and putting big ticks against artists such as Billie Eilish, Blackpink, Tay Tay, The Weeknd (we guess they thought it clever to drop an ‘e’…) Dua Lipa and Camila Cabello, along with what seems like more collaborations than ever. The word ‘featuring’ certainly features a lot. A couple of classic additions are brilliant surprises, notably Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy and Sylvester’s disco delight You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real). Then there’s the interesting choice of a cover of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky, although the accompanying video is totally worth a watch.
This brings us to our usual complaint with Just Dance releases, which is that the music is great… as long as you like recent chart stuff. In its earlier days, the franchise showed a lot more spunk, mixing in indie tunes and more than one or two classics from previous decades, Now it’s more like “Oh, we’ve got both kinds, chart pop and chart pop!” This is where the subscription service Just Dance Unlimited becomes a necessity, adding some 700-plus tracks that offer a bit more variety. A bit. A free 30-day trial comes with this year’s model, which is a handy enough amount of time to get a taste – although some of our fave classics from early JD releases are still absent.
If you’re after a bunch of new additions to change up the formula then you’ll be left wanting, although the big one that helps keep the party going when you have indecisive types in your midst – a quikc play mode – makes a welcome return, so seems to be a stayer. It just picks a song and sends you straight into it – so, there’s no faffing about umming and aahing as to what to play (and if you have Just Dance Unlimited that can be excruciating, despite the game having a decent search engine).
Otherwise it’s basically business as usual. The ickily named ‘Sweat Mode’ counts calories burned, the fun mode especially for kids returns, and the ‘World Dance Floor’ lets you share the love globally. Meanwhile, those who like to collect all sorts of stuff will enjoy spending in-game credits on the gift machine booty such as stickers, aliases and avatars.
If you simply have to get down to the latest chart stuff then it’s definitely worth upgrading to Just Dance 2022. If you’re in it for the more classic stuff though, you may find sticking with Just Dance 2021 and grabbing a Just Dance Unlimited subscription a cannier option.
Just Dance 2022 is available now on PS5, Xbox, Switch and PS4.