Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch (March, 2017), PC
Just Dance 2017 is a game which fans of the series likely thought they’d never see, not because the series has waned in popularity (though the general consensus seems to be that last year’s Just Dance 2016 was a noticeable low point for the franchise), but because Ubisoft seems to be in the process of phasing out yearly disc-based releases in favor of the Just Dance Unlimited subscription service which offers unlimited streaming of a constantly updating playlist for a monthly or yearly fee. While Just Dance Unlimited is part of the Just Dance 2017 package, there are still a few features which are exclusive to Just Dance 2017, though the mileage you get out of those features may vary.
Bells And Whistles
Putting aside Just Dance Unlimited for the moment, Just Dance 2017 retains many of the modes and features from past games which fans have come to love such as Dance Quests, Sweat workout routines, Just Dance TV, and World Dance Floor. There’s also a new smartphone app which allows players to play the game even if they don’t have access to their console’s respective motion-capture peripheral (such as an Xbox One Kinect or PS4 Camera) or if they’re playing on PC. I found the app to be a worthy alternative to standard motion controls (I don’t own a PS4 Camera), plus if you’re a die-hard Just Dance fan, you can also use the app for other purposes such as editing your in-game photos or streaming new Just Dance TV content.
As for brand new features, there’s really just one: the new Just Dance Machine mode. The mode has a rather silly premise which involves a pair of aliens recruiting dancers to dance so hard that they recharge the batteries of the aliens’ ship. Just Dance Machine can serve as a fun endurance test as you’re tasked with rapidly switching between five different dance styles, but other than that it feels like a pretty pointless addition which only serves as the flimsiest of justifications for yet another disc-based Just Dance game.
Move To The Beat
As for Just Dance 2017’s musical selection, there’s a solid number of tracks (37 in total) with songs ranging from classic hits like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Fast Forward Highway’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll” to more recent chart-toppers like Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know,” Gigi Rowe’s “Run the Night,” and Ariana Grande’s “Into You.” There’s also a separate collection of songs which are exclusive to Just Dance Unlimited subscribers but it’s much smaller than what’s on the disc (at least for now) so there’s no pressure to subscribe.
While Just Dance 2017 is a noticeable return to form for the series, fans are likely fed up with having to double-dip into their wallets for both the annual physical releases and Just Dance Unlimited in order to feel like they’re getting the most out of the series. Hopefully Just Dance 2017 will mark the start of a noticeable pivot away from physical releases and into the more unified streaming nature of Just Dance Unlimited. Still, if Just Dance 2017 does wind up being the final physical release in the series, it serves as a strong first step into an all-digital age for Just Dance.