Ahoy hoy, Kevin here doing something a little bit different for Manly Monday. A little while ago, Avril was invited to the Gamestop Christmas bash in their Henry Street store. Unfortunately, she was having a particularly bad day heath-wise and was unable to attend. This however was one of those rare occasions where I was more than happy to take her place. You see I am a big gamer. For as long as I can remember, there was always a game console of some description in my parents house. These have ranged from the very first pong console to the latest must have console. So having been pretty much reared with a game controller in my hand, I could not pass on the opportunity of spending a morning being shown the latest games, tech and merchandise. I also had the pleasure of chatting with some like-minded people about all things gaming. One of those people was a lovely lady called Rebecca. Her job is to look after all of Ubisoft’s game releases in Ireland. Ubisoft for you non gamers are a large multinational video game publisher who are responsible for releasing games such as Rayman, Assassin’s creed, Watch dogs as well as the astoundingly popular Just Dance series. Rebecca kindly sent me out a copy of the latest Just Dance 2017 video game to try out.
I am going to have to admit here and now, something that I have been battling with my entire life, the inner turmoil and torment that I have endured for years … I have two left feet. A shimmy and an awkward shuffle on the dance floor is all my gangly body can muster. I have been blessed with so many things but dancing is not one of them. As a result, the seven other previous iterations of this game have somewhat passed me by. Due to my lack of knowledge and erm long-standing suffering of unable-to-dance-itis, I decided it would be best to call upon some experts who would give their open honest opinion of the game. These experts with years of Just Dance experience under their belt came in the form of my beautiful little cousins Isabelle, Brandon and Braxton.
Last weekend I popped out to their house armed with the game. On arriving I was met with a wave of giggling, smiles and sheer excitement. Even before I got a chance to sit down they had eagerly loaded the game into their X-Box One console. These children were so dedicated to the previous Just Dance games that they had the Kinect all set up to track their every dance move. Don’t worry folks, you don’t have to fork out for another piece of hardware to play this game. If you have the Xbox, Playstation or Wii U variants of the game you simply download an app onto your mobile phone. This app syncs with the wi-fi network in your house to act as a motion controller to track your awesome moves.
In this game the player must mimic the dance moves of an on-screen dancer to a chosen song, scoring points based on their accuracy. What this game does, it does well and builds on previous incarnations. Simple intuitive menus, brightly coloured and inviting play screens and of course the most important thing the excellent dance moves and songs. There are 40 songs packed into the game ranging from the latest hits from Justin Bieber and Sia to the classic 90’s dance tune, What is Love (definitely put in for the grownups).
What occurred whilst I observed the children playing can only be described as pure and simple fun. Not only were they getting physical exercise but were also kept interested and entertained. There are many different play modes available such as workout and dance quests, with something to suit just about everybody. What I want to focus in on is the experience. The house was filled with such exuberance and laughter that it was hard not to get caught up in it all and I found myself laughing heartedly throughout. Although this game can be played as a one player, I think the main fun lies in involving a group of children or family members. If you are looking for a game that the whole family can enjoy over Christmas then this is it. Even if you can’t dance like me, the words pop up on-screen so you can sing away to your heart’s content. It is also a great game to pop on, dare I say, if you want to tire the children out or if the weather is too bad for them to play outside.
Before leaving, I asked each child and my Aunty Denise what they thought of the game. Denise said “I am so happy to see the kids playing such active games rather than some of the more violent and action related ones”. She was even tempted to have a go herself admitting “only when the kids are at school of course, because I don’t want to show them up!!” Ha ha. Both Isabelle and Brandon were in unison excitedly saying “it’s so good, much better than the older ones”. When asked if they will play with it a lot or get bored easily they said “well all the songs aren’t unlocked from the start so in order to get them we have to play and practice to get points to buy them”. The youngest Braxton replied with “it’s a tiring game” which I’m not surprised as I was exhausted just watching them. How is that for honesty? This game is not only for children and could come in handy for us adults for burning off those extra little calories consumed over the Christmas period.
Upon leaving, the children handed me back the game. I told them that I was instructed by the games company that if their dance moves over the course of the evening were better than mine then they could keep it. This was one competition they were always going to win! They were so excited and happy with this news that I was consumed with a bombardment of hugs. Having gauged their responses I could definitely see this game being a winner this Christmas and I would highly recommend purchasing it. Price wise it comes in at €39.99 on the Wii and €54.99 on the X-Box One and PlayStation 4 respectively.
I would maybe suggest keeping a little eye on the blog over the next few days especially if your household is equipped with a PlayStation 4 ……
* Images courtesy of Ubisoft
Game sent for review purposes only. All images of the children used in this review post are private and are strictly not to be used for any other purpose. Permission was granted by the children's parents to use these images in this post.