Ubisoft’s “Just Dance” franchise has been around for a few years now as kids of all ages seem to really enjoy the quick pick-up and dance style of gameplay it presents. When I learned that I would have the opportunity to review “Just Dance Disney Party” I was curious to see if a Disney version would be able to hold up to the other Just Dance games. Well, after dancing away to songs that brought back memories of singing Disney tunes with my daughter and all her five year old buddies back in the day, I can safely say I am satisfied with the outcome of this latest dance game from Ubisoft.
Once you fire up the game you will notice Just Dance Disney Party is easy to navigate and has different options available. As a mater of fact, the main menu offers three options: Just Create, Dance and Parents. Just Create provides you with the opportunity to take video and/or pictures while dancing away. This lets kids go back and watch themselves in action. The Parents portion is well laid out and provides parents the opportunity to monitor through Play Tracker, monitor kids progress, access the instruction manual, health tips, credits and options. If you are a parent that wants to see your kid get in shape then this options is for you. This options also lets you turn on lyrics and enable camera during gameplay. Yet the bulk of my time with the game was spent in the “Dance” section which makes up most of the Disney Party experience and all all about dancing.
The gameplay itself is very similar to previous Just Dance games. The objective is to mimic the dancers on the screen while the Kinect detects your body movements. I have found in the past with Kinect games that my movements and the movements that the sensor picks up are not usually the same. This was not the case this time around. I found the responsiveness of the Kinect quite refreshing and I found I was actually able to keep up with the dance moves. I also enjoyed that the dance routines were age appropriate and not necessarily routines for adult women. So do not expect the more complicated dance moves like you would see in the Dance Central games. I also appreciated that the moves were not too confusing as I never found myself struggling to maintain the basics. I found I could keep up and enjoy myself, and of course entertain everyone watching my poor attempts at coordination. Regardless, the game provides you with the upcoming moves in enough time so that I could register it in my mind and then carry it out in form.
I enjoyed that the music and dance routines ranged from young children to the tween/teenagers age. The dance routines ranged in difficulty depending on which song you chose. For instance, the routine for “Everything is Not as it Seems” was more difficult than “Under the Sea”. This helps in providing kids of all ages with a bit of a challenge and yet does not leave them frustrated from a game too difficult or too easy.
Just Dance Disney Party provides you with the options of playlists, songs and non-stop shuffle. The option for Freeze and Shake is fun for group play and extra points. Kids dancing away together in Just Dance Disney Party is where the game truly shines as the co-op features make this game perfect to keep your kids occupied for hours on end. There are over 25 songs from Classic Disney songs to songs from some of your favorite Disney Channel shows. The ones I enjoyed the most would have to be:
“The Little Mermaid” (“Under the Sea”)
“Mary Poppins” (“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”)
“The Muppets” (“The Muppet Show Theme”)
“Good Luck Charlie” (“Hang In There Baby”)
“High School Musical” (“We’re All In This Together”)
“Wizards of Waverly Place” (“Everything Is Not As It Seems”)
I found the use of original songs instead of cover bands made the experience more authentic and certainly kept me humming when watching the kids play. Overall I was happy with the set list; however ,25-songs did seem a tad skimpy. When other dance games have over 40 songs, 25 seems far too few.
The visuals for Just Dance Disney Party were colourful, interactive and engaging. The characters were just as you would expect when watching a Disney movie or show. All in all I had no complaints with the games graphics.
Overall I found that I enjoyed Just Dance Disney Party much more than I anticipated. The songs are perfectly suited for those youngsters looking to get up and shake their booty to some new and classic Disney tunes. So to that end, I would have no hesitation recommending the game to parents looking for something to keep their kids active this holiday season. The reality is Just Dance Disney Party for the Xbox 360 Kinect is pretty good entertainment for kids who love all that is Disney. While the games 25-song set list and overall experience may not be on par with other dance rhythm games on the Kinect, it is a nice little option for the little ones looking to have some fun with some Disney tunes. Just remember, Dance Disney Party is not a difficult game but when you take into consideration the age demographic, it really hits the mark.