Just Dance 2022 Review – A Party With a Price

Just Dance 2022 Review

If you believe the intros to their reviews, most of the folks who have been looking at Just Dance 2022 are sedentary endomorphs with multiple left feet, a disinclination for rhythm, and a peculiar unfamiliarity with contemporary pop music. Well, far be it from me to buck the trend. Consider me described. I would only add that, as a professional musician, I do have a feeling for rhythm if my ability to interpret it gracefully with my body ends with toe taps.

One of the great things about Just Dance 2022 is that it is happy to cater to all levels of expertise. Its mission statement is really all about moving and having fun with some generally accessible and varied tracks, rewarding all-comers and effort levels with some sort of pat on the back and post-song goodies. It’s less benign, though no less prominent, mission is to get players to sign up for the Just Dance Unlimited subscription music service, something that the game reminds you of after virtually every song and with every trip to the menu.

Because the form and function of the franchise haven’t really changed or evolved all that much over the years (understatement alert), you probably know the basics: you copy choreographed moves, earning points or stars as you go, depending on your accuracy. If you’re playing on the Switch, you hold a Joy-Con, and for PC and console players, you hold a smartphone in your right hand and hope to God that in your enthusiasm, it doesn’t go flying. As an aside, I enjoyed playing Dance Central on the Oculus Quest because it had an actual campaign and because I think it was one of the better ways to track movement accurately. I did have some minor issues pairing my phone app with the PS5 version of Just Dance 2022, and I wouldn’t say that holding the phone in a death grip while vigorously dancing is the most natural feeling in the world. While the game demands a higher level of precision on the harder difficulty songs, at the more manageable levels, it rewards pretty much every semi-rhythmic gesture with a level of appreciation bordering on the sarcastic.

Gentle kidding aside, Just Dance 2022’s presentation is colorful and enthusiastic, upbeat and perky, and infectiously fun. The instructor avatars are great and supplemented by media stars like Todrick Hall, plus dancers Ayo (1M Studio) and Teo (K/DA). Best of all, Just Dance 2022 gives players a vast array of ways to approach the game, from the multiplayer World Dance Floor competition mode to co-op family dance party fun. There’s a small but welcome suite of songs made just for kids and a sweat mode that amps up the calorie burn (or so I’m told, see paragraph 1). There’s no campaign, but new players shouldn’t have any trouble jumping on the easy songs, and there are plenty of instructions along the way.

For the Low, Low Price of $29.99, All This Can Be Yours

Any music or rhythm game lives or dies by its setlist of licensed tracks. Out of the box, Just Dance 2022 includes 40 decent — if maybe overly familiar — songs that range from weighty pop hitters like K/DA, Blackpink, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Taylor Swift to several dozen that are perhaps less familiar to American audiences but appeal to the global nature of pop music fans. The good news is that if you tire of the bundled tracks, you can, of course, subscribe to Just Dance Unlimited, which runs $29 a year and opens up access to 700 more songs. As noted earlier, the game is shameless in its promotion, enticingly locking away tracks on the homepage and reminding you loudly and often that even better music is only a subscription away.

Anyone expecting visual subtlety is going to be in for a retina-burning disappointment. Just Dance 2022 is aggressively colorful, with a bright and optimistic, TikTok aesthetic that totally vibes with the game’s high energy approach, a consistent through-line for many years. The motion-captured dancers are excellent, and the sound design, aside from the dance tracks, keeps the happy feels going.

Aside from the in-your-face self-promotion, lack of evolution, and sketchy phone control, Just Dance 2022 retains the positive elements that have kept both would-be and accomplished dancers coming back for each new version. The starting setlist is relatively strong, and there are lots of options to craft the experience. How long the good times last probably depends on whether you’re willing to finally cave and buy into the Unlimited option to get your sweaty hands on those 700 other songs. There’s a way in which Just Dance 2022 feels more like a starter pack than a full game, but it’s still a great excuse for us sedentary endomorphs with multiple left feet to move and have fun.

***PS5 code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

Colorful and fun
Options for kids and coop
Easy to learn
Decent starter set list


The Bad

Phone control feels awkward
Oppressive reminders about subscription service
No campaign