Ubisoft’s Just Dance returns once again to give us our annual dose of disco boogie action, and there’s absolutely zero surprises in Just Dance 2022 if you’ve ever played an entry in this series before. There’s a fairly solid bit of dance fun to be had with this one, but it’s also overwhelmingly familiar stuff that takes every opportunity it can to shove further purchases into your face. What’s here is good, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s all rendered somewhat frustrating as it constantly bombards you with tracks that you’ll need a Just Dance Unlimited subscription in order to access.
Let’s not get off to a hugely negative start here, though. Just Dance 2022 is a colourful and slick experience that arrives with 40 excellent tracks, some solid online action, a pretty neat kid-friendly mode, calorie-burning sweat mode and lots of unlockable bits and bobs to work towards acquiring as you thrash around your sitting room and attempt to match the movements displayed onscreen. All you need is a single Joy-Con (or a smartphone with the official app) and a reasonable sense of timing and you’re all set for some good times.
There’s a decent selection of musical styles across the 40 tracks included with the base game, too. You’ve got Dua Lipa’s Levitating, Imagine Dragons’ Believer and, our personal favourite, El Chombo’s completely nonsensical Chacarron, to get you gyrating around your lounge as your kids and partner vacate the building in complete and utter disgust.
The motion tracking at work here does its job well and our movements and attempts to keep up with the action appearing onscreen registered perfectly at all times — even with four out of shape adults tumbling around a small area in a sweaty mess. Ubisoft have nailed the formula here, there’s no doubt about it, but unless you’re willing to stump up the cash for an Unlimited subscription, the whole thing very quickly degenerates into a rather annoying experience with menus stuffed full of songs you can’t actually access. It really does feel as though you’ve just bought an advertisement for a game, rather than the actual game itself.
To be fair, the Unlimited subscription isn’t particularly expensive, with £19.99 (or $29.99) per year giving you access to a catalogue of 700 tracks to dance along to — and you do get a free month trial when you buy the game — it’s just that it’s so relentlessly shoved in your face, and if you don’t subscribe you’re left with a title that spends more time showing you what you don’t have than allowing you to enjoy what’s actually included. Just attempting to cycle through the forty tracks on offer here can prove a massive headache as the menus repeatedly attempt to push you to the eShop to pick up Unlimited. It’s not a great look and it very quickly becomes frustrating when your kids are faced with a ton of songs they want to dance to but can’t unless you fork out some more cash.
We get it, music licencing is an expensive and tricky business, but Just Dance 2022 ends up feeling pretty tacky as a result of its constant pushing of extras. If you can ignore this aspect of proceedings, you’ll definitely get a good few hours of fun with what’s included here. The kids mode was a hit in this writer’s household, and the online competitive mode will certainly shake you up if you decide to fully engage with it.
It all looks, plays and sounds well, too. This is a super slick package, but it really doesn’t improve or evolve the formula in any meaningful way and left us pretty cold with its relentless insistence on ushering us to the Switch eShop to spend more cash.
Just Dance 2022 is okay. It’s more of the same with some cool new tracks, a slick and smooth experience overall that plays it safe and works just fine as a result. However, it also constantly pushes its subscription service and ends up feeling a little convoluted and tacky as it spends more time flogging tracks you don’t own over letting you enjoy the ones included with the base game. Fans of the series — or anyone who’s just danced to even a single track from the series — will know exactly what they’re getting here, but newcomers should be aware that they’ll need to fork out more cash after buying the game in order to enjoy the full experience.