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December 21, 2015

Top 24 Just Dance Levels (#24-#13)

Continuing from last Friday's post (About the 12 Just Dance levels I despise), here is the first part of my first (and possibly only) multi-part list. I'll be listing off my 24 favorite Just Dance levels. Once again, I may put here songs simply because I like them, or because the level is fun, or because the background and dancer make for a pretty, if not outright artistic, thing to see.

Alright, let’s get to it!

24. Best Song Ever (One Direction) JD2015
These games feature a lot of songs from boy bands. Deal with it. Don’t be picky.  As much as I hate some current artists and bands geared towards a teenage female demographic, I’m of the belief that nothing is all good or all bad. Thus, I believe One Direction’s Best Song ever, not only to be at least listenable, but also pretty damn danceable. The Dance Crew works very well together and I found myself surprisingly enjoying the three minutes spent shaking to it. What else is there to say? Well, “Best Song Ever” is a boy band version of Tenacious D’s “Tribute”, in that it’s not THE best song ever, but a tribute to it… and now I made everybody hate me.

23. Macarena (The Girly Team) JD2015

And the hating continues! If you’re still attending family parties and your baby-boomer relatives dare play some dance music, it's likely that you’ve heard - and possibly danced to – the Macarena at least once in your life. It’s easy, really; and if you already know the movements, this level should not be much trouble. Left first, right first; hands forward, palm down, hands forward, palms up, hands to shoulders, hands behind head, hands on waist, hands on butt, then you turn 90 degrees and repeat. This level in JD2015 is extremely colorful and features a Dance Crew of women. Pick one, follow the rhythm, and prepare to have this ear worm stuck in your head for a long time!

22. Forget You (Cee Lo Green) JD3
A man in a snazzy suit dances to a song about how his girlfriend is a gold-digger, ultimately dropping a couple of F-bombs on her- oh wait, right, forget the F-bombs, this is the “acceptable for an E+10 rating” version. I remember the “Forget You” level and loving every minute of it. I love the choreography, it’s as cool as the character is snazzy. And it’s great to mimic. The setting is an old television, and in the second half of the level, backup dancers appear in the background to make this comedic song look and feel more epic, more… what’s the old term? “pizzaz”? I’m not up to date on old slang. Either way, I like this one. Though I prefer the non-censored one better. Shame it’s unfit for Just Dance.

21. Where Have You Been (Rihanna) JD2014
This song tends to divide some people, because Rihanna starts it with an excerpt from a Johnny Cash song… but whatever. The rest does sound pretty good to my not-a-music-reviewer ears. (Seriously, if I was reviewing music, I’d be far more critical than that.) This song comes in JD2014 in five variations: The regular choreography, an On-Stage version, an Extreme version, a Battle (against She Wolf, which I also love, but I still hate Battle mode), and a Mashup unlocked on April. As for the choreography itself and the ambiance around it, I don’t see how a woman in tribal attire dancing in front of and later inside a volcano corresponds to the theme of the song… Ring of Fire isn’t even the Johnny Cash song referenced at the beginning! Oh well, it’s still great to move to, the controls are very responsive, and it’s overall enjoyable.

20. Flashdance… What A Feeling (The Girly Team) JD2014
Similar to Macarena, chances are you’ve heard this song before. If only because there’s a lot of nostalgia surrounding this song. The level is pretty good, too; it starts with the dancer, a woman in a dress, with calm movements. Then off goes the fake dress, and we see our dancer, now dressed as a fitness teacher. Of course, don’t expect insane dance moves here, moves Just Dance players would be unable to do… but kudos if you pull off the jumping split! This level is simple, but it’s great. The routine itself is enjoyable, not too difficult nor too easy, and the song helps a lot towards me liking this level! I mean, I just hear this and my body wants to dance. No, foot, stop tapping! Leg, stay calm, will ya? Oh great, my arm’s going at it now. How the Hell am I typing this?

19. Dynamite (Taio Cruz) JD3
The more this list advances, the more annoyingly catchy the tunes get. Gotta give that to Ubisoft, they know to pick the best tunes. …well, most of the time. In the case of Dynamite, we have here another Dance Crew. I don’t remember explaining that in my review, but Just Dance 3 introduced Dance Crews and had quite a number of those. And they left quite an impression on the audience, and on me; most JD3 examples on this list are Dance Crews. As for Dynamite, it was good back in 2011, it was still good today. The four dancers have different looks, but still work very well as a “team”, or “crew”, or whatever you want to call them. The result is a great level, one that I replay almost every time I pop the disk into the Wii.

18. Turn up the Love SUMO (Far East Movement ft. Cover Drive) JD2014
The special alternate choreographies were okay, for the most part. I found myself hating Seated Dances – thank God they’re rare – but once again there are some diamonds in the rough. Case in point, the SUMO Dance Crew on Turn Up The Love. Now, these are not actual sumos, just really really fat rappers with bling. But they sure shake their lipids a lot. And they’re singing to someone? Well, that person will have a lot to love. Still, having overweight dancers sure is a nice change of pace, since just about every single other dancer in these games is thin… and it’s also funny to watch. The routine is great, the controls work well... My only complaint is that this alternate routine for Turn Up The Love costs 50 Mojocoins to unlock… but it’s worth it.

17. Burn (Ellie Goulding) JD2015
This level is another example of the perfect mix; good song, great routine (not too complex, not too simple), great character model, beautiful changing background, and of course, very responsive controls. Why is it not higher on the list? I mean, I AM pretty much calling it a work of art. Hell, it’s just another proof that video games CAN be art. Then, why is it not higher on the list? Well, probably because I’m a geek and I tend to prefer the Just Dance levels that have more geeky connections. Or a bit of humor. Also, this level does have a lot of beauty, but it doesn’t quite push the boundaries of what can be done in Just Dance.

16. Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.) JD2014
A classic theme tune! This one also plays around with the conventions of the Just Dance series, as there are three Ghostbusters… and Slimer. Yep, one of the dancing characters doesn’t even have legs. In fact, in the second half of the song, Slimer possesses the other three and controls their dance moves for a moment. Needless to say, this song is fun to dance to if you’re a geek, it’s even better if you’re a fan of the Ghostbusters franchise (of note, Stay Puft makes a cameo in the background), and it’s even better if you control Slimer. I like the more gimmicky levels like this one.

15. Built For This (Becky G.) JD2015
Talking about gimmicky, how does an army of robots sound? I already discussed this one in my review of Just Dance 2015, so I won’t talk much about it again; however, this level takes “NPC dancers” to its logical extreme, featuring sometimes what looks like dozens of the same dancer, as a robot, doing movements exactly at the same time as the actual dancer. That’s pretty damn impressive; in fact, it must have taken a lot of processing power. I mean, it’s only normal for a franchise that releases games every year to try and push the limits of their craft. And the result is impressive.

14. Spectronizer (Sentai Express) JD3
I have to admit to something; I noticed, after writing my review of Just Dance 2015, that dancers transforming have been in this series since Just Dance 3. It’s just that, in Just Dance 3, it was much rarer. One example I can give is Spectronizer, where the teenage members of the Dance Crew turn into Power Rangers-like heroes partway through. Well, then again, this IS a Japanese song we’re talking about… Make it another point for “geek preference” and “gimmick”; after all, dancers transforming mid-song WAS a simple gimmick back then, it wasn’t yet commonplace.

13. Jamaican Dance (Konshens) Mashup JD3
I love dancing to this song. But in Just Dance 3, the “regular” choreography for Jamaican Dance was the dreaded “Hold My Hand” mode, which is the Just Dance variation I despise most. Thankfully, there’s ever been only three levels like this in Just Dance history. Thankfully, we do have a variation on Jamaican Dance; the ever-popular Mashup. To compensate for the absolutely crappy Hold My Hand level, plenty of Just Dance organized a quick dance-o-thon over Jamaican Dance for the player. …Oh, who am I kidding, this is just silly. Still, the team at Ubisoft offered an alternate choreography for a song that much needed it, a song so good it would have been unfair to hate it due to the mode it’s played in.

Well, it appears that I’m gonna have to split this list in two. See you Monday for Part 2!