Just Dance 2020 is just as colorful and as much fun as previous entries, although questions should be asked about its limited choice of songs.
Just Dance may be the butt of many E3 jokes, but it's been an important part of Ubisoft's library. Even if it's not part of what Ubisoft sees as its AAA release lineup, the consistency with which Just Dance releases is not to be understated. With Just Dance 2020, the franchise has reached eleven releases and a decade out in the wild.
Just Dance 2020 therefore acts as something of a celebration of over ten years of success. Releasing across plenty of platforms, including the surprising inclusion of a Wii release that shows the longevity of the console versus the follow-up Wii U, Just Dance 2020 aims to package together what's made the series such a solid and bankable party game for so many years.
Certainly the game is a lot of fun, as long as users are still happy to make a bit of space to swing their aims around in the living room. However, Just Dance 2020 does raise questions about the sustainability of the current Just Dance business model, and whether its current setup represents value for money year-on-year for avid fans.
That's not to say that Just Dance 2020 doesn't offer up anything new to return players from previous games. The standout addition is the All Stars mode, which takes players back through the ten years of Just Dance with tracks such as Major Lazer's Lean On and Katy Perry's California Gurls. It's a neat diversion from the core play, albeit one that won't keep players engaged in the medium to long term.
From a gameplay perspective the dancing is still enjoyable. The Just Dance controller app for mobile phones is back for all platforms except the Wii this time around, having been only used for PS4 and Xbox One in last year's release, and it works well for those who don't have the once-mandatory peripherals.
In general terms Just Dance 2020 works the same as before. Play through the individual songs, match the daring moves that the game requires you to make, and enjoy having a workout to some big name songs. It's undoubtedly better with other people around, but avid music fans will still get a kick out of popping it on for a quick jive.
The songs available in Just Dance 2020 cover off all the expected big names of recent times, across a fair few popular genres. It's primarily electronic and pop music, and those looking for deep cuts won't find them here, but if those after the big hitters will find exactly what they expect. There's also a smattering of older songs, too, for those who want to feel very old when they realise how long it's been since Backstreet's Back was released.
Some of these work perfectly with the overall play and feel of Just Dance. Ariana Grande's God Is A Woman is a certified banger and its bombastic overtones match well with the pop art stylings of the title. Less so Old Town Road, since that maudlin Nine Inch Nails sample doesn't really correlate with a multicolored cowboy acting the fool in the Wild West.
Then again, for those after some pure fun it won't really matter. As a physical party game it's still hard to look past Just Dance and its longevity as a franchise is testament to how popular the series has been. When compared to other titles that have faded in the party game space, there's something commendable about Just Dance sticking around and still being enjoyable.
Because of this Just Dance 2020 is still going to be a good choice for families, and the continued availability of Kids Mode will provide plenty of hours of fun. It's worth giving a warning to parents, though: if you are looking to Just Dance as a way to escape Baby Shark, you're not going to find it here.
As a video game, then, Just Dance 2020 is more than competent. Unfortunately there are some issues with the way that Just Dance is moving forward as a product, and the way in which Ubisoft is aiming to position the series when in comes to ongoing value. Just Dance 2020 comes packaged with 40 new songs, but it's not exactly a revolution and some may wonder whether it justifies its price tag at launch.
Those who haven't picked up Just Dance in a while may find it worth the cost, but it falls into the same issue as some other annual franchises where those who aren't die-hard fans might skip a release or two or wait until the game comes on sale. This is intensified by the fact that the Just Dance Unlimited subscription service works fine with last year's version of the game, so aside from those entirely new tracks Just Dance 2020 doesn't offer anything essential.
Where does this leave Just Dance 2020? It's not necessarily a must-have purchase for those that have recent entries, particularly those who have a subscription to Just Dance Unlimited already. Those who have missed a year or two, or who need to have each new title at launch, will find plenty to love however, and as a product in its own right it's a solid game.
Just Dance 2020 is out now for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Wii, with a release for Google Stadia scheduled. Screen Rant was provided with a PS4 download code for the purposes of this review.