So that said, I will admit that the last few installments of Just Dance have left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth in a lot of ways, but I promised myself I would give it one more chance before giving up on the series completely. Luckily, I am happy to report that JD2019 serves as a refreshing return to form, and has instantly become my favorite installment in at least four or five years. My biggest beef lately has been with the choreography itself, because it has degraded to not much more than bizarre hand posing and random flailing about, with no relation whatsoever to the music, which has proven rather frustrating. JD2019, however, makes an effort to create iconic dances that are actual routines with beat and repetition, like something you might see performed on a stage, which not only makes it easier but much more fun to play. The graphics are colorful and fluid and you get to play as a variety of whimsical characters, and I appreciate that they reined it in just a bit with all the dizzying visual effects and other “stuff” happening onscreen which at times made it very difficult to see what your dancer was supposed to be doing.
The tracklisting will be hit or miss depending on who you ask because this is, by far, the least mainstream entry in the series. Almost none of the songs are current, and the small selection of radio hits we do get by well-known artists such as Britney Spears and Maroon 5 are a few years old by now. Overall there has been a major shift toward Latin and world music, which is not necessarily a complaint for me, but I can see why others may be disappointed. But, like I said, the choreography is good and the motion tracking with the Switch joy-con is fair, though some straightforward moves such as pointing your hand to the sky still fail to register on occasion. My one true complaint, if I had to make one, is that I feel they once again included way too many group dances, because they really aren’t dances at all so much as little scenes or skits. This approach may be more fun in the context of a party or group setting, but they offer nothing in terms of exercise and it’s completely useless for a solo player like me who plays these games only to get fit. At this point I feel they really should just make an offshoot “Just Dance Party” series or something instead of wasting so much space on the main games.
The staple Just Sweat and online World Dance Floor modes return, as well as a small selection of tracks geared towards younger kids specifically. There are still plenty of avatars, stickers, and alternate choreographies to unlock, so a good amount of time could be spent playing this to completion if you like, and the revamped menu interface is a breath of fresh air making the whole thing much easier to navigate. (The change may be jarring to followers of the series, but as a long-time player myself I assure you, it’s better this way.) I should point out that while JD2019 does include a free 90-day trial of Just Dance Unlimited, which is basically an online database of over 300 tracks from games past, it is mandatory you have a Ubisoft Club account in order to access it which is an odd change from the last few games where nothing else was required.
Overall though, I think JD 2019 is a solid entry in the series, embodying the fun and whimsy of the earlier games but with a modern polish that doesn’t compromise the gameplay itself (JD2018 I’m looking at you). Even though I’m not quite the dancer I used to be I can certainly appreciate that they keep making these games at all and continue to appeal to a wide range of demographics. Whether your goal is to shed a few pounds or just goof around for a few minutes, everyone should find at least one thing here to love.