Ubisoft follows up one of the most successful new game franchises of recent years with Just Dance 3, going multiplatform and supporting the Kinect.
With more than 10 million copies sold to date, the Just Dance series has been a huge success for publisher Ubisoft--all the more impressive considering it's a Wii-only series. That's set to change with Just Dance Dance 3, though, which is making its debut on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It's more than a mere port of its predecessors too, introducing a suite of new features that allow you to create your own custom routines and share your experiences across Facebook and Xbox Live. There's also four-player support--a first for a Kinect dance game.
At first glance Just Dance 3 looks similar to its predecessors, featuring the same highly stylised visuals with bright neon colours. Those hoping for a dramatic high-definition overhaul might be disappointed, but it serves a purpose--to make the dancers easy to follow. This makes the game incredibly simple to pick up and play: you choose a song and mirror the moves of the onscreen dancer, with scoring based on the accuracy of your movements. Contrary to the Wii version that only followed the movements of your hand, the Kinect scores you on your full-body movements, making it a little more challenging overall.
During our demo, we tried out the classic "Take On Me" by A-ha in four-player mode. In order for the Kinect to recognise all four people, we had to stand in a V formation, with an onscreen display telling us when we were in the correct position. Following the moves of the '80s-style dancer was a lot of fun, his dramatic fist pumps and twists ensuring maximum embarrassment for everyone involved. Score bars at the top of the screen let us know how we were doing, along with ratings that appeared above our dancer for each move we performed. It's simple stuff, but with great, silly choreography, we can imagine Just Dance 3 being a lot of fun at parties.
If you're not satisfied with the built-in choreography, you can also create your own. You can choose to create dance routines for any of the included songs, as well as for any you download from the Just Dance store. It works in a similar way to regular dance play, except that instead of a virtual avatar showing you the moves, a stylised version of yourself appears onscreen. The Kinect records your movements, allowing you to create ambitious routines that will amaze or--in our case--horrify. Either way, you can challenge your friends to complete the same routine, sharing them across Xbox Live.
You can also share videos and photos of your performances over Facebook, which is great if you love to share or to embarrass your friends on social media. Though we were able to sample only one track from the game, the final version will contain around 40, including hits from Black Eyed Peas, Mika, and Katy Perry. Just Dance 3 is due for release this October on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. Keep reading GameSpot for more coverage soon.