2023 is just around the corner, which, it turns out, is a very different year to 2022, so of course we’ve got a brand new Just Dance game to review. Yes, it’s time for the annual update of Ubisoft’s long-running franchise and while it’s tempting to just cut and paste last year’s review here – these games really don’t change much beyond the playlist from version to version – it turns out there actually made a few meaningful changes this time around.
First of all, and the best news for us personally, is that you can now turn off the constant notifications and ads for the Just Dance+ subscription service. If you recall Just Dance 2022, this was one of the most frustrating aspects of last year’s effort, with constant reminders that you didn’t get all the content on offer, even though you’d just paid £50 for the game (which, get this no physical release this year, by the way – watch out for those codes-in-boxes!). It’s great to see Ubisoft recognizing that people probably don’t want to be forced to spend more money every time they tune in for a quick bop or workout.
Moving on, the whole thing has gotten a nice facelift too, with streamlined menus that feel better to navigate than previous entries, plus an overhauled graphical style that, while still a bit odd, is a marked improvement on the creepy – looking dancers from days gone by.
There’s also a new online mode, where you can compete against five other players (just make sure you don’t wiggle your Joy-Con around and cheat the system), and Enter The DanceVerses, a story mode, gives give you a reason to play songs you might otherwise skip by telling a story of dancing heroes and villains in between songs, added to as the months go by.
Ubisoft has also thought it appropriate to take a closer look at the customization options. There are now tons of goodies that you can unlock as you progress. You can hop into your dressing room and change avatars, backgrounds, borders, badges, emotes and more, plus there are a ton of goals and checklists to complete and check off as you level up your skills. Songs are also split into handy categories for 2023, meaning you can easily jump in to workout hits, party songs or some fun chill stuff for a more relaxed play session.
In terms of tracks, you get a decent 40 core offerings up front here, with the game’s subscription service offering plenty more if you decide to go for it. You can check out the full track list here, and so far we’re really enjoying singing along to Britney Spears’ ToxicJustin Timberlake is awesome Can’t stop the feelingand the magnificent Phone with Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Oh, and BTS is in the mix this year, so their legions of fans should be pleased with that.
Overall, then, it’s a decent outing for Just Dance 2023, a marked improvement on what’s come before and a much less annoying version of the game than what we were served in 2022. If you’re not a fan of the series, there’s still nothing here that will really change your mind – it’s still exactly the same dance mechanics at the heart of the proceedings – but if it’s your cup of tea, this is just such a good time as we’ve had with this franchise so far.