Just Dance is the bane of every Ubisoft press conference – from last year's huge group of dancers to this year's out-of-tune and insanely awkward Jason Derulo, it's never been a property that's been taken too seriously. Yet this year's edition has plenty of new features and content – most of which isn't available on PlayStation 3, sadly – that makes the franchise feel fresher than ever.
Let's get started with the track list: while not as strong as last year's, the set list this time around has plenty of variation. Sure, you've got your Meghan Trainor, Sammy Barker's favourite Charli XCX [Swoon - Ed], and a surprisingly good-sounding Jason Derulo, but there's plenty of obscure songs to dance to, as well: Rossini's William Tell Overture, a remix of the Angry Birds theme song, and even some Hatsune Miku. This is by far the most 'out there' dancing title in a while.
It's not only the variation of the songs that makes this game so fun, but also the dance moves and the theme of the dances. The character on your screen isn't just an average street dancer – it can be anything from Santa to John Travolta to a sunflower. By far some of the most fun that we've experienced is in the aforementioned William Tell Overture – you'll recognise it when you hear it – in which you and a partner are racing imaginary horses against each other, Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk, in which a trio of well-dressed men perform some 1920s-era dance moves, and, of course, Ray Charles' Hit the Road Jack, in which one of you plays as a strong, independent woman who don't need no man (wags finger).
There's plenty more where that came from: there are 44 songs in the game, with more unlockable if you've got enough Uplay points. Not only that, but the points that you earn from doing well in songs can be spent on remixed versions, as well as duet, trio, and quartet versions. Meanwhile, gameplay is the same as ever, really – match the moves on-screen for more points.
However, this year, a new way to play has been added, which will probably open up the game to a far wider audience: you can now play Just Dance with an app on your phone, instead of having to buy the nigh-on pointless PlayStation Camera or the PlayStation Move. Simply download the Just Dance Controller onto your Android or iPhone, connect with your PS4, and you're good to go. It's hassle free and very accurate, and during our time playing it, there were no disconnects or glitches to be seen. Since using the app means that an unlimited number of people can play, it's definitely the best way to play Just Dance 2016, and is an excellent addition.
Speaking of additions, there are plenty of new modes to sink your teeth into this time around. Dance Party is the mode that you'll be using most, in which you can either compete with your friends and try to gain the highest score or play co-operatively and try to accumulate a massive score between you. Showtime mode requires the PlayStation Camera, and allows you to create lip-synced music videos and share them, so that you can finally answer the question, "What would it be like if Grease was set in my lounge?" Lastly, Dance Quest mode tasks you with competing against an AI dancer over three songs and beating them.
The PlayStation Camera can also be used to record your performances and send them to friends – and vice versa – so that they can dance to your score, rather than the music video. It's a nice extra, but doesn't really add anything in terms of gameplay.
One last addition is the new Just Dance Unlimited subscription service, which adds 156 songs (with more to be added) and four Dance Quests. Unlimited adds all songs from the previous Just Dance titles, and in all honesty is a rather good idea. There are plenty of songs in Just Dance 2016 anyway, but if you're missing classics from previous games such as Cotton Eye Joe or Rasputin, you can fork out $6.99 a month. It's perhaps a little steep, but every standard copy comes with a one month trial, which is a very fair deal indeed.
Just Dance 2016 is great fun for people of all ages, and is an excellent game among friends. The tracklist is diverse and the dances are crazy, and the addition of using a phone as a controller is the best idea that the franchise has had in a while. It's got replayability, variation, and – most importantly – fun in spades. We don't think that we can make this any more clear – this game Derules.