2023 is on the horizon, which, as it turns out, is an entirely different year to 2022, so naturally we've got a brand new Just Dance game to review. Yep, it's time for the annual update to Ubisoft's long-running franchise and, although it's tempting to simply cut-and-paste last year's review in here — these games really don't change much beyond the playlist from version to version — it turns out there's actually been a few meaningful changes made this time around.
First things first, and the best bit of news for us personally, is that you can now turn off the constant notifications and adverts for the Just Dance+ subscription service. If you remember Just Dance 2022, this was one of the most frustrating aspects of last year's effort, with constant reminders that you didn't have all the content on offer, even though you'd just forked out fifty quid for the game (which, incidentally, isn't getting a physical release this year — beware of those codes-in-boxes!). It's great to see Ubisoft recognise that people probably don't want to be pushed to spend more cash every time they tune in for a quick bop or workout.
Moving on from this and the whole thing has also been given a nice facelift, with streamlined menus that feel better to navigate than previous entries, plus an overhauled graphical style that, while still a bit strange-looking, is a definite improvement on the eerie-looking dancers from years gone by.
There's a new online mode, too, which allows you to battle against five other players (just make sure you're not wiggling your Joy-Con around and cheating the system), and Enter The DanceVerses, a narrative-driven mode, gives you a reason to play songs you might otherwise skip by telling a story of dance heroes and villains between tracks that will be getting added to as the months pass by.
Ubisoft has also seen fit to give the customisation options a good overhaul. There are now tons of goodies for you to unlock as you make progress. You can jump into your locker room and change avatars, backgrounds, borders, badges, emotes, and more, plus there's a whole bunch of goals and checklists to complete and tick off as you improve your skills. Songs have also been split into handy categories for 2023, meaning you can easily jump into workout hits, party anthems, or some nice chilled-out stuff for a more relaxing play session.
In terms of tracks, you're getting a decent core offering of 40 upfront here, with the game's subscription service offering an absolute ton more if you decide to stump up for it. You can check out the full track listing right here, and so far we're really enjoying jiving along to Britney Spears' Toxic, Justin Timberlake's superb Can't Stop the Feeling, and the magnificent Telephone featuring Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Oh, and BTS are in the mix this year, so their legions of fans should be satisfied with that.
Overall then, it's a decent outing for Just Dance 2023, a definite improvement on what's come before and a far less annoying version of the game than what we were served up in 2022. If you're not a fan of the series, there's still nothing here that's really gonna change your mind — it's still exactly the same dance mechanics at the core of proceedings — but, if it's your cup of tea, this is as good a time as we've had with this franchise thus far.