Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: November 4, 2021
Just Dance 2022 is the same old rhythm game you’ve been playing for years. But this year’s version comes with 40 new songs, a host of new universes and some truly transformative choreography. Our Just Dance 2022 review covers the game’s new hits, best tracks, coolest universes and most intense dances.
Just Dance 2022 review: Gameplay
Just Dance 2022’s gameplay doesn't provide a ton of surprises if you’ve played other games in the series before. The dancer silhouettes seem a bit clearer than in previous years, making it easier to follow certain moves where limbs or bodies overlap. Other than that, the gameplay is ultimately the same as it was in Just Dance 2020 and 2021.
However, the Just Dance gameplay blueprint is still wonderful. It’s easy to pick a song and get started, and the dancing starts almost immediately. The thoughtful choreographies make it easy for non-dancers to pick up the game, but it’s easy to level up once you’ve started improving.
One of the standout new songs is “Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra, which features an incredible visual journey through the trees in a stop-motion animation style. The “Mr. Blue Sky” choreography is simple but fun. As the camera moves to follow your character, you feel like you’re soaring around your living room.
Another favorite at my sister’s bachelorette party — where I debuted the game for her and her friends — was the iconic dance to “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish. I watched as my sister and her friend thrashed about to the emotional choreography, which provides a good stretch for the shoulders and back. "Happier Than Ever" incorporates everything that's great about Just Dance. Of course, it’s fun to watch your friends dance badly, but it’s also fun to dance badly yourself. “Chacarron” by El Chombo was also a hit, which ended up stuck in our heads all weekend. It was a perfect warm-up or cooldown song for when I was working out alone.
I played a good amount of Just Dance 2022 by myself, telling my boyfriend he was strictly prohibited from coming downstairs while I danced. (However, it wasn’t long until we were fumbling through partner dances together.) The first time I played, I was so excited about the new songs that I put on a playlist and sweated it out for about an hour straight. With plenty of easy songs to mix in between harder tracks, I got a solid workout while still getting decent scores, and feeling good about my dancing overall.
Just Dance 2022 review: Accessibility
It’s no secret that Just Dance’s scoring technology is somewhat flawed. It’s easy to shake the controller to the beat and get great scores despite the fact that you haven’t danced — but that flaw revealed another user-friendly aspect of the game. Just Dance 2022 is widely accessible for people who use wheelchairs, or have other physical disabilities. Other dance games generally aren't as accommodating. There are even choreographies where dancers remain seated throughout, focusing only on arm movements.
Although I appreciated the accessibility features, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of body diversity in the game. There are tracks with larger bodies as the main dancer on Just Dance Unlimited, which comes with some versions of Just Dance 2022, and requires a subscription. However, all of the new songs feature tall, thin dancer silhouettes. It’s time to see some different body types, since real-life dancers (and Just Dance players) come in all shapes and sizes.
Just Dance 2022 review: Sweat mode and Kids mode
Just Dance introduced Sweat mode last year, and the feature has remained the same in Just Dance 2022. Instead of giving you a score after you complete a song, the game calculates approximately how many calories you’ve burned. This mode is great if you like to track calories while working out, but you get the same workout in normal mode. Personally, I found Sweat mode unnecessary and a bit frustrating, since dancing burns calories a lot slower than you might think.
The Just Dance workout itself is full-body, and can be a suitable replacement for running or other cardio. I skipped a run in place of Just Dance 2022 on one of the first cold days of the year, and felt almost equally satisfied afterwards. Using the game as a workout is also great for your mental health and confidence, since it forces you out of your comfort zone a bit. Dancing to the beat can also flood you with endorphins.
Even if you’re an experienced dancer, you know that you don’t learn dances by simply mirroring someone as they perform. As such, the speed of the choreo should keep your heart rate up, no matter your experience level. I found myself reconnecting with my high school dancer self in songs such as “Chandelier” by SIA and “BOOMBAYAH” by Blackpink. This is partially because I was sweating my butt off, and partially because they made me like the way I felt while dancing.
Kids mode is filled with fun songs that dancers of any age can enjoy. The environments are bright and colorful, and will definitely keep little ones intrigued. The dances are also accessible for small kids, which the Just Dance series has always done well. But without a Just Dance Unlimited subscription, there are only a few options.
If your kids are a bit older, they’ll be happy with the normal mode songs, plenty of which are viral TikTok tracks or famous pop tunes. The likes of “Mood” by 24kGoldn and “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo are bound to get the kids off the couch.
Just Dance 2022 review: Just Dance Unlimited
A Just Dance Unlimited subscription is an absolute must-have if you plan on playing Just Dance 2022 for more than a few hours. A 13-month subscription comes with the Unlimited Edition of the game, which retails for $75. Every copy of Just Dance 2022 comes with at least one month of Unlimited, but you have to sign up for a Ubisoft Connect account to access it.
Once you’ve set up Unlimited, the world of Just Dance is your oyster. You’ll have access to the entire Just Dance library of songs, some of which are still the soundtracks to viral TikTok videos. I’m not sure if I would buy Just Dance 2022 without an Unlimited subscription, but I would absolutely still play it.
Just Dance 2022 review: Verdict
While playing Just Dance 2022, I sweated a lot and laughed so much — even when I was dancing in an empty house, alone. If that isn’t an endorsement of this joyful game, I’m not sure what is. This year's model doesn't have many new features, but that’s OK. The concept of Just Dance is wonderful already. Although I hope for more diverse character models in the next version, I’m happy to have a new set of songs to facilitate home workouts, bachelorette parties and hangouts with friends.