There are few series out there for games consoles that carry the weight and reputation of the Just Dance saga. Having been around for a good number of years now, Just Dance has sold millions of copies and exists as a highly entertaining series for multiple platforms. It has graced consoles like the Nintendo Wii, the Playstation, and the Xbox and appeals to a huge range of gamers because of the huge variation of genres that each title in the series includes. It doesn't get more specific than the field of Disney however, and it is this legendary and ubiquitous franchise is precisely the ticket that Ubisoft have taken to bring us Just Dance: Disney Party. That's right, for all the children out there that grew up with the likes of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, as well as fully-grown adults that simply can't let go of the past or refuse to accept the ageing process, this game offers up the chance to experience the Just Dance series just as you have always known it, only with an exclusively Walt Disney-based twist.
It is both the Wii and Xbox 360 that are beneficiaries of the Just Dance: Disney Party fame, and both consoles offer up quite a fantastic experience with some energetic gameplay that other games such as Dance on Broadway just don't deliver. In the context of the rest of the Just Dance series, Disney Party is actually identical in its gameplay to previous titles such as the original and Just Dance 3 reviewed here. You've got some pretty energetic and vibrant on-screen dance instructors that perform the moves that you must try and follow with as much likeness as possible, plus you have static diagrams that also attempt to hint at the upcoming moves. The idea is to earn points by dancing accurately and as you earn points you gain 'energy'. You are then judged at the end of the song by a star system that awards you a quantity of stars that depends on how many points you managed to amass during each song.
Much unlike the disappointing attempt at a niche market displayed in Dance on Broadway, Disney Party has a satisfying variety of game modes for players to enjoy. Dance Mode and Team Dance Mode allows you to dance along to individual songs either by yourself or up to three other players. A perfect testament to the delightful nature of this game is its 'Freeze and Shake' mode which feels a little like musical chairs but instead of stopping and sitting down you simply stop your dance and shake around (or wiggle the Wii remote if you're playing on the Wii) in order to earn bonus points; the air of unpredictability injected into the game by this mode is hugely entertaining and unique. Balloon Pop mode is another variation that entails inflating a balloon to bursting point with accurate dance moves resulting in more air being blown into it. There are also two further modes that let you either dance through a playlist or shuffle through the songs at random.
No matter what selection of songs developers Land Ho! Used here, they were always going to be considered very highly because Disney is such a widely-loved franchise. You've got numbers from Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Camp Rock. While in other Just Dance games players may be a little reluctant to join in when their less-preferred genres pop up, it is in the nature of Disney songs for them to be inherently energetic and full of life, inspiring even the most sceptical of people to join in. The songs are also all originals: no cover versions or second-rate renditions here.
The graphics are also impressive considering the limitations of the Nintendo Wii. Live dancers are actually used as opposed to 3D-rendered models, and each song has its own particular venue with notable features from each particular song's Disney story featuring boldly. The audio is, well, the highest quality it can be because of the original nature of all of the performances.
Just Dance: Disney Party may sound like a nightmare for adults that have outgrown their inner child but for those that still like to have fun and for children everywhere, this game is the very best child-oriented game of the series thus far. It's a shame there aren't more songs in the form of a pre-approved DLC list, but this restriction is in the interest of concerned parents needing to keep an eye on the content of what is still a game for the younger persons. Overall, Just Dance: Disney Party is truly a fantastic triumph for the series with more energy than most of its competitors.