Music To My Ears

HIGH Versatile songs and lively dance moves to master.

LOW The subscription necessary for the best songs.

WTF Make It Jingle made me want to learn to twerk.


Just Dance 2020 is a high energy rhythm game that provides hours of entertainment for the whole family.  Released just prior to 2020, it offered 500+ exciting songs to dance and move to when I needed it most.  However, there’s certainly a groove for everyone in this simple-to-understand title, making it suitable for all ages and demographics with vibrant colors, entertaining characters, and sharp visuals.

To play Just Dance, the player moves their body to match the incoming dance moves on screen.  The game tracks this using a Switch controller, a Kinect sensor, or a Just Dance smartphone app.  The more accurate a player is, the more points they will score for each individual dance move.  At the end of each song, the goal is to achieve “Megastar” status by earning 12,000 points or more, though being a “Superstar” at 11,000 points isn’t too shabby either.  The more songs a player completes, the more points they earn, and the more virtual collectible items they are able to unlock in the game overall.

Past the tutorial, the player can see their song selections and choose one that is perfect for not only their music taste, but also for their skill level… or shall I say, “commitment” level.  JD2020 is suitable for those who want to go HARD and tear up the living room with their moves, and also for the casual dancer who’s in it to burn a few calories and spend time with friends – up to five of them at a time, to be precise.  Either way, the lively onscreen characters help the player learn the moves with ease, and they’re typically repeated to help the player nail the routine.

My personal experience with Just Dance 2020 came at a time where I can confidently say that we all needed a little extra motivation.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult for many people including myself, but this game was refreshing enough to pull me out of that quarantine funk.  When I was too tired of Zoom, hadn’t gotten dressed in four days, or just found myself bored of the same shows on Netflix, Make it Jingle by Big Freedia saved the day.  I spent hours learning new songs and moves, and getting my heart rate up with Sweat mode, which tracks your calories burnt during a play session.  It was the perfect way to feel productive and accomplished for giving what I’m sure was the performance of a lifetime… at 4pm on a Tuesday.

Among Just Dance 2020’s other benefits are custom playlists, Kids mode, and the notorious gumball machine. 

With the 2020 edition, the player can use the custom playlist feature to tailor the 500+ songs to their liking.  Kids mode screens through the selections on offer to show only child-appropriate language and dance moves.  The gumball machine lets players unlock stickers which represent iconic moments from Just Dance history.  As someone who used to play at middle school sleepovers, I enjoyed this motivational feature and couldn’t help but feel pleasantly nostalgic with each successful dance I completed.

Unfortunately, JD2020 isn’t a perfect game, and the reason is Just Dance Unlimited.  This is a new subscription that accompanies the game, and a one-month trial is included with every purchase.  This feature unlocks every song in the game and allows the player to explore hundreds of different dance and music styles.  The problem?  Once the free month was over, I was left with a sad selection of songs and all of my favorites were locked away.  It’s obviously a brilliant money-making move from the Just Dance team, but it means the game will be sad for casual dancers who don’t feel that playing a couple times a month is worth the full subscription.  For reference, a year of Just Dance Unlimited costs $24.99.  For three months the price is $9.99, and for one month, $3.99.  For the casual dancer, a 24 hour subscription is also available at $2.99, though it is obviously a better value to go for the longer subcriptions.

Overall though, this game was the best $20 I ever spent during the pandemic, and it provided not only hours of enjoyment, but a little exercise when I needed it most.  It’s flirty, active, diverse, and the perfect activity for a rainy day.  For dancers age 10 or age 60, finding rhythm is delightful with Just Dance 2020.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

– Madelyn Holthouse


Disclosures: This game is developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft. It is currently available on Wii, PS4, Switch, and XBO.  This copy of the game was obtained via retail store and reviewed on the Switch.  Approximately 14 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed.  10 hours of play were spent in multi-player modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Mild Lyrics, and Mild Suggestive Themes.  The official ESRB description reads as follows: This is a music-rhythm dance simulation game in which players perform choreographed routines by following the movements of on-screen characters. Players score points by accurately moving their bodies in time to the music and scrolling indicators. One dance sequence depicts a female character wearing hot pants that display moderate amounts of buttocks. Some song lyrics contain references to alcohol (e.g., “Sippin gin and juice”; “Have a drink, clink, found the Bud Light”; “Voli’s the new vodka”). A handful of songs contain suggestive material (e.g., “I’m that bad type/…Might seduce your dad type”; No broads I like my/women/Sexy classy sassy”).

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles.The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized.  Not all audio cues are accompanied by visual cues, but pictogrammes are included to help players execute choreography.  This game will be playable, but significantly more difficult on mute.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. This game does not offer a controller map diagram, but you can scroll to pick songs with the stick and select songs with A.  The movement for each dance is captured just by moving the controller itself.

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