No genre has tapped the full potential of Kinect like the dance genre, and Ubisoft's "Just Dance" franchise continues to be at the forefront of the revolution. "Just Dance 4," the latest in the series, arrives with a ton of new tracks and moves that keep the party rocking, as well as an improved single-player experience.
A dance game is only as good as its track list, and "Just Dance 4" features more than 40 hits from today and yesterday, from Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" to "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis. The choreography for each song is simple to learn and fun to move to, and some tracks even feature alternate routines that up the difficulty.
Fans of the series should be able to jump right in to "Just Dance 4" as the game doesn't offer any wholesale changes to its successful formula. You can challenge your friends in head-to-head multiplayer dance battles and share the stage with others on some tracks in crew mode, or simply pick your favorite tracks and dance your worries away. Those looking for a real challenge can jump into the Just Sweat mode, which lets you create customized workout sessions and tracks how many calories you've burned.
There are plenty of options for Kinect owners when it comes to picking a dance game, but "Just Dance 4" is the most complete package available. Whether you're a dancing machine or have two left feet, there's a ton of fun to be had with "Just Dance 4."
"Nike+ Kinect Training"
Developer: Sumo Digital Ltd. Publisher: Microsoft Studios. Rating: E for everyone. Score: 8.4/10.
Nike long ago changed the way athletes dress. Now it is attempting to change the way athlete train and track their fitness through its Nike+ program. Initially designed for runners, Nike+ monitors your progress across a number of sports and everyday activities and quantifies your results with a Nike Fuel score.
Nike has partnered with Microsoft to bring the Nike+ experience to Xbox owners through "Nike+ Kinect Training" and the results are nothing less than amazing. After an initial fitness assessment, the game creates a custom workout plan designed to help you meet your goals. You can choose how long and how often you want to work out, and "Nike+ Kinect Training" does the rest. The game tracks your progress after each session and gives you an update on your overall fitness every four weeks. Based on how well you've performed, the game picks new, more advanced drills to help you continue on your road to fitness.
And for those willing to stick to the program and give an honest effort, "Nike+ Kinect Training" does produce results. After my first 30-minute session of running in place, push-ups, squats and lunges, I was feeling the burn. After the second day of more running, stretching and squatting, I was beginning to second-guess whether reviewing the game was still such a good idea. And after the first week, I was sore in muscles I had long ago forgotten I had, but also feeling more energized and wasn't struggling nearly as much to keep pace with my virtual trainer. The Kinect sensor did a very good job of tracking my movements and though there were occasional hiccups, none ruined the overall experience. It should also be noted that you'll need plenty of space in order to play "Nike+ Kinect Training."
With more than 100 drills, flexible scheduling options and a deep social component that includes leaderboards, the ability to work out with a friend via video chat and share your progress on Facebook, "Nike+ Kinect Training" is the best virtual trainer I've used. It may not beat going to the gym, but it's a great alternative for those looking to get in shape at home.