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UBI Soft’s Just Dance 2; $34.95 from Amazon; Rated E

Pros: Very interactive; lots of great songs; easy to learn. Biggest plus: You can download up to 16 additional songs as of 12/28/2010 via an Internet connection (for a fee).

Cons: Some of the songs are not all kid-friendly. Different enough from the original Just Dance to frustrate said kids at times.

This review should have been up before Christmas since, if my Facebook friends are proof of a trend, most people have purchased the game already. Everyone, it seems, is having a ton of fun with this game. We’re among the having fun camp.

When we first got the game in the mail I couldn’t wait to rip it open. We’ve got the original game and have logged hours as a family playing it. All I knew about the new version is that it had 44 new songs. Whoohoo! I was jazzed about some of the old school stuff (Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” and the cover version of Madonna’s Holiday, for example) and my husband was SO excited about The Ting Tings’ “That’s Not My Name,” which he and Big Girl dance around to all the time.

When we turned it on we had to figure out which mode we wanted to play in: Just Dance, Dance Battle, or Just Sweat. We decided to go with Just Dance, which is most like the original — up to four people can dance and get scored on how well they match the on-screen instruction and examples. Instantly, we loved the fact that the menu shows exactly how long each song is in minutes and seconds and gives you an idea of how difficult the moves are and how strenuous they are. For instance, Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” is rated three for sweating and two for difficulty. We were able to steer away from the toughest songs for my 7- and 2-year-old until they got used to the new-ish format.

The dances, as in Just Dance 2′s predecessor, are challenging but fun. The on-screen graphics are easy to follow, and the moves are actual dance moves. Yes, some are very corny, but hey, this is Just Dance, after all! The songs are a nice mix of pop, rock, oldies, and rap, and although I think some of the songs are NOT appropriate for little ones (Pussycat Dolls, anyone?), I can’t really complain since there is a Just Dance Kids for the younger set.

Since I am an exercise buff I was really excited about the Just Sweat mode. The kids didn’t realize it, but I did: I could use this mode to see how many calories I was burning and it would force me to complete my daily routine. (Well, maybe not force, but shame.) Here, you can pick Mild (one song), Tough (3 songs), or Intense (6 songs) mode, and get a mini workout that’s fun and won’t become boring.

Overall, I am extremely happy with Just Dance 2. It is a game that I can see playing over and over again, especially with the added bonus of being able to download new songs as they come out. My only complaint: My husband is already better than I am at some songs. Not UBI Soft’s problem, though, right?

The bottle starts its journey: Waiting for the LIRR train to arrive

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