Move It Mama Monday! Just Dance 2!!!!!

If you read any of my tweets last Wednesday, you know I finally got my copy of Just Dance 2, and that I started playing it just as soon as I could tear the wrapper off. Hubster and the kids and I got right to it, jumping in with James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” I kid you not, Just Dance is a terrific game, but Just Dance 2 really kicks things up a few notches. The dance routines are more challenging, though the motion detection seems to be better at catching your moves. The songs are terrific, although there are one or two that I’m not as likely to play, unlike the original game. But that’s okay, because Just Dance 2 offers the option of downloading new songs from an online store! We haven’t downloaded the first song yet, but it’s a Katie Perry song, and given how much Pixie loves “Hot & Cold” in Just Dance, I’m certain we’ll be downloading this new song very soon.

Other things to like about the new version of Just Dance. There’s a “Sweat Mode” that tracks your level of effort as you dance. You’re given the option of easy, medium or hard levels which set a goal is “sweat points” for you to achieve in a week. Then you get to pick which songs you want to dance to and the game lets you know how hard you worked after each song. I like this a lot, except for the fact that the game is tracking effort level in sweat points as opposed to estimated calories burned. I have no idea how many calories a sweat point is worth, and that’s what I usually go by in other programs like Wii Fit Plus or Gold’s Gym Dance Workout. But since I am soaking wet by the time I’ve danced to a few songs, I’m pretty certain I’m burning enough calories to maintain my level of fitness and my weight.

There’s also an “endless shuffle” mode in Just Dance 2. Endless shuffle selects the songs at random and keeps playing them until you finally tell the game to stop. It’s a good way to work through all the songs and saves on time spent arguing over which song to play next (something that happens quite frequently when I play with the girls).

There are also various challenge modes so players can compete against each other, just like in the original game. We haven’t bothered with these yet and probably won’t. Our goal when we play is to get everybody up and moving, not necessarily to see who’s the best at dancing. This lets everyone play as much as they want, and gives an individual the option of sitting out on a particular song if you like. We sometimes have 5 people dancing at any given time, since we often play when Mich comes over for dinner. That means 4 of us will have Wii-motes and the fifth will just dance along. Usually one of the girls will drop out for a bit and pass their Wii-mote on to whichever adult doesn’t have one, so it works out.

Other notes – you can set your own name in the game, or just go with whatever name the game assigns, like Funky or Sunny or Baby. I ended up putting a name in for me when I set up the Sweat Mode for the first time. You can change names at any point if you hand off the Wii-mote to someone else, like we tend to do. There’s also a few songs that are done as duets. These are nicely choreographed, so that dancers are actually dancing with each other as well as interacting with the game. The girls in particular like April Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” which includes a few cat-fight like moves in it. The animation and graphics are really nice too. “Cosmic Girl” and “Monster Mash” have some fun animations in them that really add to the song.

So over all, we really, really enjoy the game. In fact, I only have two criticisms of it. First, it looks like only one person at a time can play the Sweat Mode. I’ll have to double check to be certain, but on my first try, I couldn’t see a way to log in Pixie so she could play with me (not that she needs to sweat, being the skinny little four-year-old imp that she is).

My second criticism, and this one is big, is that the game includes a song that is not suitable for kids. The song “Tik-Tok” is definitely not a kid friendly song, and if Hubster hadn’t recognized it when he saw it on the play list, chances are good I would have played it while the kids were around and regretted it later. I’m not saying Just Dance 2 should not include more adult songs, but a rating on the song or an option to play the game in endless shuffle mode without including adults-only songs would have been nice.

Otherwise though, the game is good! We played on Friday night for 90 minutes and we were all dripping with sweat and having a good time. I highly recommend both versions of the game, but Just Dance 2 is definitely an improvement on an already good game.

Move It Mama Monday! For your information…

Just so you know…

After a couple of weeks with the new Vibram shoes, I am now running up to 5 minutes at a time, with a minute of walking in between. I still get sore in my calves, but again, knee and hip pain is at a minimum.

Just Dance 2 comes out this October! Up to 40 new songs and apparently 8 people can play at a time, though I don’t know all the details on it yet. I will say that if James Brown’s “I Feel Good” isn’t one of those new songs, I will be sorely disappointed, especially after seeing this promo video.

Finally, an hour-long B-52s concert counts as three cardio-vascular workouts, so this mama does not plan to move anything today. I shook my cosmic thing so hard last night, I wore it out.

And that’s the news on the Move It Mama Monday front for this week. Ciao!

Move It Mama Monday! Me and my Wii games

You may have noticed there was no Move It Mama Monday post last week. That’s because I was 3/4ths dead after getting through RavenCon and Spring break with my parents visiting.

But it’s a new week now and I finally feel human again, so I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. And part of getting back into the swing means me evaluating what I want to do exercise-wise.

Lately, I’ve been spending more and more time on Wii Fit Plus with the occasional round of Just Dance. In fact, on Friday evening, we had a friend, Mich, come over for dinner and after eating quiche and pie and ice cream, we all decided we needed to work off a few calories. So we popped in the Just Dance game and 45 minutes later we had a room full of sweaty, exhausted people. I think we danced to about 13 songs, each running a little over 3 minutes. Hubster was so sweat-soaked, he had to change clothes afterward. Fortunately, Mich and I recalled previous bouts of Just Dance and dressed for the evening in sports bras, t-shirts, and sweat pants.

So Just Dance is on my list of favorites right now, but it’s a game I prefer to play with other people. Not as much fun doing it by myself. Wii Fit Plus is ideal to do by myself, but I’m hitting game fatigue with that one, having played it so much lately.

I’d like to get back into EA Sports Active again, but can’t until I get a new exercise band and some gloves. I’ve ordered said items and they should show up in a week or so, so that will take care of that problem. I’ve also gone ahead and ordered Walk It Out! because I’m itching to try a new game. I’m hoping this will keep my active and entertained through the summer, when it’s harder for me to get to the Y because the kids are home.

There’s one new game coming out next month that I’m very curious about – All Star Karate. It looks like the first Wii exercise game I’ve seen that actually combines some story-telling with the workout aspect. The screen captures on Amazon make me think this will be a decent workout, akin to Gold’s Gym Cardio, but with more variety. However, I’m a little put off by the feature of being able to “slap sensei whenever he nods off.” Being a black belt, I can tell you the last thing you want to try is to slap the instructor. Whoever came up with that feature of the game obviously knows jack shit about karate.

But, I may still get the game next month or in June, since it does boast other appealing features like being able to program your own katas. In the mean time, I’m going to try to get back into EASA and see how Walk It Out! works. I’ll post a review on the later when I’ve had a chance to play with it for a while.