Michael Jackson: The Experience

January 18, 2011

I’m not much of a dancer, and yet dancing games can be a lot of fun. I have very little experience with Ubisoft’s immensely popular Just Dance series, but even what I have played doesn’t help show the appeal. Michael Jackson: The Experience is basically Just Dance: Michael Jackson Edition and it shows. From the interface to the control scheme, it’s hard to deny that this is a cheap cash-in through and through. 

Let’s get the good points out of the way: the game has a nice selection of both older and newer Michael Jackson songs to choose from, and the dance choreography is pretty much spot-on with the actual moves performed by Michael in music videos and concerts. The Michael Jackson stand-ins are great as well, and you really get the sense that, in terms of presentation, they wanted to be as authentic as possible.

The gameplay works just as the Just Dance games have before them. You hold the Wii Remote in your right hand and you follow the on-screen indicators to perform the dance moves. And just like with Just Dance, this interface never really works. You never get the sense you are dancing at all. Sure, you can go along with the dancer as much as you want, but the game is only detecting the motions of your right hand and nothing more, which means it can be very easy to cheat the game and score big without even trying.

I will admit, if you are able to look past all of that, it can be fun messing around with this game with friends. You will look ridiculous, but if you actually dance along with the game, it can be enjoyable at times. That does not excuse the poor implementation of the control scheme and the fact that it is less about actual dancing and more about waggle. 

You would think a game I actually had some fun with could at least be decent, right? This is a Just Dance game that has no improvements and does nothing spectacular with the license. Maybe the Xbox 360/Kinect version of this game will work properly, emulating Dance Central, but as it stands, this fails as a dancing game in almost every respect. 

It can be fun, sure, but it’s hard to look past the one large and glaring flaw that practically ruins the entire experience. You’re better off dancing to Michael Jackson videos by yourself than wasting money on this game. 

Pros: Nice selection of classic Michael Jackson tracks; can be fun with friends

Cons: The entire structure of the game is based on the movement of your right hand, which is less dancing and more waggle

Score: 2/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.