Today you can't see a teaser for a movie without there being a commercial for the videogame right around the corner. No matter if it's an action film for adults or a kid's movie, there almost always seems to be a videogame tie-in.
The latest in the long line of this trend is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. The question is – can this title avoid being lumped in with the usual lackluster tie-ins?
In the game, the player is on stage singing chipmunks' songs in various locations (25 concert locations in total). Your role as the player (up to three people can play at the same time) is to move your arms in different directions — up, down, sideways — in order to match the directional arrows on the screen. As you rock out and complete the songs, you win over adoring fans and secure points. Just like other rhythm-type games, when a player does well, he or she can unlock new venues as well as new songs. You also have the option to play with any of the different characters from the movie as the game progresses.
Game play features a large circle with different arrows around it. As the notes fly around the screen and pass though the arrows outside the circle, the player has to move the correct hand with the Wii remote or nunchuk in the direction the arrow points. If the controller moves in the right direction, your character keeps dancing on stage and you earn points. It's pretty simple, but can be challenging for younger kids.
During concert breaks, you will be launched into a mini-game where they have to move the Wii remote up and down to move your character inside a little bubble in order to grab notes that are flying by to earn bonus points. If you miss too many notes, the other players start calling your name and your character will eventually fall down on stage. During these sequences, you also have to try to avoid "equalizer pulses" as they move up and down the screen and collect stars while avoiding danger symbols – all of which help you rack up points.
This E-rated game is one my six-year-old could play without any major issues. She did, at times, have troubles with moving in the right direction due to the speed of the game, but that's more of a hand-eye issue than game play.
The feature my kids love the most is that once you have unlocked musical tracks, you can listen to them in jukebox mode. Since both of my kids are huge Alvin and The Chipmunks fans, this aspect is a huge hit.
The graphics are decent, but not blow your mind away awesome. However, they are on par with other offerings on the Wii, especially those titles which, like this one, are aimed at younger players.
Overall, this game fits in with the other titles meant for the whole family and brings a little bit of the movie into your living room. The title is a bit limited in its scope of game play, but as it's meant for a young crowd, that decision is an understandable one.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS.