A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a Nintendo DS game based on the movie High School Musical 3. It doesn't have a storyline, but rather scrolls through a series of rhythm games and quizzes. It shows cartoon versions of the HSM3 stars dancing and playing sports, although some photos of the stars are used as well.
What's it about?
As the stars of the film High School Musical 3 (HSM3) head into their senior year, they need your help to make the best Wildcat yearbook ever in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR, a Nintendo DS exclusive game. By playing rhythm games, winning mini-games, and answering personality quizzes, you unlock photos, memorabilia, and autographs to fill up the yearbook. Plus, the game features nine songs from the High School Musical 3 soundtrack.
While the game menu offers a "Story" mode, there isn't any story. Instead, you play through 25 activities that rotate between rhythm games and quizzes. When you finish one, the next activity opens. The rhythm games can be played on two different levels of difficulty. In the Junior Varsity level, your goal is to rotate a pie-shaped icon on its axis so that its wide end faces a string of music that is weaving its way around the screen. The music looks like a necklace of long cylindrical beads. If you line the pie-shaped icon up correctly, the music will pass over the shape and continue to the axis point where a smiley face sits and appears to eat the music, thereby earning you points. In the Varsity level, you must not only rotate the pie-shaped icon, but you must also hit any button (on the multi-directional keypad or the face buttons) when the beads are going into the smiley face's mouth and hold it down for the duration of the length of the bead. Mixed in with these pie-piece puzzles are other rhythm games involving tapping icons and rotating flowers. The quizzes are a series of questions about hypothetical situations that help you to learn about yourself and also identify which of the HSM3 stars you are most like. For example, you may be asked a series of questions about whether you like to be in charge or would rather be a part of a group.
Is it any good?
Fans of HSM3 will enjoy playing these rhythm games while listening to the music from the movie. And these rhythm games are different from earlier rhythm games like Elite Beat Agents or High School Musical: Makin' the Cut because of the unique rotate-the-piece-of-pie-around-its-axis gameplay. But the lack of a storyline to sustain your interest in the game is sorely missed.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year has a multiplayer mode where best friends can see how well they know each other by taking quizzes, but unfortunately, they both have to own a copy of the game for that gameplay to work. The game does support DGamer, so kids can go online using their Nintendo DS to chat with friends, create avatars, and exchange gifts with other HSM3 fans. Plus the DS can be used as an MP3 player to listen to the songs with headphones while in a closed position.