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 good, clean dance game based on the movie High School Musical 3 (HSM3), but it features music from all three movies. While this is a review of the Wii version, other versions for the Xbox 360, PS2, and the PC will be out in November.
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What's it about?
A big part of the draw of the High School Musical movies is the singing and dancing. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR DANCE!, the newest game for the Wii, allows fans to rock out to 29 songs from all three movies, with cartoon versions of Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad, and Taylor. While you dance holding the Wii remote, you see the musical numbers reenacted at the venues shown in the three High School Musical movies. You can also create your own Wildcat avatar and then choose which of the cast members you want the dance to feature. Plus, you can also take personality quizzes that help you to learn about yourself and let you compare your interests to those of the characters in the movies.
The game can be played in one- or two-player mode. In both, the main part of the gameplay is following onscreen cues about how to move the Wii remote and the nunchuk so that you can \"dance\" to the music and earn points. On the screen, you will see a large circular ring, broken into six parts. If you imagine this as a clock face, the parts of the ring are located at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 o'clock. Colored balls float from the center out toward the ring parts and as they pass over the part, you must flip the Wii remote or nunchuk in that direction to earn points. In addition to these arm movements, there are other actions, including poses and turns that earn points in the game. Additionally, one minigame has you pointing the Wii remote at the screen to collect floating balls of musical notes while avoiding red bubbles of badness. At the end of a dance, you are graded from A to F; and depending on how well you do, you will unlock new songs and earn clothing choices and accessories for the characters and your self-made avatar.
Is it any good?
High School Musical 3: Senior Year Dance! is a very physical game. The Wii controls work pretty well if you flip them hard enough. However, occasionally you will flip the controller in the correct direction just as the ball crosses the marker (as required) but get no score. That can be frustrating, but since the game is pretty forgiving in terms of overall score needed to unlock new content, this frustration doesn't ruin the game. The game can be played on three levels of difficulty, with the easiest being pretty straightforward and the hardest being devilishly challenging -- so there is something for everyone.
As with the Nintendo DS game based on this third High School Musical movie, this game has almost no storyline other than earning things to put into the Wildcat Yearbook. But in this situation, where you are playing simply to dance to the music of all three films, the storyline is not really missed. The multiplayer mode lets you dance competitively or cooperatively, with or against one other player.
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