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 game features songs and characters from two Disney Channel High School Musical movies. While there is a light story showcasing the movies' stars, this game is about playing rhythm puzzles while listening to the movie soundtracks. The content is as clean as the popular tween movies, but keep in mind that this game is part of what Disney does best: churning out all kinds of tie-in products, from the stars' solo CDs to dolls, magnets, etc.
What's it about?
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: MAKIN' THE CUT for Nintendo DS is a musical rhythm game featuring 12 songs from the two Disney Channel movies: High School Musical and its sequel High School Musical 2.
The 12 songs are the background music while you play 12 rhythm puzzles, each of which can be played on four levels of difficulty. The game offers four modes of play: story, quickplay, video studio, and multiplayer. In the story mode, a weak narrative, with photos of High School Musical stars Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad, and Taylor, explains that they need your help as they travel to four locations to compete for the title of "Best Youth Musical in America."
Is it any good?
This gameplay isn't novel; in fact, it's a clone of the 2006 hit DS title Elite Beat Agents. For kids who have never experienced this type of rhythm puzzle play, it will be fun at first. But unlike Elite Beat Agents, this game only has the musical puzzles and doesn't boast a strong storyline to sustain your interest. Your motivation is simply to better your score and unlock new outfits or locations for the performances.
The bottom line: For fans of the movies, High School Musical: Makin' the Cut is a fun way to play rhythm puzzles while listening to the songs they love. But eventually the gameplay loses its novelty.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how High School Musical has become a phenomenon. Did you want to buy this because you love the movies? Does all the HSM merchandise ever seem like overkill, or never enough? Do you mind that there isn't much of a story in this game? When you play, is it more fun to compete with yourself for a better grade or against a friend?
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