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 karaoke game featuring songs from Disney's High School Musical movies, so familiarity with the movies is pretty much essential. The content is squeaky clean, and the story enforces themes like breaking down social cliques, working together, and being yourself in the face of peer pressure.
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What's it about?
Unlike the previously released High School Musical: Makin' the Cut DS game in which players tap buttons in time to the music, with HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: SING IT! (for the Wii and the PS2), players actually sing along to 30 tracks from High School Musical and High School Musical 2 (plus a few unlockable bonus tracks from other Disney properties like The Cheetah Girls). Using the included microphone, players try to match the pitch, rhythm, and lyrics that scroll across the screen as the song plays in the background. The game provides visuals to help you figure out when your pitch is in tune.
Is it any good?
Where Sing It! differs from other karaoke video games is that players are not penalized for singing "badly" -- that is to say, the song won't grind to a halt halfway through with the suggestion to go back and try it again. Even if the singer makes mistakes -- or doesn't sing at all -- they'll still get to advance to the next song. This twist certainly takes the stress out of singing, and it also means that people who simply feel like sitting back and listening to the songs can do so.
However, performing well does have its rewards. The higher the score, the more lively the characters and the audience will look, and you'll be able to unlock fun extras like new songs and character outfits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether singing karaoke makes them feel more confident as performers. Would you ever feel comfortable performing in front of a big audience? Do you prefer singing solo, or with friends? Has the game taught you anything about how to be a better singer?
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