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Clap Your Hands Together for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Rock the house with Alvin, Simon and Theodore as Alvin and The Chipmunks take to the stage to strut their stuff. There's 11 different concert locations to appear on and Grammy and American Music Award-winning tunes from The Chipmunks library of hits to sing your little Chipmunk heart out on.
Music is all important here, as is keeping the beat so that the songs sound like they should. The better you "perform," the more fans will flock to see you and the adoration will just increase all the good stuff around you. There's even three mini-games to break up the mood and create a bit of new tension for all concerned. And sure it makes sense that the game shouldn't give away too much about the sequel which is just around the corner, with the game taking the lead by being released first.
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Two Screens, No Waiting
As always, the best part of a game on the Nintendo DS is that you're not locked into a single screen - with one screen devoted to graphics while the other pushes you towards action (or touch-sensitive flicks if you prefer). Animation is fluid and there's none of the clunkiness that sometimes gets associated with small characters animated on a small gaming screen. Of course, that more applies to the past and a game on a NES than it does to the fair sized NIntendo DS screen or the horsepower its CPU puts out to keep things moving in the game.
Controls are easily understood and quickly assimilated - pretty duh for any age to figure out what the Control Pad does, but not so hard either to move through the songs using the Left and Right Buttons when the Jukebox mode calls for it. Of course the stylus does its job more than any button could. We wouldn't have it any other way.
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Warm Up the Vocals
In keeping with the themes of both the first and sequel films, music plays a large part in what the player can do. You're not so much "singing" (although you can freely do this if you want) as performing needed tasks to keep the band and music flowing properly. The Nintendo DS stylus is of course used extensively to do all this, amidst the graphics and sound emitting from the game. Keeping the tempo moving properly along requires fairly good reflexes - especially on the harder levels - and the songs themselves are both entertaining and well suited for the target audience. I have to say that those Chipmunks sure have better hair that I ever did, and boy is their clothing boss (does that term date me?). Can those little guys dance.
Graphics tend to become a bit difficult to see, due to the proliferation of characters and animation, but it's less a problem for the young than those looking over their shoulder. Bright colors and details make up for the difference - for example there's no way you'll confuse Theodore with one of the Chippettes. And yes, I prefer playing as the females who tend to be smarter than the males, regardless of species. Which isn't hurt by the ability to go into a multiplayer mode and hook up with three others who have the game through WiFi to see who's the better Chip, er, Monk, er Chipmunk. And is there anybody who doesn't smile when hearing a song that has been given the "Chipmunk" treatment.
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Play, Play, Okay, says Alvin
Repeatability and a free-styling game play is the big attraction for this game. Frustration is avoided since it's possible to repeat any of the songs "performed" featuring the Chipmunks or the Chippettes on in a duet with both of the bands. Beating the game in the Normal mode or "breaking" attendance records of fans in six venues brings on the Expert mode which unlocks a higher level of difficulty - but it can all be circumvented by going to the Jukebox mode and sitting back to listen to unlocked songs accompanied by music videos. Certainly there's a desire to succeed - but like Alvin himself, most of the fun comes from trying your best and not really worrying about the results. Would that the real world could allow this!