Amateur crooners who have been singing songs from “High School Musical” in the shower and car can finally come out of hiding. “High School Musical: Sing It!,” the new karaoke videogame from Disney Interactive, delivers exactly what it promises and not much more: It’s an interactive collection of all the songs from the 2006 telepic and its 2007 sequel, as well as enough unlockable content to keep kids crooning. There’s little here that hasn’t been seen in dozens of other karaoke videogames, but the hook of singing like “HSM” stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens will likely prove more than enough to ensure solid sales among the pre-teen set.
Like any other karaoke videogame, “High School Musical: Sing It!” uses a microphone (included with the game) to measure the player’s pitch. In fact, it’s entirely possible to wail like a wounded coyote and still get a high score, so long as the wailing is in pitch. For players inclined to actually sing the lyrics, the words scroll along the bottom of the screen.
Most important for “HSM” devotees, animated doppelgangers of the entire cast appear onscreen with the tunes, singing and dancing along with players.
“High School Musical” can be played as single songs, multiplayer tournaments or as a story. Latter mode traces the plot of the first movie, a sanitized “Romeo & Juliet” in which a basketball jock and a science geek buck peer pressure to come together in the school musical. It’s the game’s weakest element however, since it tracks the same story most players will know by heart and because there’s no way to save progress. Those who want to see leads Troy and Gabriella live happily ever after will have to sing about a dozen songs in one session.
“High School Musical’s” song list studiously avoids anything lyrically suggestive, opting instead for typical kid empowerment stuff. And, as any parent who’s tapped his or her foot to the Latin rhythm of ‘Bop to the Top’ can attest, some of these songs are actually catchy.
As far as the interface goes, the menu to set up games is cluttered and fussy, and it’s a hassle to navigate with the Wii’s controller. But for the most part, the presentation is colorful and bubbly. The cartoonish animation and backgrounds are lively (in fact, a little too lively, given that the busy graphics can get in the way of following the lyrics).
The game fosters a sense of progression by setting easily attainable goals to unlock songs, new costumes and characters and additional backgrounds. Extras include footage of a dance rehearsal as well as a dance-along video in which the “HSM” cast choreographs a number for viewers to learn.