Before I begin, it is only fair I make a confession â€“ I am not an impartial reviewer.
Not only did I see High School Musical 3 in theatres, but I went to the first screening. I booked our tickets online a week early, to get good seats. When the title came up I cheered â€“ and was met with stony silence by a theatre full of ten year olds. Oh, except for the few who laughed at me.
Iâ€™m 24, well above the target market for the High School Musical franchise â€“ and yes, it is a franchise. Talking dolls, clothing, lipstick, singing pensâ€¦name an item and someone, somewhere, will have slapped Zac Efronâ€™s androgynous face on it.
If your eyebrows are raised with disapproval of my High School Musical affection then I can assure you that this game has nothing to offer you. Despite this, I am aware that even the most anti-HSMers have siblings, cousins, childrenâ€¦all without disposable income. Should you put your hard-earned cash down for this game, or get them a My Little Pony instead?
I suppose I am a child at heart, and so it was with much excitement that I took home Sing It: High School Musical 3: Senior Year (or SI:HSM3:SY â€“ there should be rules against that many colons in a title).
I have to admit I was concerned when I saw that there were only twenty songs. I could tell you without having to count that there are thirty-three songs spread over the three films. I incorrectly assumed that they had just not included the ones that are not suited to karaoke.
This is not the case. I Want it All, for example, is fun to watch â€“ the choreography and costumes are Disney-tastic â€“ but with all of the breathy whispering and banter between the leads, you spend far too much time watching the screen with nothing to do. On the flip-side they have left off songs that could actually work, like Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. Apologies to non-fans who just tried to pronounce that in their heads.
The game shares many similarities with the recent Disney Sing It - the gameplay is exactly the same, the cover art is almost identical, and there are even seven songs that appear in both games. What a fun coincidence, eh? If you do the math on that one, this game offers only thirteen new tunes. It makes fabulous fiscal sense for the Disney head-honchos, but it isnâ€™t very fair. If they were going to include songs that arenâ€™t fun to sing then they should have done the fans a favour and made every song available.
For those who have managed to avoid the movies, they centre around a main couple (Troy and Gabriella) and a bunch of their friends (coupled off into matching pairs, including the vaguely incestuous brother-sister duo). This means that this game is mostly constructed of duets, which you can sing in parts as intended, or head-to-head in Versus mode.
Versus mode in a duet means that both players sing both parts. Switching between high and low every second line can be a fun vocal challenge (and really amusing for other people to listen to). It becomes problematic in the lines that both parts sing simultaneously â€“ as you just have to guess if youâ€™re singing soprano or baritone. Sticking with duet mode has its pitfalls too â€“ most of the duets are uneven, so if you are unfortunate enough to get stuck with â€˜the boy partâ€™ you spend most of the song providing â€˜oh yeahâ€™s for your partner.
With the problematic gameplay, itâ€™s more fun to just watch the movies with the subtitles on and sing along. Unfortunately Sing It: High School Musical 3: Senior Year is similar to the talking dolls - peppy and nice to look at, but ultimately hollow.
High School Musical: Start of Something New
High School Musical: Getcha Head in the Game
High School Musical: Bop to the Top
High School Musical: Stick to the Status Quo
High School Musical: When It Was Me and You
High School Musical: Breaking Free
High School Musical: Weâ€™re All In This Together
High School Musical 2: What Time Is It
High School Musical 2: Fabulous
High School Musical 2: You are the Music in Me
High School Musical 2: Gotta Go My Own Way
High School Musical 2: Everyday
High School Musical 2: All For One
High School Musical 3: I Want It All
High School Musical 3: Can I Have This Dance
High School Musical 3: Just Wanna Be With You
High School Musical 3: A Night to Remember
High School Musical 3: The Boys are Back
High School Musical 3: Walk Away
High School Musical 3: High School Musical
Written by Kate Arrowsmith