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High School Musical DVD Game

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Developer: Disney Interactive
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4; Team-based Play with Unlimited Players
Genre: Family/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

I recently discovered that reviewing a game for which you are not the target demographic is difficult and the opinions that are formulated might not necessarily reflect those for whom the game was designed. So, as I'd done once before, I requested some field support from my daughters, age 6 and 8, when I began reviewing the High School Musical DVD Game. With my stalwart companions by my side, I set off to test my knowledge of all things Wildcats related.

Based upon the hit Disney channel movie trilogy of the same name, the High School Musical DVD Game offers players a chance to participate in a series of mini-games which include songs, trivia, characters and themes familiar to all who have seen the movie(s). The Menu graphics do a good job representing the feel of the game without being over the top. My girls were easily able to identify characters and sets from the movies. Unlike The Hannah Montana DVD Game, this game did a nice job of sprucing up the graphics during gameplay as well. This was particularly noteworthy during the "Pep Rally" activity.

The background music is peppy and upbeat, and even if it is slightly repetitive, it keeps a good vibe going without becoming tedious too quickly. It would certainly be nice if games like this would include a looping background soundtrack consisting of more than one song, especially when they have such rich materials from which to pull. Many of the mini-games include voiceover prompts, as well as a few video snippets, and while there are no real "Wow" moments, both are handled equally well.


The gameplay in the High School Musical DVD Game is fairly straightforward. Simply place the DVD in your chosen player, computer or compatible gaming system, then wait for the Main Menu to appear - keep waiting, just a little bit more, go cook some dinner, take a short nap (come on Disney, why must we be subjected to 10 minutes of previews each and every time we want to play a game?). Once you finally arrive at the Main Menu, you are given four options: Quick Start, How To Play, Sneak Peeks, and Credits. If you have played The Hannah Montana DVD Game, these will look eerily similar. The "Quick Start" option allows players to immediately begin playing the games (see below for details). The "How To Play" option offers step-by-step narrated descriptions on how to play each game. However, this description is once again offered before you start each game, so including it at this point seems a bit unnecessary. "Sneak Peeks" gives access to 11 trailers/advertisements for various Disney products, many of which you may have sat through before the game began, and "Credits" is, well, the credits.

The game itself is broken into 11 mini-games. Of these, 6 can be played by 1-4 players, 2 are designed for 2-4 players and the final 3 are specifically meant for 4 or more contestants. The Main Game is a turn-based trivia game in which players take turns answering questions based upon the three movies. These questions are presented in both text-based and video clip form. The game is slow-paced and, while my co-reviewers could answer almost all of the questions, they did have some difficulty reading a few of them, so younger players may need some help from adults or older siblings. Other games for 1-4 players include "Prom Night", in which players are taught a series of dancing moves to songs from the movies, a memory challenge and several career placement quizzes. My daughters, who are our household equivalent of pop-stars, immediately gravitated to the "Center Stage" game, which is a karaoke-style sing-a-long featuring 7 songs from the trilogy.

The three games designed for 4 or more players are stylized versions of the classic board games Taboo, Charades and Pictionary. "Wildcat Tryouts" is the one game that really seems out of place. Participants in this game must shoot a series of five basketball shots, the winner being the one with the highest score after the rounds are completed. While not a bad game, it did not seem in line with the other games and just feels like a half-hearted attempt to attract a different audience.


The High School Musical DVD Game is very easy to play. A couple of the mini-games offer varying levels of difficulty, but even the most challenging of these should not prove too problematic for most players. One oddity that I noticed manifested itself during the Main Game. When text-based questions are asked, there sometimes appears a box in the graphics or a hint in the text as to which movie the question relates to directly, yet at other times, there is no such help. Having not seen all of the movies, I found the addition of this information extremely useful and wish that there were a little more consistency in this regard.

As mentioned previously, my 6 and 8 year old were able to play through most of the games with limited issues, the exception being some of the text was beyond their abilities. Unlike the experience when playing The Hannah Montana DVD Game, High School Musical was able to capture their attention for a substantially longer period of time. This was again largely centered on the dancing and singing games, but they continued playing several of the other games as well. This could simply show a difference in interest level across the subjects, but I believe it also had to do with this game feeling a bit more refined. This refinement greatly helps to increase the replay factor for High School Musical.

Game Mechanics:

The mechanics involved in playing the High School Musical DVD Game are easy and intuitive. By simply using the directions on the DVD remote, players can navigate the Menus, select options and answer questions. For non-competitive games such as the singing and dancing offerings, players simply take turns performing, using the remote only to choose the song for the activity. Some games operate using a turn-by-turn paradigm, each player using the remote to select their answers and then passing the remote to the next player after they have made their selection. Other games require a competitor to hold the remote and "click" if there is a mistake made by the player or team currently participating in the round.

With the exception of "Art Class", all of the games require no outside peripherals and can be played with only a DVD player, screen and remote. In "Art Class", High School Musical's version of Pictionary, participants are required to use pen and paper (not provided) in order to draw scenes, objects or characters from the movies.

Overall, the simplicity of play makes the game accessible to younger fans while the richness of the content, as well as some of the refinements made, will keep older fans from losing interest too quickly. For such an easily accessible and simple game, it does a very respectable job at entertaining participants and is worth a look for fans of the movie trilogy.

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge

Minimum System Requirements:

Any DVD or DVD-Rom player

Test System:

Xbox 360 and remote

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