The game allows kids to reenact the plot of the popular Disney direct-to-TV video High School Musical 2 where teens Troy, Gabriella, Ryan, Sharpay, Chad and Taylor spend their summer working at Lava Springs Resort. During the story-building vignettes, the characters appear in the game as photos flashed across the top screen; but during gameplay, they become avatars which you control. By the end of the game, you will have walked (or danced) in all six characters' shoes.
The heart of the game is the Adventure mode, where you relive six days of the summer spent at the resort. By playing through the adventure, you unlock content to be used in the other modes which include arcade (where you can play five fun minigames found in the adventure), multiplayer (you can compete with a friend in quick-reflexes games), and jukebox (where you can listen to 10 songs from High School Musical 2 even when the DS is closed).
The adventure mode plays out as a combination of fetch-it quests, find-hidden-objects missions, and minigames that involve rhythm and quick reflexes. As you live through each day, you work at the resort and get your daily assignments by checking in at the bulletin board. Usually you can choose from one or two tasks, but you will eventually need to finish each one to progress to the next day.
An assignment may be as simple as collecting packs of water bottles or rehearsing dance numbers for the upcoming talent show. Rehearsing is a rhythm game where you watch circular meters fill up and turn from yellow to green. When the circle becomes green, you must tap on it. Tapping on a series of these green circles without losing rhythm will earn you big points and a high grade. Other assignments include collecting golf balls on the practice range, an arcade game of timing where you tap on bouncing golf balls to grab them and drag them to the suction machine. There is also a game clearly influenced by the Cooking Mama video game success where you drag sandwich ingredients off of a conveyor belt and onto pieces of bread to fill lunch orders.
In all, the adventure has 62 tasks, spread out over the six days. In addition to these tasks, you can collect floating CDs, which encourage you to explore this resort. The resort is represented in three different maps which unlock slowly over the six days and you see the resort from a top-down perspective.
Kids who are fans of High School Musical 2 will enjoy exploring this game. Ten songs from the movie are constantly playing in the background as you work your way through the adventure. You can even slip your closed DS in your pocket and continue to listen through headphones when you set it in Jukebox mode. In the adventure mode, while there are a lot of tasks to accomplish, many are repeated minigames set in a different location or featuring a different character. You will spend a lot of time rehearsing for the talent show, which means playing the fun rhythm games.
Fortunately, all of the repeated games are fun, so you don't mind playing them time after time. If you already own the earlier High School Musical: Makin' the Cut DS game, you will be familiar with the rhythm games because they are very similar. However, the difference between this game and Makin' the Cut is that this one has a stronger storyline and more varied gameplay.
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