In Disney Stitch Jam, kids enter the world of Stitch where he has an alien girlfriend named Angel. Stitch's tropical world is interrupted by the arrival of evil alien scientist Dr. Hamsterviel, who tries to steal Angel. To rescue Angel, Stitch must complete 10 rhythm-based missions which send him around the world and even into outer space.
Each mission is presented in a side-scrolling manner where Stitch struts his stuff to music while you tap on notes as he dances over them. You will also have to match arrow cues by sliding the stylus up or down in quick succession as they appear.
The key to finishing a mission is to hit the notes or swipe the arrows just as Stitch waltzes over them. When you do this correctly, you hear the melody of the song and things happen on the screen, such as a crab rolls out of the way or items that are frozen miraculously thaw. Sometimes your rhythmic tapping will allow Stitch to fight bad guys or shoot at alien ships. If your timing is off, Stitch will run out of steam and fall over; the level will end and you will have to retry the mission.
Rhythm-based gaming on the Nintendo DS was pioneered in 2006 with the release of Elite Beat Agents, a zany secret agent game. Since then, there have been numerous rhythm-based games for kids, but most tie into doing the tapping actions to help performers sing songs, as in the games tied to High School Musical and Hannah Montana. In Disney Stitch Jam, you are madly tapping so that Stitch can do heroic things or battle foes.
This story line of helping Stitch to be a hero works well, especially because he must travel to new locations in each of the missions. You will tap while lush tropical beaches scroll by, while piloting an underwater ship, as well as while flying through outer space. All of the songs are catchy, which makes tapping to their rhythm enjoyable.
Another nice feature is that the game is playable on three levels of difficulty. If your children are new to rhythm games, start them on the easy level. When they graduate to "Normal" level, they will find that the difficulty ramps up quite a bit. You have to be quick and precise to succeed. And by the time you take on the hardest level, even kids with cat-like reflexes will be challenged. You also have the option of using the buttons found on the DS instead of the stylus. Both work well.
Unfortunately, this cute game runs its course too quickly. Played on the easiest level, kids may be able to burn through the 10 missions in less than three hours. This shortness of play is offset somewhat by the game's providing two additional levels of difficulty and new unlockable characters for replay. Also, because the game provides for wireless download to another Nintendo DS for a two-person cooperative play session, where the second player does not have to own the game, the game extends its play value. Plus, it only costs $19.99.
This game connects to D-Gamer, an online community where kids can safely chat with others and collect prizes won in the game.
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