If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Harmonix’s ego has to be gargantuan at this point. With Kinect recently celebrating its first year in retail, best-selling smash hit Dance Central has seen more than its fair share of imitators in a relatively short time span. Luckily, Majesco and Behavior Studios’ Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked has enough personality to make it worth considering.
Based on the upcoming film that has the Chipmunks and Chipettes stranded on an island, Chipwrecked has you dancing along to a large variety of songs with tropical backgrounds inspired by the exotic locales of the movie. The game starts you off with a personality test to determine with character you are, but the questions and answers aren’t much deeper than something you’d see on a Facebook personality test; you know exactly which character each answer is describing. Still, it’s a fun way to get involved with the game right from the get-go.
Story mode has you moving down the track list with a break every five songs or so with still images from the movie with spoken dialogue from the characters. It’s not entirely necessary, but as this is supposed to be a movie tie-in and not a general Alvin and the Chipmunks music game it does feel appropriate and add to the game’s tropical flair.
The game can best be described as Dance Central Lite; the moves are simple and motion detection is very forgiving. If there are little ones in your house that love playing dance games but can’t quite keep up with them, Chipwrecked is right up their alley. Each song has a few basic moves that repeat several times, making familiarising yourself with them much less of a chore.
You need to really enjoy the Chipmunks, though, because the track list contains 30 songs performed by the tiny trio rather than the original artists. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, either; the re-imagining allows several songs that wouldn't work in a dance game otherwise, such as Hootie & the Blowfish’s Only Wanna Be With You, to not feel out of place in a game designed to keep you moving to the beat.
Aside from story mode, the game offers a simple co-op dance mode, a free play mode and a shop that allows you to use stars earned by performing well in songs to buy new hats, glasses and outfits for your favourite character.
Achievement hunters, take note: the game is quite liberal at dishing out the Gamerscore. With only nine achievements, eight of them for 100G and one for 200G, you won’t need to put in a ton of work to add them to your total; certainly something to consider when your child or sibling is begging you to play with them.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked does exactly what it sets out to do, which is create a dancing game that can be enjoyed by youngsters who can’t quite keep up with some of the other titles. More than a quick cash-in, developer Behavior Studios managed to cram in a lot of charm and charisma into a game while keeping it true to its source material. It’s definitely not a bad game to have if you’re ever stuck on an island somewhere.