What do you get when you mix the play style of a DDR with the structure of Guitar Hero and mesh it together with the latest pop sensation (who also happens to be the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, yes that Achy Breaky guy)? What you get is Disney Interactive’s latest Wii effort Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour. Sure if you are not female and under the age of thirteen then this game is probably not going to do much for you, but as it is Avalanche Software has done an admirable job of taking some of the best elements from the leaders in the genre and wrapped it in a package that will have fans of the pop superstar lining up to play.
The core mechanic is simple and familiar. Using the Wii remote and nunchuk either together or independently from one another allows you to perform up to 24 various dance moves as you tour across the globe. There are also a host of licensed tracks that will appease fans as well as the ability to customize your characters outfit with outfits from shops across the globe. This game is a pre-teen girl’s dream come true and if you fit that demographic you will likely be pleased with your purchase.
When you begin the world tour mode your actions, venues and outfits will be limited. Each song you perform uses the standard scoring system found in most DDR games such as bad, good, etc. Upon completion of each performance you are awarded a star ranking similar to Guitar Hero as well as opening up new venues to play and shops to purchase items from. This is also how you unlock new songs to perform which is always key in a rhythm based game. All of the songs here will satisfy as they are lifted directly from the catalog of originals, however if you are not a fan then they will do little to impress.
For the most part the game does what it sets out to do; appease a younger female crowd, but that does not mean it is without fault. The biggest problem with most motion-based Wii titles is a lack of precision in some of the actions. While a majority of the dance moves will seem flawless there are some that can cause frustration. Timing becomes imperative and with a game aimed at a younger demographic you would imagine the window of opportunity would be increased; sadly it is not always the case. There were times where the nunchuk controller seemed to refuse to cooperate thus invoking frustration. This is entirely adaptable to veteran gamers, but as you probably already know this game is certainly not aimed at them.
Thankfully these small quirks don’t always break the game. You can still slide by and with enough practice overcome these minor hindrances. Everything else here works on the level you would expect for a game of this type. You can unlock new shops to purchase new clothing apparel and even participate in mini-games that cater to the nature of being a rock star. Autograph signings, deciding which shoes to wear, and the overall fantasy of becoming the infamous pop star are executed nearly flawlessly and will surely please fans.
Visually the game doesn’t hold its own against other Wii titles. The characters are very basic in design and the venues are certainly not going to win any awards, but then again neither will Guitar Hero or DDR. The game does support 16×9 widescreen and the ability to output at 480p, but this only magnifies the fact that this game really screams last-gen. The sounds are exceptionally better with good voice over work and of course licensed tracks, but again don’t expect it to appeal to anyone over the age of thirteen. On presentation merits alone Hannah Montana is about what you would expect for a Wii game for this demographic so there really isn’t much to complain about.
If ever there was a system designed to handle a game like this it is the Wii. Perhaps Nintendo was right in designing a truly casual-friendly system that works on all levels. Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour is a game that will send fans of the pop sensation into unknown territory (that would be a geek-infested game store mind you) to snatch up the latest interactive experience of their favorite superstar. It certainly isn’t genre defining, but it is a solid effort into a market that is by and large untapped.