At the risk of pointing out the obvious, you need to be a fan of High School Musical to enjoy this game. The following review reflects the views of my daughter (a huge HSM fan) and of her parents (fans by collateral).
You can play the game in three different modes: History, Arcade and Party mode. The Arcade mode gives you the real sing along experience, where you can pick up the songs you wish to sing and customize the look of the HSM cast. With the History mode, you sing the songs of HSM 1 in the order they appear in the movie, with the original cast characters. I have not played the Party mode yet, but from what I have read in the manual this mode focuses on signing competition for larger groups.
The game comes with one microphone, but you will want to have two microphones to play this game as most HSM songs are duets. The manual says that both signers could use only one mike and share it, but this clearly would not be practical as both players often sign together at the same time and at some point you may also want to dance when you are signing. If you do not already own a 2nd mike, I recommend doing some research before purchasing a second one as some products have compatibility issues with certain games (which I didn't experienced; our Rock Bank mike works well with this game).
- All the songs of the HSM 1 and HSM 2 are available in this game. Some needs to be unlocked first.
- The rating system is rather generous, and as such it is not too difficult for younger kids to have decent scores to unlock the additional content.
- There are "extras" available with this game; the same kind of extras that you would rather expect to find on a DVD (such as interviews with the movie cast). My daughter was thrilled to find a short tutorial that shows you a few steps of three different choreographies that you see in the movie. I doubt however that these extras were created for the game, so you might have already seen them elsewhere.
- Only the songs of HSM 1 are available in History mode.
- When you select a song in Arcade mode, the game does not provide you with default settings. You need to choose which characters will be signing the song every time. The end result is sometime awkward since, when you sing in duet, we often find ourselves selecting the characters in the wrong order and therefore we were seeing Troy signing Gabriella's lines and vice versa.
Although there are a few design issues with the game, it was a huge hit in our house as it provides a very enjoyable sing along experience.
A few notes for French clients: Bien que la boîte de jeu et que les manuels soient uniquement en anglais, le jeu lui-même vient avec une version française. Les chansons, bien sûr, demeurent en anglais mais vous n'avez pas à prononcer les mots exactement. Donc il est possible pour un enfant qui ne parle pas anglais de bien s'amuser s'il connaît les airs des chansons.