Dec 11, 2007
After some 50 years of existence, Alvin and the Chipmunks are no longer hip, relevant or cool. Hey, it happens - as times change, so do tastes, and modern youngsters may not see the appeal in a trio of warbling rodents painted with broad personalities and characteristics. But that didn't stop 20th Century Fox from prepping a new franchise film (starring Jason Lee as David Seville), and it sure didn't stop the aptly named publisher Brash Entertainment from making a quick buck off the license with an in vogue rhythm action title. It sounds like a perfect formula: popular genre, licensed music, adorable cartoon pests - but it doesn't work.
Alvin and the Chipmunks essentially cribs the play interface from the Sega Dreamcast's fantastic maraca-shaking title Samba de Amigo, with notes shooting from the center of the screen to four large star icons positioned in each corner of the screen. However, it lack most of the novelty, all the personality, and the big, red, motion-sensitive maracas that made the original game so much fun. Instead, as the moving notes reach the large icons, players must perform a quick swipe with the Wii Remote or Nunchuk (sometimes with a button pressed) to execute the note. It's a poorly implemented scheme that's really not even functional, let alone fun.
A brief story mode takes players to nine locations (including a school prom and "Rockathonapalooza"), while unlocked songs can be experienced in a quick play mode or two-player split-screen. Thirty licensed tracks (noticeably fewer than the 40 listed in a late November press release) are included, all "performed" by the Chipmunks. The usual suspects are all here (such as "Love Shack," "Karma Chameleon, and "It's Tricky"), and while the instrumentation hews closely to the original respective tracks, the high-pitched harmonies recall the Jingle Cats. It's amusing the first time through, but repeated listens may ruin these songs for you. Forever.