Jan 15, 2008
As professional adults, we rarely put much thought to the Disney Channel and its myriad properties aside from discerning whether or not those mass-forwarded nude shots are really of High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens (they are). But for the tween-and-younger crowd, the house that Mickey built has transformed into a bona fide youth star factory, thanks in large part to Hannah Montana and the aforementioned made-for-TV flick.
Between the two franchises, millions of records comprised of vaguely inspirational, inclusive sing-alongs have been sold, so the transition to Konami's famed dancing franchise is both smooth and assuredly profitable. Rather than handle it in-house, Konami farmed development of Dance Dance Revolution: Disney Channel Edition out to German studio Keen Games, which serves up an offshoot that feels serviceable, but incomplete in its appraisal of the source material.
Dance Dance Revolution hasn't changed significantly in years, so we get that a kid-centric spin-off isn't the place to institute sweeping alterations. As such, the standard rules apply: players must step on the corresponding arrows on the dance pad in time with the chosen song, and several difficulty levels are available to appease both series vets and newbies.
Its lone new gameplay addition is Magic mode, a reworked Battle mode of sorts that pits you against the computer to unlock additional costumes for the cel-shaded dancers pulled from popular Disney Channel shows and films. Linking together steps for a big combo can launch an "attack" (like reversed or hidden steps) against the other dancer, but the mode comes off as confusing and generally underwhelming. Luckily, it's also short and easy to complete.
Just 20 of the nearly 40 included songs actually come from the Disney Channel - the rest are culled from previous DDR releases, and several Konami originals make their first appearance on the PlayStation 2 here. But with only four songs each from High School Musical and Hannah Montana - a fraction of what's been produced - the track selection seems awfully conservative and not at all comprehensive. Already planning for the sequel, Disney?
And without video clips or other fanfare, Dance Dance Revolution: Disney Channel Edition is more a feature-light DDR title with Disney bits sprinkled on than a true melding of hot properties. Not that it's terrible, but we can only watch Kim Possible gyrate for so long before folding up our dance mats and moving on.