|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Zoe Mode||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 505 Games /||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Paramount Digital Entertainment||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Release: Aug. 24, 2010||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Players: 1-8||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
As a huge fan of musical theater (and the movies often inspired by theater), I couldnt help but be intrigued by the prospect of a game based on the hit musical Grease. The story of Sandy and Dannys high school romance has a certain timeless quality that has captivated audiences for years.
However, as weve seen from the games based on High School Musical (which, itself, was inspired by Grease), a musical romance generally makes a terrible game. I had initially hoped that Grease: The Game would be the title to break the mold, but after only playing for a few minutes, it became apparent that Grease: The Game is another failed experiment.
The games main story mode allows you to follow the plot events of the movie, and shows you small video clips of the movie before each song. If you are familiar with the movie, everything here will be instantly familiar, and you can blast right on through the scrolling text that explains the movies plotline. If you are not familiar with Grease, the text-based synopses will help tie all the songs together. I dont see many people picking this title up without an interest in the source material, but if you are one of the odd few who check this title out without any knowledge of Grease, you should be covered.
However, once the scrolling text ends, the problems with this game begin. The story mode takes the form of a mini-game compilation that is part-rhythm game and part Mario Party. To its credit, this formula works some of the time. However, when it fails, the game falls completely flat. The first mini-game youll run into is set to the iconic Summer Nights and allows you to use the Wii-Mote/Balance Board (which can be used but is not necessary) to lean and shake out the rhythm of the song. This mini-game starts out fairly simply, and shaking/leaning to the beat feels easy and intuitive. However, as the pace picks up and a special move mechanic is introduced (where youll have to mimic a specific dance move to fill a meter), the controls break down substantially. If you are using the balance board, the controls still work most of the time, but if you are shaking the Wii-mote, youll notice quickly that the game stops responding well when the pace is quickened.
Once you blast past this initial mini-game, youll be treated to some other mini-games that dont necessarily involve dancing. Youll be able to try out for sports to try and impress Sandy, fix the T-Birds car, and play the guitar on American Bandstand. These mini-games can be hit and miss, and while some work well (particularly the guitar-playing mini-game), others do not work at all. The sports games are agonizing, and involve a lot of random shaking and button pressing that do not feel intuitive and more often end in frustration rather than high scores.
Fortunately, before the real frustration sets in, the games story mode ends. My total playtime with the games story mode (after unlocking all of the bonus characters and party mode options) topped out at just under an hour. While I understand that Grease: The Game is intended to be more of a party-style game, if the developers wanted to include a story mode, it would have been nicer to have one that lasts longer than an hour. Even though I was disappointed overall in the quality of the mini-games, the length of the story mode really sank any immediate replay value this title might have had. And at an MSRP of $40, justifying this title to even the most die-hard Grease fan would be challenging.