|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Avalanche Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In early levels you'll start with a handful of basic gestures to deal with including pointing up, down, left, right, at the screen, and even at your heart with either the Wii Remote (designated by blue colored symbols) or the Nunchuk (designated by pink colored symbols). Eventually, using either hand to make stirring motions, pretending the Nunchuk is a microphone, playing air guitar, making clapping and reverse clapping motions, and pointing with both hands simultaneously are thrown in to the routine.
During lulls in the dancing, Montana will approach the front of the stage to wave, hi-five, or touch the audience to score more points. A series of different combinations of symbols representing the numerous gestures will scroll across the screen, and players have to time their movements to match up when the symbol passes over a star indicator on-screen. Though the moves do frequently coincide with rhythms accentuated by the music, how successfully you pull off each move is determined more so by visual timing. Meanwhile, Montana and her back-up band rock out in the background. The controls work fine most of the time, but in general they're not as responsive as they should be. Sometimes it seems a simple flick of the wrist is adequate to register a gesture while other times you'll have to be more forceful. To compensate for unreliable motion controls players will likely find themselves over-gesturing just to make sure their movements register on-screen. After a few back-to-back rounds of this, you'll have some seriously sore arms.
Performing on-stage before adoring fans takes up a significant portion of players' time, yet there are numerous other pursuits to explore in the down time between shows. Each new city brings with it a streetscape chock full of storefronts to scour for new outfits. Not surprisingly, shopping plays an integral part in the game. This may sound odd coming from a guy, but buying new shoes, shirts, belts, hats, accessories, and other outfit accoutrements for Montana is actually kind of fun. You can mix and match outfits in the backstage dressing room anytime before or after a performance. The shopping areas also contain a smattering of extra mini-games raging from playing guitar in a local shop to signing autographs and striking a pose for a photo op.
Graphically, the game's style is true to the show, and the character models actually closely resemble the actors. The shopping environments and free-roam areas in each location are visually impressive. Pedestrians respond with giggles, waves, requests for autographs, and star-struck swooning as you walk by. On-stage, the camera follows Montana closely front-and-center with little air time given to the band. One disappointment is the fact every back-stage area is laid out exactly the same way. Despite having slightly different scenery decorations, the cold gray concrete walls are constant in each venue, and there are moments where you'll wonder if you've progressed to the next level or not.
With tighter, less frustrating (and painful) motion controls Spotlight World Tour could have the potential to hold its own in the rhythm game genre. As it stands, the lack of polish in this area keeps the game from rising above a niche title destined for the hands pre-teen girls. The shopping component, multi-player, and mini-games are touches fans will greatly appreciate, but for the rest of the gaming world the extra shine put into these areas may go largely unnoticed.
CCC Freelance Writer