Hannah Montana: Rock Out the ShowESRB:
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Page 44 Studios
Memory Stick Due 300KB
A few months ago I had the opportunity to review the ‘Hannah Montana: The Movie’ game for the DS and unfortunately it had its share of issues. Not only did my daughter despise the game, but every second I spent playing was pretty agonizing. So fast forward to last week where our Editor in Chief, who was grinning like a Cheshire cat, handed over Hannah Montana: Rock Out the Show for the PSP. As I reluctantly took the game back to my home office, I resigned myself to the possibility Hannah's latest game was going to be another stinker. Much to my surprise not all was lost with Miley Cirus' latest instalment on the PSP. My daughter actually enjoyed the game and I can certainly see some redeeming elements about it. That being said, I think that the vast majority of PSP gamers will want to be very cautious about this one.
Visually, 'Rock Out the Show' is not a bad looking game; but it is not a great looking one either. On the surface, the overall look of the game stays true to the Hannah Montana franchise and presentation-wise fans will be pleased.
On a positive note, I found the presentation of the game fairly good and some of the in-between level stills were enjoyable. The presentation has a clean look and all the menus were very easy to navigate, especially for my 6-year old. As for the gameplay visuals, ‘Rock out the Show’ suffers a bit. Hannah, for the most part, is recognizable in all the many customizable outfits she can wear, and all the other characters such as Lily, Bobby Ray and the rest of the Hannah Montana gang are recognizable too. Yet being recognizable does not necessarily mean they look good. In fact, the character models do lack some detail and are simply not as sharp as they could be. As for the game’s environments, they are decent looking but many areas appear too bland and lack any real detail. On the other hand, the various stages where Hannah performs look surprisingly good as they feature her on several jumbotron screens in the background. The various stages she performs on, including the variety of stage props, is also impressive.
At the end of the day however there is nothing visually awe-inspiring in this game. For Hannah Montana’s target audience, the visuals will probably seem all right, but for all those are far and beyond this audience, the visuals will most likely underwhelm you.
The sound has some good and some bad aspects in this game. On one hand there is a good selection of Hannah Montana songs at your disposal as there are 11 songs which will be recognizable for Miley Cyrus fans. I would prefer the track list to be a tad longer, but when you consider the DS Hannah game only had 8 tunes, 11 songs is at least a small upgrade. My daughter loved the songs and stood as one of the redeeming factors for her. For those that care, here are the available tunes:
Pumpin Up The Party
Let's Get Crazy
Best of Both Worlds
Just Like You
Let's Do This
We Got The Party
I Got Nerve
Life's What You Make It
In any event the music sounds good coming out of the PSP's tiny speakers. As far as the rest of games sound effects are concerned, nothing is incredibly innovative or original.
The voice work is cheesy and awful, but that is a trademark of the show. I heard my daughter chuckle quite a few times during some of the cut-scene still slides and it was quite clear she enjoyed the dialogue included in the game. Miley and Billy Ray are nowhere to be heard but the stand-in voice talent does an okay job with the voice acting. Overall 'Rock Out the Show' is a decent sounding game but nothing incredibly inspiring or original.
Hannah Montana: Rock Out the Show for the PSP is essentially an adventure and dance rhythm game much like we have seen in other Hannah Montana titles. It is a rather simple game and really easy to pick-up. This one targets Disney channel’s Hannah fans and makes no bones about it. Players are tasked with guiding Hannah through a series of concerts while her dad is sick at home. So in essence, Miley, with the help of Lilly and her brother, has to manage her career while her achy breaky father is laid up at home. The story is told through the picture stills, as I already touched upon above, and the cheesy dialogue guides you through all the goings-on in the game. That said, the story really has no bearing on the outcome of the game at all.
When you first fire up ‘Rock Out the Show’ you will notice the game's main menu features four areas (Story Mode, Quick Play, Options and Extras). The story mode is where I spent the bulk of my time and it features a short (approximately 2-4 hour) single player campaign. Quick play is where you can jump into a performance or play any mini-game, which gets unlocked in Story Mode, without loading a previously saved game. The Options screen is where you can change the games settings or view the credits. Finally, extras gives you access to an online community where you can share your performances, download content or go to Hannah’s Website.
After you get through some picture stills and some of the story aspects, ‘Rock Out the Show’ throws you right into a concert where Miley appears on stage and you are guided through a series of mini-games which represent the various instruments. There is a pretty good tutorial mode to guide you through the various controls but it does not take long before you are off and running. Performing the various on-stage mini-games is simple. For instance, singing involves moving the analog stick in various directions as the lyric cue passes the hit zone. In many ways, ‘Rock Out the Show’ plays out like other music based games where you ability to hit a certain control or button at the right moment gauges how well you play the game. It is simple and works; but gets awfully repetitive and boring real fast.
In any given song, you play a number of mini-games until the song runs out, so in that sense there is some variety. Yet the variety does not save the game from being a mind numbing experience. You can also design your stage and Miley’s outfits. As you progress along in the game you unlock outfits, songs, stage sets, rock star lighting and special effects. All in all, there is a great deal of incentive in trudging through the single player experience; that is if you are a fan of the show. My daughter spent a significant amount of time in the wardrobe room dressing up Hannah. So that aspect of the game girls will love.
Continue to Page 2