Camp Rock: The Final JamESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: Adventure, Interactive Music, Rhythm
Come along for another summer of fun and music at Camp Rock. Based off of the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock: The Final Jam, this latest DS game from Disney Interactive brings you into the heart of Camp Rock with some of your favourite characters including Mitchie, Tess, Caitlyn and of course the boys from Connect 3 (Nate, Shane and Jason). As a new camper, you get to meet new friends, learn to play new instruments, new dance moves, as well as take part in some great performances. This summer will prove to be one of the most challenging for the campers as there is a new camp across the lake that is stealing both campers and counsellors. With your help, the campers of Camp Rock will need to show to the world that they are as good, if not better, than the competition. Can they succeed while still having fun?
The game map for Camp Rock: The Final Jam is somewhat small but is relatively well designed. The majority of your adventure is spent at Camp Rock with a few outings to Camp Star and some time out on the lake in your canoe. The camp feel is successfully achieved with the assorted lodges, docks, beaches and paths throughout the forests that comprise the environments you will explore. The locations you will find yourself traversing the most are the stage, the dock, the main lodge, the arts and crafts lodge, and the camper’s cabins. Each of these is creatively designed with some great attention to detail. The only fault I found was that in certain areas, especially the stage, it looked as though there was a path to walk down; however, when I attempted to move my character down said path I was prevented in doing so. This proved to be extremely frustrating at times.
The in-game characters are well done with the main characters looking very similar to their real life counterparts. You will find that all of their actions, be it talking, dancing, or playing musical instruments, are expressive and energetic especially during their final performances. Your own camper is customizable with some basic selections at the beginning and additional items/features being available later. You can purchase the later items with tokens you earn throughout the game. At the beginning you can select your camper’s eyebrow style, accessories, hair style, tops, bottoms and shoes. The additional options you can purchase at a later time include eye shadow, lip color, tops, bottoms, shoes, and a greater variety of accessories. At any time during gameplay you can go to your cabin to change your appearance or put on a new outfit. When playing your instrument or dancing, your character is displayed in your chosen attire and is animated quite well. For example, should you press the right note or step and your character moves accordingly, but miss either of these and your character will move in a way that shows you messed up.
The sound in this game was pretty good. There are seven songs in total from the Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2 movie soundtracks and the sound quality is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, the limited song selection does become a tad repetitive as you end up playing the same songs three or more times at different points in the game. Only a few songs are available at the beginning and as you progress through the game more become unlocked. During the actual gameplay there was some catchy and up beat music that played in the background that was enjoyable to listen to.
In addition to the music there were also some decent sound effects such as your character walking, water balloons breaking, the turning of pages in journal mode and even the sound of paddle strokes during the canoe game. When playing instruments you will hear appropriate sound effects to reflect whether you successfully strum or drum to the right beat or if you mess up. Lastly, the game does not feature any voice acting, but this seems to be norm for most DS titles.
Camp Star has opened up across the river and has stolen counsellors, as well as campers (including Tess), from Camp Rock. As the game tells the story from the eyes of a new camper, it does not go into the storyline of how the senior campers step up into the shoes of the missing counsellors, or the fact that Mitchie has taken it upon herself to make sure that the campers all work together to have an amazing final performance. There are some aspects of the movie the game is based upon that were not elaborated on, such as the romance between Nate and Dana (Axel Turners daughter). With this in mind, I really enjoyed the song that Nate sings to Dana in the movie and it was sad that it was not included in the game.
The game plays mostly as a large scavenger hunt as you find items or campers for other people in order for them to help you with a task or a performance. As a result, you spend the majority of the time moving from one location to the next and talk to everyone you come across in order to gather clues to discover what item you need or where you need to go next. Sometimes you also have to do an additional favour for the person you are finding before they will come with you or go to the person looking for them. You move your character with either the d-pad or by pointing your stylus to the location or direction where you would like to go. In most instances the location you need to go to next will be highlighted with a blue exclamation mark and if you ever forget your objective you can look it up in your handy journal.
When you aren’t walking around acting as a messenger for everyone else at the camp you can practice your music or dancing. There are three instruments you can choose from: bass, guitar or drums. The controls for each of these instruments are different and will become more challenging as you increase the level of difficulty (e.g. notes are closer together, pace is faster, additional actions required, etc.). For the bass, you have to press the correct direction on the directional pad and hit the note on the touch screen with your stylus at exactly the right moment. The guitar controls include pressing the correct direction on the d-pad and strumming with your stylus across the strings. The drums work a little differently. You need to hit the correct drum at the same time as the note drops from above onto the drum. In terms of dancing, you have a left, right, up and down arrow that you must hit as it scrolls across the screen. There is also an icon which will prompt you to use your stylus to trace circles. Overall the controls worked well and it was nice to see that when a note or dance move was missed, the action of your character reflected this accurately. While playing the instruments or dancing, if you happen to miss too many notes or actions (kept track of by a status bar on the left hand side of the screen) you will fail and be told to Rock Another Day.
There are also three mini-games within Camp Rock: The Final Jam. They are the token mini game, the canoe mini game, and the water balloon fight. For the most part, these games are on the simplistic side of things considering the token game involves moving a few objects layer by layer to reveal tokens beneath (objects can also be moved by blowing into the microphone), and the canoe game is a simple obstacle course in which you manoeuvre your canoe to the finish line while collecting tokens scattered on the top of the water. The water balloon fight is much like a game of dodge ball as you must avoid being hit by water balloons being thrown by your friends. If you are hit three times you lose. During the game there are certain items you can pick up that will help you such as a raincoat, and there is also a canoe you can hide behind.
In addition to the mini-games there are also two other interactive features you can play with. The first is the photo booth in which you will be prompted to line up your face within the markers on the screen and take a picture. Once the picture has been taken it will populate into a Camp Rock image so that it appears as though you are part of the scene. The second feature is the sticker album board. There is a standard set of stickers and backgrounds that you can play with by adding stickers to the backgrounds. You are able to purchase additional sticker packs with tokens in the game.
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