I’ll probably lose some man points for this one, but someone had to review it 🙂 This review is probably primarily for the ladies (yes we do have women readers) so guys bare with me. The first and exclusive cheerleading title comes to us and I am far from a cheerleader, but I felt the game did its purpose, I felt like a cheerleader. Here’s what it states:

Leave the controller behind and keep those hands free for pom-poms in the first cheerleading game for Xbox Kinect! Show off your cheerleading skills and let your spirit shine in real routines choreographed by professional cheerleaders. Perfect your technique on essential moves like the Herkie, Touchdown Sway, High V, and Broken T. But Kinect doesn’t just track your movements. Get fired up and shout out loud so the voice sensor can hear (and judge!) your spirit. Focus on fitness and check how many calories you burn during your performance, unlock new routines, and see if you can make it all the way to Nationals.

Overview

Another developer was smart and listened and replicated or borrowed the Dance Central detection system, except it’s better and more accurate than the recent Alvin review I did.  Cat Daddy Games, who also created Carnival Games Monkey See Monkey Do, in my opinion, did a really good job on this. From what I remember from back in high school, it has real cheerleading chants and routines and this is probably a great training/practice supplement for cheerleaders or those getting into cheerleading.

The Menu

The menu system is the hover and lock method, I’d say it’s exactly like Kinect Disneyland Adventures. It’s a simple menu only having 3 main options with Cheers, Extras and Select A Squad Member. I’ll break down each section as always.

Cheers

This is kind of like a campaign mode for the game. It offers different venues for you to cheer in. There are items locked in the game as well and this is the process you go through to unlock everything. There are a total of 5 venues each with 6 things to do. 4 of the 6 are chants and the other 2 are routines to dance songs. With each chant/routine, each has 3 difficulty levels, easy, medium and hard. They are setup exactly like Dance Central’s, where easy has a minimum amount of moves and repeats most often. Medium will add in a couple extra moves and hard provides the full routine/cheer and requires you to speak as well.

You also have the option to train, perform or do a 2-player routine. With training, you can’t break the moves down at your own pace however it does provide 2 stages of speed with chants and you probably don’t need more than what it offers. Training with a routine only offers one stage of speed and you could probably use more in-depth control on it, but it is what it is. Training also removes the music and just sets you up with a count/measure to work with. I did the first chant as it’s the easiest one with both training and performance, so you can get an idea. Here’s the training video on hard, it was late so I couldn’t yell out any chants but it does work fine when I tried it earlier:

And here’s the chant being performed on hard:

2-Player mode is kind of interesting. Player 1 is the captain and player 2 is the co-captain and there are no other girls on the team. You both work together to obtain a high score, but it does score you individually so you can technically compete against each other. It is simultaneous play as well but this is the only multiplayer that is involved. You also have to say certain words together during the chants.

I’ll break down each venue and what’s included for those that want to know. For the dance routines, they are a little different. They are pretty fast and I found them to be somewhat difficult, maybe because I know dance moves and not cheerleading moves, but nevertheless, here’s a video of a performance to Gaga’s Just Dance on hard:

Local

Chants
Defense Attack
Let’s Get Fired Up
Shoot For Two
Rebound That Basketball

Routines
Celebration
That’s The Way (I Like It)

District

Chants
All Right
Come On Let’s Score
Dribble Dribble
Knock ‘Em Down

Routines
I Like To Move It
Hollaback Girl

State

Chants
Offense
Action
S I N K
Big G Little O

Routines
Disturbia
When I Grow Up

Regionals

Chants
Be Aggressive
Block Out
Blue And White
Color Shout

Routines
Mickey
Starstrukk

Nationals

Chants
Hey Hey Can You Hear It
Rowdy
Block That Kick
Jump Up

Routines
Just Dance
Shake It

Nationals are locked and you need 50 stars to unlock it. In each venue, the last 2 (one chant and one routine) are also locked and you need 15 stars to unlock them. There are also random unlocks within each venue that require you to get 4 stars on the particular chant/routine that unlock characters and uniforms. It does not matter what difficulty you play on to unlock them.

Extras

The extras sections offers your basic things. It does have a stats section and it keeps track of everything so it is very detailed if you need to review anything. Magazine covers are saved when you make it through the campaign mode, there are 10 magazine covers to collect. You can save them and share them with others if you want. It does take a photo of you, not your avatar.

There is an option in here as well to track your calories which was a nice touch. You can turn it on or off, so you can see how much you are working off with doing all of the cheers. The last option is the credits to the game.

Select Squad Members

This section is where you can choose your captain of your squad, as well as your co-captain and the color of your uniforms. There are 5 girls in total, 4 of them are locked in the beginning. There are 7 total team colors, with 4 of those being locked in the beginning as well.

Gameplay

As I mentioned, this is using a great detection system. It is very accurate and measures your distance between your legs and everything else. It marks what you’re doing wrong in red so you can really practice on what you are doing incorrectly. It uses the standard 5-star scoring system and rates flawless moves as Perfect. You can also blue star (instead of gold star) chants/routines by not getting one move wrong. Doing a few perfect moves in a row will activate neon mode, it really looks like Dance Central inspired this game. I believe it’s just a 2x multiplier, but I’m not positive if it serves any other purpose.

Graphics And Sound

The graphics are odd but a good odd. If you notice in the videos, the presentation and characters really resemble the “Hero” series of games. Maybe some Neversoft developers went over to Cat Daddy Games but who knows, it does look good though and I’m curious if a “Dance Hero” or something similar is going to be confirmed. The sounds/chants seem pretty authentic and I believe the routine rips are masters as well since it does state the artist and not as performed by phrase for covers. Overall, I think it looks good for what it is, it’s not too kiddish and not too adult looking, should be good for cheerleaders.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, I see this title more as a training/practice supplement for cheerleaders or those starting cheerleading. This is a first title, and a unique one at that, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I felt it was designed properly and will serve its intended purpose. I’m not sure if the devs can add content to it, but it definitely needs more in my opinion. The chants are really short, and the routines are shortened versions of the full songs, but I understand that the routines are never a full length song. Other than that, I couldn’t really see anything else wrong with it.

If you look at it from a gaming point of view, it could use a story mode, add in some battle modes or something or even online competitions and more content again, but I didn’t really feel like it was a game when I was playing it. Hopefully this review will help people who need it, I am far from being a cheerleading expert so I can only reference what I am aware of, but again it is a good thing developers are listening and producing quality titles.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Let’s Cheer!
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