When I first picked up All Star Cheer Squad 2, I will admit I was a tad cynical about it. I was a cheerleader for a short time in college and wasn't super into it, so I couldn't imagine enjoying this game. Cheer games are catered to teenage girls, and I'm just not a teenager anymore. Once I spent a few hours with it though, I learned that even someone who isn't a teenager (i.e. me) can have some fun with the game.
Before you start running your own squad you'll get to customize your character as well as the outfit and colors for your squad. Once you've got that down you'll get to choose how you'd like to play the game.
You can perform cheer moves with either the Wiimote and Nunchuk or two Wiimotes. Unless you have an extremely small wingspan, you're going to want to use two Wiimotes to play this game; it's just not as much fun being restricted by the wire. You can also use the Balance Board as part of the controls (it's used to change your foot position and stunts) if you want to increase the difficulty. Honestly though, the game is hard enough using two Wiimotes, so I'd recommend against using the Balance Board.
All Star Cheer Squad 2 works quite a bit differently from We Cheer 2
. Instead of following motion lines on the screen, the gameplay is set up similar to rhythm games. A Cheer Line on the bottom of the screen will prompt you to perform moves, dances and stunts, but you'll only get full points if you hit them once they reach the center of the circle at the left-hand side of the screen. To get a good score you'll need to have good timing. A majority of the prompts consist of a blue and pink arrow, but as the moves get more complex additional indicators are included. The blue arrow refers to the direction your left hand should face and the pink arrow references your right hand. The concept is simple enough to follow, but sometimes the arrows directions -- especially the ones pointing straight up -- can be a bit confusing.
Unfortunately, the game wasn't able to take advantage of Wii MotionPlus because that might've improved the imprecise controls. At times moves won't register even if your Wiimotes are pointing the correct way, and other times it'll say you've done moves you haven't. Some form of wonkiness occurs in every routine you do, but to be fair, the Wii has never been super precise. The controls can be frustrating, but overall it doesn't ruin the experience.
The tutorial system unlocks as you play the game to avoid any confusion. You'll start off learning the basics, and once you advance far enough in the campaign another tutorial will become available to teach you how to perform new moves or stunts. The annoying thing about this though, is that you have to completely back out of the career mode, go back to the tutorial section, finish the tutorial and then head back into career mode where you left off. It would've made more sense to have a "quick tutorial" option or something where you wouldn't be forced out of the main game. On a positive note, if you miss any moves during a routine they can be filtered into flashcard decks so you can practice them. Of course, you also have to head back to the tutorial section to access the flashcards, so you might not use the feature very often.
The career mode storyline is pretty typical -- you're the new cheer captain on the Tiger Squad and that rubs the former captains the wrong way. It's up to you to prove your worth to the team and ultimately lead them to victory against your rival squad, the Wolf Pack. Although a lot of the major story elements are typical, they still hold your interest. Also, the voice acting is surprisingly well-executed, which makes the cut scenes enjoyable to watch.
The music is peppy and perfect for cheering. The songs may not be from famous artists like in We Cheer 2, but I think the remixed music works well. The songs make it easy to get pumped about the routine you're about to do, and I found myself bobbing my head to the beat quite often.
The squad travels to different parts of the world, including India, Australia and Europe. Fourteen locations offer at least five events, with two or three routines to perform in each event. Also, in some of the event areas other squad captains will challenge you to a one-on-one dance-off. This means that you'll get a decent amount of playtime out of this particular title.
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