Ten years ago I never thought I'd be playing a cheerleading videogame at my job. But for the last couple days, there I sat with two Wii remotes in my hands, shaking them wildly at the screen. The game is called We Cheer 2 and it puts you into the shoes of a young cheerleader with aspirations of one day being the captain of her beloved cheer squad. The gameplay itself is more a waggle-centric rendition of Rock Band, minus the edgier track list. Instead you'll find artists like Miley Cyrus fueling your cheers. While I have to admit that I was surprised by the amount of fun I had with We Cheer 2, its frustratingly inaccurate controls won't help it win over many fans.
Your quest for cheering dominance begins with a lengthy tutorial. It explains basic movements, stunt time and free cheering in depth. Not wanting to get bogged down by the influx of text-based dialogue from one cheerleader to my character, I skipped most of it. The basic idea behind the gameplay is to follow the movements on the screen. Sometimes they'll have you put your hands up, move them in circular motions, wipe back and forth and a number of other contortions that are all set to the rhythm of one of the 30 songs.
The songs are classic teeny-bop fare with Song 2 and Tubthumping making an appearance in the track list. Each of the songs has three difficulty levels that change the complexity of the moves and the forgiveness for poor timing. The way the game comprehends movement can be frustratingly inaccurate. Randomly moving my hands around my body would occasionally net me a higher combo and more points than actually trying to follow the on-screen cues. Sometimes the game wouldn't respond to my seemingly accurate movements and other times it would tell me to speed up or slow down when neither were actually needed. It seems as though We Cheer 2 would have benefited greatly from Wii MotionPlus support to up the ante on control sensitivity. Why that wasn't included is a mystery to me.
We Cheer 2 allows players to play with either two Wii remotes (one in either hand) or play with one remote that can be held in either the right or left hand. It was much more difficult to play with two Wii remotes, regardless of the difficulty level, so unless you're a cheerleading veteran, I'd advise playing with just one. Two players can also play simultaneously during the competitions. There's a fairly decent structure to the various championship competitions. You earn experience points based on how well you perform and those experience points help you level up your character, earn new members to your squad, unlock new songs and expand on potential wardrobe changes for your character and others.
While I like the structure of the competitions, the lack of Wii MotionPlus support really hurts the accuracy of the controls. With a game that's totally dependent on motion controls for its gameplay, the many moments of frustration due to inaccuracy is unforgivable. That said, there's still plenty of fun to be had for those looking for a simple cheerleading game, just so long as you're ready to throw your Wii remote a few times.
When you're done playing by yourself, there are a couple of competitive multiplayer modes to be had. You can play either Hot Balloon where players complete a series of cheers to pass the ever-inflating balloon to the other player. My main problem with this mode is that there were occasionally times when I just didn't have the chance to complete the series of cheers to pass the balloon. If it was my opponent's strategy to screw me with a short clock that would be one thing, but more often than not my character would be stuck in a lengthy dance animation while I waited for the next cheer to appear. Balloon Survival is similar in that you're still trying to preserve the life of your balloon. Performing accurate cheers extends its life. It's simple and reasonably fun, but doesn't differentiate itself enough from standard gameplay. There's also a standard Cheer Off mode where up to four players can compete for the highest score.
The visuals that drive We Cheer 2 are expectedly child-friendly. Everything is animated with a nod to Japanese anime. The characters, both male and female, are always – you guessed it – cheerful and feature bright colors. There's nothing very impressive about the visual display, but on that same token you won't find anything glaringly flawed either. The same goes for the soundtrack and audio. If you're into teeny-bop music, then We Cheer 2 will please your ears. Everyone else should probably steer clear.
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