Don't be fooled; this game has a lot of spirit beneath its cheery exterior.
When staff member Carmine Red reviewed We Cheer last year, many were surprised to learn that underneath all the color, glitter, and cuteness was a really solid game that truly put the Wii's motion controls to good use. With a winning formula established, Namco Bandai has released a follow-up, We Cheer 2. It has more songs, more gameplay modes, and lots of customization features, but retains the wonderful gameplay that made the first game a surprise hit for many.
For the uninitiated, the We Cheer games use the Wii Remote's motion-sensing technology to simulate the choreography of a cheerleading squad. Using two Wii Remotes for each hand (one Wii Remote can be used if a second controller isn't available), the player must perform the commands seen on screen. Red and blue arrows indicate the movement the player must do. For example, an arrow in the form of a circle means the player must draw a circle in the air. If you do the move to the beat of the song and at the right speed, you gain more points. The game recommends mimicking the movements of the dancers for a better performance and more accurate representation of the routine.
At first glance, We Cheer 2, much like its predecessor, doesn't look like much in terms of gameplay. But there's truly a lot of depth to discover. This is thanks to excellent motion controls that work almost flawlessly. We Cheer 2 does a great job of detecting motion, even when you have two controllers performing different actions at the same time. The game will even let you know the speed of your movement, creating a challenge that is easy to learn but difficult to master. It also comes pretty close to emulating what it's like to be in a cheerleading squad. We Cheer 2 will provide a challenge for those that dare to master it at the highest difficulty setting. It even might be too much for some, since the learning curve for the higher challenges can be daunting and frustrating. But We Cheer 2 is not impossible to master, and will even help you with extensive tutorial and practice modes. You can even watch the routine before you begin to play so you can see the dance moves you'll be executing.
Alongside the gameplay, We Cheer 2 also impresses with its wealth of options and features. One of the biggest additions to the game is the option to customize your whole squad. When you pick a character (male or female) you can change everything from their looks to their name. You can also update the name, color and logo of your squad for a more personal look. You can buy even more outfits and accessories at the shop, such as face tattoos, jerseys, shorts, skirts, and sneakers. A lot of time will be spent trying to make the perfect squad, and the addition of a customization element to the We Cheer series is a welcomed one.
There are two main gameplay modes: Championship and Squad Challenges. Championship works like any other rhythm game; you play through the game's songs, continuously unlocking more songs, challenges, and bonus content along the way. The better you perform, the more cheer points and money you receive. As you keep performing your cheerleading rank will rise, unlocking even more challenges. In Squad Challenges you face a rival squad and complete their routine. If you do well they will join your squad and become selectable characters.
Thanks to We Cheer 2's potential as an exercise game, a rhythm exercise mode has also been included. The mode plays like the main game, but focuses on movements that target specific parts of the body. They are also more intense thanks to very elaborate movements and constant commands from your instructor. The calories you burn will be counted according to the intensity of the routine. One of the funniest things in this mode is when an overweight character joins you in the routine. The better you do, the thinner he gets. Panda from Namco's Tekken series even makes an appearance!
It wouldn't be a rhythm game without multiplayer modes, and We Cheer 2 is no exception. Up to four players can join in, each using one Wii Remote. There are two main multiplayer modes: Cheer Off and Party Games. Cheer Off is the main mode for up to four players (a two-player battle can be done using four Wii Remotes, two for each player). Party Games are mini-games built around the rhythm gameplay but with different challenges, such as the classic Hot Potato, except with balloons. Overall, the energetic gameplay should provide a very fun evening for anyone willing to cheer.
Finally, no music game is complete without the songs. We Cheer 2 features lighthearted pop music, fitting perfectly with the game's upbeat theme. Some of the artists include Miley Cyrus (G.N.O), Corbin Bleu (Run It Back Again), Blur (Song 2), and the cheerleading anthem Mickey by Tony Basil. Unfortunately, most of the songs are covers, with only a few being the master tracks. But the covers do a pretty good job of emulating the original performances.
But alas, even a polished and robust game such as We Cheer 2 has flaws, however minor. There are some issues with motion detection during some of the harder levels. Even if you perform the movement exactly as shown on-screen, the game won't detect it. And as fun and fitting as the soundtrack is, the Disney Channel-inspired tunes might scare off potential players. It's also very limited, with only 30 licensed songs comprising the overall soundtrack.
Still, there's very little to complain about with We Cheer 2. Those willing to look past its cuteness will find one of the most inventive uses for the Wii Remote yet, along with great rhythmic challenge, bonus content and additional game modes. Music gaming just doesn't get better than this.