Some games never really rise to the heights that the developers or publishers would like them to. Take Duke Nukem Forever, a fine example of vaporware that was highly anticipated for many, many years until it was released after fifteen years of development and slammed by critics as well as disappointed fans. Dance games are a little different to this however since they usually find themselves a niche and also some willing followers whose interest will peak and compel them to purchase whichever game they have taken a shine to. Just Dance and Dance Central are the more obvious ones, but even lesser-known games still had a following: Zumba Fitness, The Michael Jackson Experience, and Dance on Broadway can be said to have sold reasonably well. A game that never quite made its way into the realms of awareness for most console gamers however was the ambitious Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing and Dance for the Nintendo Wii. The game which best resembles it, Dance on Broadway, was somewhat of a disappointment in presentation and gameplay, so the question remains: has Sing and Dance been able to provide a truly memorable and superior experience?
For fans of musical theatre and musicals in general, this game certainly has plenty to offer. Players can look forward to delving into the opportunity to take centre stage and immerse themselves in a rich selection of songs from musicals from the past few decades. The game promises to feature favourites from many different Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals and definitely has something for everyone. While Dance on Broadway restricted players to merely dancing along to their favourite Broadway tracks with some e, the nature of Sing and Dance is of course indicated in the title: you actually get to sing along with your much-loved musical numbers as well as dance along to them as well. This combined experience instantly makes the game's appeal broader and its gameplay more in-depth than the aforementioned Dance on Broadway.
Gameplay consists of three different modes, each providing a slightly different perspective on the musical numbers. You've got sing mode where you only have to worry about singing along to the songs, dance mode where you follow the choreographed routines for each musical number, and career mode. The latter mode is of course where you get to experience the best that the game has to offer since it involves a combination of singing and dancing in performances that are true to each of the musicals that the respective songs originate from.
The gameplay comes to you in the familiar format used by Just Dance or Dance Central and involves dancing along to on-screen instructors who perform the moves that must be executed. The singing portions of the gameplay are also accompanied by an on-screen pitch indicator; you are marked accordingly on your pitch and the accuracy of your dance moves with your overall performance ranked after each song. Players can also enjoy performing with up to three other friends in a multiplayer mode that allows for group performances.
Whether or not players will enjoy the game is dependent entirely on whether they are fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber or not. His particular brand of musical certainly isn't for everyone, but it is safe to say that if you like a few of his shows then there's something for you to enjoy in this game. Most will be keen to give the various tracks ago as it features thirty-two songs from a variety of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. There are around two tracks from each well-known musical so that there is a little variety but it is of course heavy on Phantom of the Opera, with a whopping six tracks dedicated to the musical that is by far Webber's most famous work. Tracks like Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, No Matter What (from Whistle Down the Wind) and The Wizard of Oz's Red Shoes Blues feature here with performances from artists including Sarah Brightman, Donny Osmond, Boyzone, and Greg Ellis. The music here is truly of paramount quality and will please any fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber, no matter what their favourite musical may be.
Since the game was developed by a lesser-known company (Tubby Games) in lieu of giants such as Ubisoft who have been doing this sort of thing for years, the lack of experience does shine through in things like the presentation and the execution. Though attempts have been made at making things colourful and friendly on the eye, the on-screen instructors/characters still seem lifeless and devoid of any real flare. The gameplay itself is also far from challenging and in contrast to games like Guitar Hero, really doesn't offer a challenge that will push your singing or dancing skills to anywhere near the limits that true gamers will expect. Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing and Dance is still an appealing title for die-hard fans of Webber however, and the game can be enjoyed by individuals or groups of musical fans for many different party-based occasions.