We already gave a bit of an introduction on Brash Entertainment in our review for the dreadful Jumper: Griffin's Story but we'll recap for those who are keen on the company's more kid friendly games. Brash Entertainment is a new publisher which will be focusing solely on movie to game adaptations. While Griffin's Story is the second game from Brash Entertainment Alvin and the Chipmunks was the first game released from the company. Unfortunately Alvin and the Chipmunks is a simply dreadful title as well, and one that's best used as punishment for children, rather than a reward.
Even though a live action film was only released theatrically recently, Alvin and the Chipmunks have a long history. Alvin and the Chipmunks are actually a music group which made their debut in the 1950's. Since then we've seen an Alvin and the Chipmunks television series and plenty of merchandise. The live action film wasn't received well critically, but was a financial success. The game sort of takes inspiration from the live action film.
The first experience players will have with Alvin and the Chipmunks will probably turn about 50% of players off the game. Within the first few seconds while creating a profile we endured a chipmunks version of Video Killed the Radio Star. After cleansing ourselves we launched into the story mode. So, what's the story? Well, according to the manual the chipmunks want to win the right to play at the battle of the bands event, Rockathonapalooza. We had to consult the manual because the game just launched straight into a "rock battle" without any kind of introduction.
The four of you still reading should note that Alvin and the Chipmunks is a rhythm based game. Much like Parappa the Rapper the objective is to push the correct buttons at the right time to score points and combos. This is the first problem with the game. While in Parappa the Rapper players could just push circle or square at the right time, Alvin and the Chipmunks is colour coded, so when the flying stars go over a certain colour circle you're supposed to push either L1, R1, L2 or R2. Once again, how did we find this out? Well, we had to consult the manual because once again it isn't explained in the story mode and there is no Controls option in game.
It's with this ridiculous gameplay choice that Alvin and the Chipmunks completely falls apart. We're grown adults and we had trouble remembering that R1 = the blue star target, whereas L1 is the green star target. We have to ask, how difficult would it have been to just change the star targets to buttons on the directional pad? Were Brash Entertainment that lazy that they didn't want to change the buttons for each version? (We reviewed the PlayStation 2 version, but it's also available on the Wii, DS and PC). This poor gameplay choice basically makes Alvin and the Chipmunks unplayable.
We struggled through the story mode with the instruction book right near us the whole time. Progressing through the story mode will result in more songs being unlocked and more locations (such as the prom, a ski resort and other places you'd pay money to see three chipmunks perform at). Aside from being used as punishment for children we're not sure why anyone would last more than two minutes with Alvin and the Chipmunks. Sure there's a quick play option and the opportunity to watch any of the songs you've unlocked, but we don't understand why someone wouldn't go pick up Parappa the Rapper or any of the 1093 other rhythm games out there, which we guarantee are better than this poorly licensed title.
The game does throw in some slapdash multiplayer, but it's dull and simply results in two players both fighting against the controls. Alvin and the Chipmunks rates so poorly because it's just terrible. Aside from the ridiculously and unnecessarily complex gameplay the songs in the game are poor, the graphics are shocking, the loading is arduous and the game feels like it's been put together in two days.
If the review isn't quite clear enough let's sum it up and conclude this review shall we? Alvin and the Chipmunks is a terrible, low budget, embarrassing for the industry "game". We've had more fun at the dentist (and not just when they wash your mouth out with that minty stuff). A cute little platformer or a game that just felt a little more polished would have been much better than this game. Brash Entertainment's first two titles are some of the worst we've ever played and bring new meaning to "shocking licensed title".