The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-09-19 Nintendo DS Music/Rhythm E (Everyone) Disney Interactive Studios / Handheld Games

I really haven't been very lucky with my latest Disney games reviews. First there was High School Musical 2, then Cory In The House, and now something I wasn't even aware of until I got this package: The Cheetah Girls. Just by looking at the cover I had that Bratz feeling all over again... and really, I wasn't too far off.

The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom is based on the Disney-created all-girl pop band, which to my knowledge had four members, but only three appear in the game, Aqua, Dorinda, and Chanel. The story begins as the girls finish shooting a movie in India and are now out of "work". In a strike of luck, they find an audition for a show, and away they go.

The core of the game, aside from a lot of reading, is the Performance mini-game. This is the exact same rhythm game from High School Musical 2: Work This Out and Cory in the House, you must tap the notes in order as the circles close in on them. Before a Performance, you can pick up to three power-ups to use to your advantage during the practice session or dance-off. Other power-ups will be unlocked as you progress through the game.

At some point during the Performance, you are taken to the disco ball mini-game, which really made no sense to me. It just tells you to "color" the disco ball by touching all the little pieces of glass that compose the ball within a time limit, for bonus points. It just comes across as completely unecessary.

The other activity, called Cheetah Fashion, consists of earning money for the girls by creating clothing items. This is a memory game where you are shown a piece of clothing on the top screen and must match it on the bottom screen by picking and cutting the right pattern, choosing the fabric and applying the accessories in the right places.

The third activity is another memory game, Simon Says meets DDR. It's appropriately called Gita Says, Gita being your choreographer. She will show you some moves on the top screen, and you must mimic them on the touch screen, which turns into a DDR-like dance pad.

And that's about it for the mini-games you do throughout the story. If you go into free play, you can access all three plus a multiplayer option where you can trade items with other users or play the Performance mini-game in co-op or versus.

The scrapbook is where certain images that you unlock throughout the story will be stored, some are scenes from the game, others are real photos of the girls. You can view them here just like in a photo album.

There is also a wardrobe function where you can pick the clothes and customize the colors, but after a couple of minutes of browsing through the outfits, I was already extremely annoyed by the comments coming out of the girl every 30 seconds or so: "Awsome!", "Go girl!", "Alright!" and "Get your cheetah on!". Every 30 seconds! Even if you're not even doing anything, she'll keep going on and on. Argh!

The game does have a different feature that lets you access Disney's online community via the Nintendo DS Wi-Fi. This is called D-Gamer, and you must first register on the official site to create an account, which you then use to log on from the DS.

There are D-Gamer lets you customize an avatar, male or female, with plenty of options: tops, bottoms, a costume, hair style and color, head shape, skin tone, eyes shape and color, eyebrows, mouth, hats, glasses and accessories.even a few Disney references in the items, such as Tinker Bell and Peter Pan costumes and Snow White's hair.

Like in High School Musical 2, you can also use the DS as a music player even while it's closed, and have a playlist of The Cheetah Girls' songs running.

When all is said and done, The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom is another shallow game aimed at girls revolving around fame and fashion, with uninteresting mini-games that lack in variety and just bring back elements from previous titles and adds some really annoying voice acting - where it exists.

While the music player and online community are definitely features worth noting, the game really isn't worth the $30 price tag. Not unless you have a little girl who is a dire fan of the girl band, and even then, there are plenty of much better games for girls to play on their DS out there.

Special thanks to Disney Interactive for providing a copy of this title.