Innovation & Design

We Cheer for the Nintendo Wii


Aimed mainly at young women, the new game from Namco Bandai puts you in the shoes of a cheerleader and rates your precision and speed

Cheerleading has become a national pastime, whether it revolves around young girls trying out for a squad for the first time or middle-aged men ogling them at professional and college football games. It's a bit surprising, then, that the genre hasn't been visited that often in video games, outside of the hit Ouendan import games for Nintendo DS. Namco Bandai Games looks to change that later this year when We Cheer arrives for the Nintendo Wii.

This rhythm/music game puts you in the shoes of a spry young cheerleader, working alongside her squad to perform an intricate dance sequence. Instead of directly controlling the on-screen character, however, you instead mimic actions in the foreground. Red and blue lines appear in various patterns, requiring you to perform specific motions similar to those patterns. For instance, if a blue line starts flashing in a circle, you need to twirl around the Wii remote as if it were a real pom-pom. The game reads these motions carefully, and rates you depending on your precision and speed at the end of each song.

It sounds like a complicated procedure, but the game actually plays very well. You'll find that the controls are very user-friendly, reading your motions while also giving you a little room to breathe as you practice. The game also supports multiplayer, so you can compete against a friend in Bring It On fashion or work alongside them to complete a routine. If you're up to the challenge, you can also play with two Wii remotes at once, completing as many lines in succession as you possibly can.

We Cheer probably won't appeal to everyone, however. The game is designed mainly for the younger female demographic. It features a soundtrack consisting of songs from Natasha Bedingfield, Hilary Duff, Simple Plan, Erasure and others. It also stars "cute" super-deformed cheerleading characters, which players are able to customize with various outfits, pom-poms and shoes. There are also a number of unlockable venues in which to perform your techniques and show off your cheerleading stuff.

We Cheer isn't half bad. The gameplay is energetic and creative, the presentation seems up to par and the extras, including the multiplayer modes and the calorie-burning workout mode, are sure to make it a party favorite. We'll be back to review the game later this fall and let you know if it's worth cheering for.

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