In one sense, a SingStar title based around one of Australia's most enduring musical acts is a rather obvious step for Sony to take. Countless millions of Wiggles albums, stickers, pasta meals, socks, puppets and T-shirts have been sold in the nearly 20 years since the Wiggles were first formed, and that translates into a lot of brand loyalty and more than a few fans. With more than 40 albums under their belts, the boys in blue, red, purple and yellow certainly have a fair selection of classic kids tunes to pick from.
(Hot Potato, Hot Potato...)
The track list covers a range of Wiggles hits, and not too many of the obviously-public-domain tracks that have made up much of the Wiggles' recent releases. Specifically, you'll get to croon along to Hot Potato, Can You (Point Your Fingers And Do The Twist?), Fruit Salad, Rock-A-Bye Your Bear, Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car, Wake Up Jeff! Captain Feathersword Fell Asleep On His Pirate Ship (Quack Quack), The Monkey Dance, Get Ready To Wiggle, Move Your Arms Like Henry, Lights Camera Action Wiggles!, Play Your Guitar With Murray, To Have A Tea Party, Getting Strong!, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I'm Dorothy the Dinosaur, Dr Knickerbocker, The Shimmie Shake!, Wags The Dog Is Chasing His Tail, and Hot Poppin' Popcorn.
Older Wiggles fans will appreciate that original Yellow Wiggle Greg is still prominently featured, with Sam only taking up the Yellow skivvy for a few select tracks. The other way of looking at that is that much younger Wiggles fans and given the Wiggles fanbase, that's likely to be most of them might be a touch confused as to who Greg actually is.
In a SingStar sense, all Sony's done is grab the relevant music tracks, lyrics and videos and slapped them within the same SingStar engine that it's used for previous SingStar games. Annoyingly, this is a PlayStation 2 only release. It'll run on first-generation PlayStation 3 machines, but if you've got a newer "slim" PS3 without backwards compatibility, there's no PS3-specific version for you.
(Hot Potato, Hot Potato, Potato, Potato, Potato, Potato)
SingStar games have always been a balance of public ridicule karaoke and fierce competition between people who privately seem to think they'd have a chance on Australian Idol, but thankfully for a Wiggles title, the scoring aspect has been toned down slightly. You're still scored on your ability to keep pitch with the songs, but not on the accuracy of the songs itself. This suits younger voices well, as mumbling in pitch is exactly the same thing as the lyric itself as far as SingStar is concerned.
It's not possible to fairly test a Wiggles game without the presence of younger Wiggles fans, so we ran its singing goodness past an eight-, six- and three-year-old to see how well they'd take to it. They all had some familiarity with the core material, and that was a very useful thing, because there's one obvious facet to any karaoke game that's most likely going to be entirely beyond most of the audience for Wiggles music.
(Cold Spaghetti, Cold Spaghetti...)
That's the ability to read the lyrics as they come up on screen. If you're not familiar with a given track and you happen to be three years old, in our experience you'll struggle more than a little, and the patience of small people is often only measured in picoseconds. This doesn't make SingStar The Wiggles is a bad game per se. It's just that if you were picking it up as just another Wiggles product that you could stick the kids in front of and go off and do something else, think again. The menus are simple enough, but to avoid frustration at not following the words correctly, you'll need an adult on hand. Hopefully, an adult that doesn't mind having Wiggles songs (short though they may be) stuck in their heads for days on end.
As you might be able to tell, just testing SingStar The Wiggles was enough to get Hot Potato pretty much permanently wedged into our cerebral cortexes. We're hoping there's some kind of cure.
When we played SingStar The Wiggles with the kids, they had a ball with it and that's not too much of a shock. With scoring really only an afterthought and the ability to watch Wiggles videos and sing along in an amplified way, there really wasn't much that Sony could have done to make this game not work, beyond the obvious need for at least one reading-capable person on hand. As long as you've got some time to throw down some vocals and help with the lyrics, it's good family fun. Now, repeat after us...
Lights, camera, action