Earplugs not included
As a fun way to introduce youngsters to the basics of rhythm action, the latest Chipmunks spin-off is a decent training ground for the heady delights of Guitar Hero et al. But for axe-wielding parents already skilled in the joys of music gaming, this candy-coloured, sickeningly-cute, eardrum-piercing squeakalong is the stuff of psychedelic nightmares.
On the Wii, singing along with Alvin and his toothsome pals sees players hitting moving notes as they appear in a circle, while on the Nintendo DS you swipe the stylus in directions indicated on-screen to sing the correct notes. Success in each twitchy scenario in turn sees players unlocking new songs and venues for the munks to visit, a routine punctuated in the Wii version by a note-grabbing minigame that offers brief respite from the normal squealing.
But while pre-teen Alvin fans will doubtless be satisfied with the simple action and deliriously happy that, once unlocked, songs can be played ad nauseum in the games jukebox theres little here to keep long-suffering parents happy. The presentation throughout is painfully average, offering little of the charm evident in the Chipmunks big screen outings; the simple action quickly becomes tedious, with little variety in the musical challenges; and while tweenagers may be seduced the high-pitched singing thats often only audible to dogs, the squeaky soundtrack will worm its way deep into your brain and keep nagging you long after the little uns have trotted off to bed.