Review: Disney’s Stitch Jam! (DS)

The Lilo and Stitch franchise may be recognized for animated movies, but Disney takes the series to  a rhythm platformer, which offers an enjoyable but brief experience.

Stitch Jam (DS)

Developer: Cattle Call
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Release date: March 23, 2010
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

In 2002 Disney released the movie Lilo and Stitch, and it received enough good reactions for them to keep going with it. Fast forward 8 years and we’ve had a TV series, 3 sequels, and inclusion in the Disney theme parks. Stitch has also been featured in some video games (Kingdom Hearts anyone?), but this is his first time taking on the challenge of a rhythm game with Disney’s Stitch Jam!, and I was pleasantly surprised. The reason that I was surprised is because I underestimated the game completely. If you have been following Disney, you know they don’t have the best experience creating console games, due to the fact that they like to make a lot for each franchise to ensure the most money. This usually ends up to the games becoming a bit of a mini-game themselves, but the price tag usually makes it a fairly decent price. You also have to keep in mind that this game is targeted towards more of a younger audience, so your mileage may vary.

The main storyline of the game is nothing new, but nothing completely outdone either. Experiment 624 “Angel” has been captured by Dr. Hamsterviel and Gantu. They plan to use her voice to hypnotize the other experiments and rule the world. It is up to Stitch to find them and save Angel with the help of Jumba and Pleakley. Of course, there are some parts in the story that you think just come out of nowhere, but the game isn’t completely focused on the story anyways. There are only 10 levels, which can be completed in about one hour or more depending on your speed, which kind of left me with a “short” sense in my mouth. After you beat the main storyline, there is opportunity to play through different levels with different aliens and costumes to try to set/beat high scores, but that doesn’t offer too much replay appeal.

A screenshot of the "Trouble In Town!" level.

The gameplay is fun, sporting an Elite Beat Agents feel. However, it isn’t as good as Elite Beat Agents due to the fact that it doesn’t have that many combinations, only having 3 different moves that you can use. Stitch will move across the level and you have to use the touch screen/buttons at the correct moments to merrily keep him on his way. If you happen to miss, it will have an impact on what happens and you might lose the level after enough times. You can choose from different difficulties in the options menu, and I found some nice fun on Expert, while my little brother found some fun on the easiest difficulty.

The part of the game that really struck me was the graphics and the animations going on in the background. I felt that it was very unique and well done, whether you were chasing Sparky on a car or fighting Gantu in space. What other DS games might put to waste, this game surprisingly had some good visuals.

The controls are done nicely, letting you choose between the touch screen or the buttons. The touch screen controls ask for you to touch the screen when stitch reaches a note (which appear as bubbles during gameplay), and to do a swift up or down motion when the note says to. The same style goes for the buttons, except for using A/B to hit the regular notes and the Up/Down arrows for the special notes. This works well and involves some challenges as you progress, and it does a good job of combining the actual song playing with the player’s movements. The same goes for the music, which has an upbeat Hawaiian flavor to it.

A screenshot of the "Follow That Trail!" level.

The multiplayer of this game features a download-to-play mode which lets someone who doesn’t have the game play co-op with someone who does. The co-op mode lets the two players be Angel and Stitch, and it does a nice job of incorporating two players into the normal single-player gameplay. The game also connects with Disney’s D-Gamer network, which was made for the DS games that they would make. You can unlock different outfits and clothing for your D-Gamer character, like achievements.

The thing about Disney’s Stitch Jam! is that it is a very fun game, but it is too brief. I felt that the game ended abruptly, without any motive to really replay the levels. However, when in the hands of my little brother the game lasted longer and he said that it was a lot of fun. Anyways, while it lasted it was a good game and I was very surprised that Disney made a game that I could enjoy. If you liked Elite Beat Agents and the Lilo and Stitch franchise, then I suggest you pick this up. Otherwise, you might want to consider before purchasing.