Victorious: Taking the Lead
Fans of Nickelodeon’s hit show Victorious who are upset over it being cancelled may be happy to know that the show will live on for just a bit longer, as Victoria Justice and the gang make their debut on the Nintendo Wii with Victorious: Taking the Lead featuring a new storyline based on the series. Is it a Victorious effort, or will it leave fans of the show feeling Jaded?
Victorious: Taking the Lead is an odd mashup of point-and-click adventure and rhythm game. You play as Tori Vega as she tries to win the lead in an upcoming Hollywood Arts school production of Romeo and Juliet. Of course, thwarting her at every turn is her arch-rival Jade, who’s going for the same part. There are four episodes with five acts each, and every point-and-click act is followed by a rhythm game where you try to match the required presses of the A and B buttons and shaking the Wii Remote.
The point-and-click parts typically see Tori investigating parts of the environment in various rooms at Hollywood Arts for objects and people to interact with. Oh, and there are coins hiding in each room for you to find (which reminded me of hint coins in the Professor Layton games) that you can cash in for things like various in-game locker wallpapers and opening up free-play activities. The game pretty much holds your hand in helping you figure out what you need to do next, and there is typically a side quest or two in each act you can try to fulfill. The inventory system isn’t particularly intuitive at first, but is manageable once you get accustomed to it.
When you speak to characters, sometimes you have multiple conversation options, which adds a measure of choice to the proceedings. This was hit and miss. There was one point where I had to answer a quiz, and the answer I needed to give wasn’t one of the choices initially presented. Turns out I made the mistake of overestimating Tori’s intelligence and I was supposed to ask a classmate for the right answer first. There were times when picking one speaking option meant you couldn’t fulfill a side quest or you had to try again later. Other times you could keep picking conversation choices until you picked the “right” one. For the most part, the game doesn’t get significantly altered by your choices.
The rhythm game part is okay, if not a bit generous. Beyond button presses, sometimes you had to hold a button or press it a number of times within a given number of beats. Considering there are only three inputs for it, the songs are still varied and there’s enough of a challenge to them. Rhythm-challenged players and younger kids may have some trouble, but it seemed pretty difficult to fail a song. On a technical side note, I played this game on the Wii U in Wii Mode and most of the songs would exhibit occasional stutter. That’s not good in a rhythm game. It may be due to the emulation, but it’s worth noting.
The story in each episode is not particularly good, and seemed fairly shallow. Of course, I was informed that the show itself isn’t particularly deep by my wife, who’s seen the show with the boys quite a bit. In fact, watching me play, she said what was going on in the game is kind of par for the course with the show. And as a plus, the show’s actors recorded a lot of dialog for the game, and the characters act like they do on the show: Tori and Jade compete all the time, Mr. Sikowitz (appropriately pronounced psycho-witz) is an incompetent adult figure, and Cat is an airhead. So from that standpoint it’s a fairly authentic Victorious experience.
Figure on each episode taking about an hour and a little bit to complete, maybe a bit more if you try to find every single coin and do every single side quest, and a bit less if you just want to power through. That can bring total game time in anywhere between 4-6 hours, the high end of which is decent value, the low end not so much.
The GamerPops Recommendation
Obviously this game is meant for fans of the show and while the mix of point-and-click and rhythm is an odd choice, it’s not a bad choice, though I question how much the Victorious fan-base would be into point-and-click adventures. Victorious: Taking the Lead stays fairly true to the show (you’re essentially playing through show-like episodes) and I’ve certainly seen worse licensed efforts. The game would be better value at $20 and non-fans have no real reason to play it. It doesn’t insult your intelligence (or at least any more than the show itself would), but it doesn’t exactly take any leads either.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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ESRB Rating Summary
Rating: Everyone 10+
Content descriptors: Alcohol Reference, Mild Lyrics
Rating summary: This is a collection of rhythm-based games based on characters from the TV show Victorious. Players attempt to earn the lead role in a high school play by engaging in various mini-games (e.g., matching musical notes that scroll across the screen). One song includes mildly suggestive lyrics (e.g., “You think that we should hook up, but I think that we should not” and “Get your hands off my hips, ‘fore I’ll punch you in the lips/Stop your staring at my—Hey!”). In one sequence, the dialogue references Pina Coladas (a rum-based drink).