If I was forced to compile a comprehensive list of games that I have no interest in playing, you wouldn’t need to scroll down very far to find something like Sing Party. But it’s important to open our minds a little bit and try to experience new things. So, I plugged in the bundled USB microphone, slipped in the disc and loaded up Nintendo’s take on the karaoke game.
This was a launch title in North America but it’s taken an extra couple of months to make the trip to Europe. Hopefully that will make the wait for DLC tracks easier to bear because those are still not available in the US and they haven’t got a firm date here, other than “early 2013.” The included track list isn’t bad – it features plenty that you’d expect and probably want from this kind of game – but it is a little thin on the ground.
As you might expect, the songs on the disc include seemingly timeless karaoke classics like The Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA and The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and The News. They also include plenty of modern pop like LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem and Carly Rae Jepsen’s much parodied descent into gut-wrenching insanity that is Call Me Maybe.
The European release differs slightly in its track list. We miss out on David Guetta’s Sexy Chick but there are few extra tracks that weren’t in the US version. It’s only Robbie Williams singing Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, Love Shack by the B-52’s and Dancing in the Street by Bowie and Jagger, though, so don’t feel too smug, Europeans!
The game disc comes bundled with an official USB microphone (which will be available separately as well) but it can also be used with old licensed Wii microphones you might have lying around. I tried it with my Blue Snowball USB mic that I use for podcasting and had no joy so it’s obviously not going to work with all USB options. It’s also impossible to use the mic in the GamePad, although the touch screen can be used to adjust levels like a mixing desk while you play, which is a nice touch.
There’s a Party Mode which encourages you to dance along with an on screen avatar, perform to the assembled audience and have people accompany you with Wii Remotes. It’s all very lightweight and it can be distracting having to watch the GamePad for lyrics and prompts but it removes the pressure of the pitch bar, just throwing up lyrics for you to belt out. This is the mode you’ll want to make your mates perform to when you’ve filled them full of alcohol and brought them back from the pub.
The standard Sing Mode is for just vocal players to sing alone, together or as part of a duet and there’s a Team Mode that lets you set teams and battle it out like some kind of low budget take on a Simon Cowell production. They’re all very similar, in truth, but I can imagine more spirited players finding some joy in the different modes for post-pub sessions.
The familiar sideways scrolling lyrics, staggered horizontally for time and vertically for pitch, will keep you well prompted. Your vocal input is measured with a glowing trail that moves up and down with your pitch. That trail is either grey, yellow or orange, depending on how powerfully you’re performing. It also adds sparkles to the trail, if you happen to be impressing with flair, although it’s difficult to work out how that’s measured.
It’s impossible for an old cynic like me to give this kind of thing the appraisal it deserves for a considered review. My lack of experience with similar games and my general dislike for the concept of standing in the middle of your living room, belting out bad songs at the top of your lungs make it unfair for me to put a score on this. So let’s just say that this is one of those games I don’t like very much, but it seems like a reasonably decent, if a little thin, example of one.