Dealspwn Rating: 7/10
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
According to the tag line for Lips Party Classics, “it took decades to build this collection.” Really? Most people with a vague interest in music could have come up with most of the song titles here in about two minutes.
Aside from a couple of curve balls – James’ Laid and The Divinyls' I Touch Myself – the most of what’s here on this new Lips add-on package is the very definition of crowd pleasing.
Tom Jones and It’s Not Unusual, for example. REM’s Shiny Happy People. The B52’s Love Shack, Right Said Fred and I’m Too Sexy, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama... Not exactly what you’d call edgy, are they? As for The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody – which also features – don’t do what I did and mistake it for You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. The latter is sing-able by most blokes. Unchained Melody is written in the key of absolutely fricking impossible...
Anyway, back to the important stuff and, let’s face it, edgy isn’t the angle anyone’s looking for from this particular title. Familiarity, as they sort of say when they want to play around with the cliché, breeds content.
As mentioned above and as the name suggests, Lips Party Classics is a (budget price) song pack to boost your assumed existing copy of the rather popular XBOX 360 karaoke title. It’s a collection of 40 alleged singalong favourites (again I ask, James’ Laid?) intended to get the party started or, far more likely, to completely finish it off in drunken style. Regular karaoke crooners will have been here before and newcomers will, at least, know most of the titles on offer. In either case, it’s easy to pick up and can be enjoyed as instant karaoke or, should you desire, as a decently challenging one-player game.
There is a certain assumption on behalf of the publishers that you’ll already have the necessary bits and pieces to play the game. While it will work with most USB microphones, to get the most out of it you will need the “official” Lips ones, because these contain motion sensors. You can probably tell where this is going then...
Yes, indeed, in order to maximise your score, it’s not enough to just sing. This is party Lips, remember? You need to perform and move about a bit. This can be anything from tilting the microphone up when the “Star Stream” meter is on screen, to playing an imaginary tambourine, drum or, somewhat inevitably, a little air guitar whenever the on-screen instructions dictate.
As with many such titles, the game itself covers a few bases. There is a career mode, of sorts, where the points you earn take you up the rankings, from bedroom wannabe to global rock god superstar. Each individual performance is rated on a personal level and also ranked on a global scale, thanks to the joys of online sharing. For the former, there are assorted medals to be won covering pitch, rhythm, performance, your party ability – hitting the drum, for example, in time with the instructions – technique and stability. As such, unlike other recent entries into this increasingly crowded sector, Lips does reward singing ability but also gives some credit for the enthusiasm of the performance. It’s a good thing and should level the playing field a little in multiplayer games.
For those interested in seeing how they compare to other bedroom rockstars worldwide, the online elements are slickly handled and use your XBOX Live avatar to good, and amusing, effect. Good performances will see your avatar pick up new accessories, cups etc., and while it may be a sign that I need to get out more, watching my XBOX alter-ego grooving to Tom Jones and Gloria Gaynor raised a few smiles.
The interface is also delightfully easy to use – it takes longer to sync a new microphone than it does to get to grips with the game options – and there are hundreds of downloadable songs that you can buy. It’s also easy to turn songs from your own music collection into karaoke “classics”.
Adhering strongly to the “if it ain’t broke...” philosophy, Lips Party Classics is hard to fault. Well, except for the presence of that James’ song, of course, and the fact that it takes a little while to load when you first put the disc in. It’s also slightly disappointing that you can’t directly import songs from other Lips discs.
But, as pick up and sing goes, this is fun, nicely put together and features enough options to keep families and groups ticking along.
- Original videos of (mostly) crowd pleasing song choices
- Slick connection to your XBOX Live account and avatar
- Instantly playable
- No import function
- The odd soundtrack anomaly
- Nothing revolutionary to report
The Short Version: However you cut it, Lips Party Classics is just another console karaoke title. However, as far as this swollen genre goes, Lips is still pretty much the best and this decently priced package will breathe some new life into your copy.