Developer: Nordic Games
Publisher: Nordic Games
The We Sing series has become the go-to karaoke franchise on the Wii, flaunting its well-deserved platinum success in the face of bigger, better-funded music games with each subsequent release. While true innovation is at a premium, every new iteration boasts a new themed tracklist and a few incremental improvements based around fan feedback; thriving on a slick interface, competent pitch recognition mechanics and potential for belting out beloved tunes down the octave after a night out.
After honing in on specific niches with underwhelming We Sing UK Hits! and the excellent We Sing Rock!, Nordic Games has opted to cater for a much broader audience this time around. We Sing Pop! spans six decades of popular music, resulting in a uniquely inclusive track list with songs that everyone will know.
We Sing Pop! uses exactly the same setup as previous games in the series. You'll browse through a selection of thirty songs using an incredibly intuitive and crisp interface, choosing from multiple difficulty modes and gametypes with effortless WiiMote commands. Up to four players can battle it out on the same song, so long as you have microphones for everyone. Once you've selected your tracks or queued up a playlist, you'll be treated to the full music video with or without the vocals, and a superimposed GUI that illustrates the notes you should be singing... and where your voice actually is in relation to them. Then you sing. Hilarity ensues.
And as with any music game, you'll get out what you put in.
Cards on the table: I'm into Blues, rock, metal and old-school dance music. Tinie Tempah is just a spellchecker malfunction to me. Flo Rida is the home of Disney World, Alligators and elderly Americans as far as I'm concerned. But that didn't stop me from belting out Outkast's Hey Ya with merry aplomb, shakin' "it" like some sort of self-developing film while doing so. I crooned out Mysterious Girl while reminiscing about 90s roller discos, bopped along to YMCA and gave Ice Ice Baby my most sensual of whispers. Karaoke is good honest fun if you shake off your inhibitions, and with such a diverse selection of songs on offer, it's difficult to not get swept along when you've got a few friends involved. There's something for everyone.
As well as the range of multiplayer modes, including a cooperative Duet and a gruelling 8-track Marathon, Nordic has also tried to accommodate solo players with more options available from the get-go. The singing school, Expert Mode and the fan service Blind Mode are unlocked from the start, and are satisfyingly difficult to boot (yet technically impossible to fail). As with We Sing Rock!, potential embarrassment value is provided by the ability to replay completed tracks and witness your own vocal inadequacies first-hand, complete with a selection of amusing effects. And if you're in the mood to just sit back and create some ambience, you can queue up some music videos to watch at leisure. Naturally, though, you'll have the most fun with three mikes and three mates, and I still feel that We Sing Pop! could have offered more unlockables or career-driven modes for solitary players.
Other complaints are few and far between, barring the lack of innovation that - in all fairness - the series is under no obligation to provide. It's good at what it does, and in this genre, that's what counts. However, it's a shame that We Sing Pop! contains ten less songs than its worthy predecessor, which means that repetition is bound to set in much faster than before. Plus, erm, We Sing Rock! has Alice Cooper. And this has Sonny and Cher. No contest.
Look. We Sing Pop! isn't going to win any prizes for originality. It isn't going to top any Game Of The Year awards. But it lets you sing a great selection of songs with a few friends... and that's all it needs to do.
- Inclusive, gloriously cheesy setlist with some contemporary classics
- Tight singing mechanics,
- Good old-fashioned fun
- Still not much for solo players to do (it's a Karaoke game, what do you expect?)
- Ten less tracks than We Sing Rock!
- We Sing Rock! has a much stronger setlist
The Short Version: We Sing Pop! lets us sing pop. So... mission accomplished. Nordic Games have treated their flagship series to a cheesy and inclusive breath of fresh air, and though We Sing Rock! has a stronger setlist, this casual compilation is still well worth checking out. Families will almost certainly get the most out of the package since everyone's guaranteed to know at least a couple of songs.