Christmas is coming... and with it, the urge to drink irresponsibly [don't ever drink irresponsibly, kids - Ed], fool around with co-workers [don't do that either, kids - Ed] and indulge in plenty of arm-linking, tinnitus-inducing karaoke. Nordic Games' We Sing series is primed and ready to offer much the same experience in the comfort of your own lounge - bar the drinking and embarrassing office one night stands - especially now that the new UK Hits edition delivers a whole host of British "classics" to belt out.
We Sing UK Hits follows the familiar We Sing formula, which is to say that it's practically identical to previous outings in the series. After selecting a track, up to four players can sing along (choosing from a selection of vox parts where appropriate) and attempt to follow pitch indicators that overlay the music video in the background. It's a tried and tested system that works extremely well even when you've got four loudmouthed singers crowded around the telly. Scores and percentages determine the winner, but the true joy is to be found in just taking part and losing one's inhibitions. The menus and GUI, which have been fairly bland throughout the series, are made much more attractive. Otherwise, though, it's business as usual.
It all comes down to the track selection, then, which is luckily extremely strong. Classic artists like David Bowie, Madness and Rick Astley - yes, you can literally get Rick Rolled by the random song selection - rub shoulders with newcomers like Florence and the Machine, resulting in a mix of forty tracks that anyone can get involved with. Spice Girls and other "guilty pleasures" provide multiple vocal parts for players to choose from. It's a solid and satisfying setlist that more than justifies the price tag.
And that's about your lot, really. We Sing UK Hits is designed to be a floor-filling group affair rather than a solo outing, though a selection of unlockable achievements will doubtlessly appeal to large-lunged perfectionists. The forgettible (if ocasionally useful) singing lessons also make a return, but don't offer enough dynamic advice to really be of much use. Interestingly, though, there are no online scoreboards, downloadable options or any online functionality whatsoever - which would have provided an extra incentive to buy. Not to mention a source of revenue post-release.
There's a case to be made that Nordic Games needs to start reinvigorating the genre and injecting something fresh and new into the formula. We Dance, their recently-released rival to Ubisoft's Just Dance, demonstrates that innovating with hybrid control schemes and extra features can pay dividends, allowing these smaller titles to mix it up with the big boys on their home turf. Even We Sing: Robbie Williams offered unlockable concert footage and some nods to hardcore fans. Sadly, We Sing: UK Hits doesn't offer anywhere near the same level of imagination - and will be written off by many gamers as just another cynical holiday season stocking filler.
But at the end of the day, it's a game that lets you sing some songs. And that's all it really needs to be.
- Strong track list
- Tried-and-tested singing mechanics
- No online features
- It's probably time to start pushing the envelope now, guys
The Short Version: If you're not a fan of singing games or karaoke, We Sing UK Hits isn't going to change your mind. At all. However, it's still one of the most accomplished croon-a-thons on the Wii, and as such, deserves some recognition as we enter the party season. There's a lot of embarrassing and cathartic fun to be had here.