At the time of writing, there are approximately fifty bajillion console karaoke games on the market, so weâre just going to leap ahead and assume you know the premise. SiNG Party is the first of the genre to ooze its way across the lounge onto the Wii U, gold medallion glistening from within the depths of its chest hair.
Until the next gen of consoles finally get announced, the Wii U touch pad is the cool new tech kid on the block. What it brings to the karaoke party is the ability to be passed around the room, so that other karaoke fans can cue up a playlist of songs, be the impartial judge in a sing-off, or you as the dazzling lead singer can hold the room in your thrall as you grasp the lyrics right under your nose, and can turn away from the screen to face your devoted fans.
Like in most other karaoke games, SiNG Party features multiple modes for maximum value.
Sing Mode is your garden variety âsing and be judgedâ type, where the lyrics and a guide to the melody are presented on screen. You can sing solo or in duet mode, and you are judged at the end for how you did for pitch, power and flair.
The imaginatively titled Team Mode allows multiple players to split into teams and battle against each other.
And finally Party Mode is just that...not a contest, but just a fun thing to do with your friends at a party. No scores are recorded, and thereâs no guide to the notes for you to follow. In Sing Mode you navigate your way through a tunnel of notes... itâs weirdly like singing your way through a game of operation on the lower intestine. In Party Mode you have only the lyrics on the touch pad screen in your hand. Which is fine if you know the song well...but if you are in a social situation, and spontaneously decide to get up to sing with some friends, perhaps you donât know the song well, and would like a bit of guidance on the tune.
Party Mode also introduces the concept of the âleadâ singer holding the touch pad in one hand, and the microphone in the other, while the rest of the room watches the tv screen and participates as much as they want to. The lead can therefore turn around away from the TV screen, because all the words are there in your hand. The rest of the party can dance along with the moves demonstrated by the animated characters on the screen, clap when directed, and sing along with selected lyrics that pop up on the screen (spoiler: usually the chorus.) They can also play along with instruments on the songs using Wii-motes, if they feel like trying to dominate the group dynamic, and steal the lead singerâs thunder.
Q: How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one. They put the bulb in the socket, and then wait for the world to revolve around them.)
On the upside thereâs no silly clapping or cheering etc when you are singing, very few distracting âAwesome!â or âPerhaps you should try training mode!â animations as you go, and no booing if you go badly.
The microphone cord is also really long, roughly twice as long as the original SingStar mics, which is quite good if you are prone to putting on a Mick Jagger type strut around the lounge as you sing.
On the downside, you are basically just singing along with the original vocals of all the songs, which are at full volume. Itâs basically like singing along with the radio really, although you can make yourself louder if you are really keen. (To be fair you can also do that when youâre singing along with the radio...but thatâs called âshoutingâ.)
The animation is a bit, well...lame. Super cheesy. Other karaoke games have the original videos of your favourite songs. This has a bunch of girls dancing around to the songs as you sing in Party Mode, or something that looks like a screensaver from the mid 90s playing as you work your way through Sing Mode.
Additionally, the touch screen is a bit laggy to navigate through, because it takes a second to load a sound preview of every song you land on. This delay makes it far too easy to accidentally select Baby by Justin Bieber. Donât laugh, NZGamers, this is a very real risk. It happened to me, and I am frankly traumatised.
The set list is a pretty good mix of old and new - apart from the Bieber demon - although some selections may may have been generated by a computer search involving âartists that people are talking aboutâ. Like Nickelback. And the Bieber demon.
That said, you are probably going to buy a karaoke game based on whether it has songs you like. So the set list for SiNG Party is as follows:
So there you have it. SiNG Party is fairly inoffensive (except for the Bieber demon) but also pretty uninspiring too. Itâs competent, but lacks any real X Factor. The features that set it apart from the others in the genre are all on the Wii U touch pad, which is pretty cool as a gimmick, but probably not enough to drive you out to the shops to buy a Wii U if you havenât already. With a good bunch of people, this could make for a great time. But then, with a good bunch of people, pretty much anything would be fun, right?