Party games are necessary for any gamer, or human being. When friends come around, it can be such a blast to play board games or drinking games, but party video games are equally awesome. Singstar Ultimate Party has come to PS4 and allows everyone to join in the fun, even without a mic. But is it the best singing party game that you can get?
Let’s Get Loud
The first thing to consider in a game that’s all about singing is which songs are available to sing. Singstar Ultimate Party comes with 30 tracks. These include iconic Karaoke tracks such as TLC’s No Scrubs or Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. There are songs as recent as Pharrell Williams’ Happy and Icona Pop’s I Love It. With plenty of varied songs (I even belted out Hello from Lionel Richie), it’s a pretty decent starting line up. Of course, more songs are available to purchase on the store, which is where they keep the really fun ones to sing.
On the store, you can get a much wider variety of songs, although I still found certain genres to be lacking. If you want to belt out your favorite rock, metal or even old school rap songs, you might find that they aren’t available. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of alternative rock, and a ton of pop songs.
It’s also nice to see that there are pop songs in a variety of languages. Want to sing 99 Luftbalons in the original German? No problem! This means that your international party can also be included in some crazy Singstar action. I still wish that there were more songs for those who don’t like auto-tune, but I understand that top 40 is the general pick when making a game like this for as wide an audience as possible.
Call Me Maybe
Singstar Ultimate Party makes use of a Singstar app. This means that you don’t need a microphone to play the game. As long as your smart device is on the same wifi network as your console, you can pair the device and sing your heart out. It certainly made my life easier – I don’t like buying extra peripherals for games and using my phone worked like a dream. I was even able to go to another party and use my app there to sing through their PS4. Of course, it means that you’ll need a wifi hotspot in your home, and feel comfortable letting all your friends on board without fearing that they’ll use up your data streaming YouPorn to their phones.
Unfortunately, the pickup from the phones isn’t always great. Often, it’s fantastic and feels quite fun to sing into the phone. The rest of the time, the game decides that you’re simply not singing. I couldn’t determine what caused the sudden drops in mic sensitivity, but it certainly impaired the game’s performance. Added to that, some phones simply wouldn’t stay connected – losing sync with the console on a regular basis, completely negating the convenience factor.
The game is really easy to pick up and play. Simply turn it on and select “Play Singstar” from the menu, as compared to buy a song. There you can select a song by browsing through your full list, or browsing by genre, artist or title. Once selected, you can add extra players and jump into singing. Pressing up or down on the d-pad increases or decreases the mic volume, letting you hear yourself or drown out your voice with the original track as desired. The goal of the game is simply to match your pitch and timing of singing with the game – it’s like a rhythm karaoke game with the original music video playing in the background. At the end, it adds up how many notes you go right and gives you a score. You can then input your name (it won’t remember your name, so you’ll have to tell it each time) on the highscore leader boards.
And… that’s about it. There aren’t really any other modes – sing the song alone or with friends, get your high score, the end. You can’t adjust song difficulty or length – if you accidentally pick a really long song, you’re stuck without it until the end instead of being able to opt for a shorter version. Without extra modes or options, the game quickly becomes boring and repetitive. Sure, you could just download more songs to keep the game interesting, but without various modes, you can only sing Let It Go so many times before you decide to move on to other activities.
Party like it’s 1999
Maybe that last comment isn’t entirely true if you happen to have offspring. At a party, kids would certainly enjoy this game, singing their favorite songs over and over again, fighting for high scores and begging their parents to sing along. The more adults drink, obviously the more they sing. It becomes silly and fun – an easy to maneuver party game that probably won’t cause too much controversy unless particularly sexy music videos come on the screen.
However, the same issues persist. Connection and pick up issues from the mic app mean that people will get frustrated with the game, and the lack of songs to sing can make people lose interest once they realize how much money they will need to dish out for all the songs they want. Then again, some people will find it worthwhile, shopping for all their favorite iconic Top 40 songs and singing along for hours on end. It’s a great family friendly game, although it definitely needs some work before it will be the go-to party game of choice.
Last Updated: November 4, 2014