Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Singstar – if you like to play fake instruments or warble at the top of your voice, you can be sure there is something already available on the market to satisfy your dreams of stardom. Lips: Number one hits is sure to appeal to karaoke singers the world over.
The title ships with a motion sensitive, wireless microphone and gives you a handful of tracks to sing along with. The microphone base will light up as the colour you are going to be represented by on the screen and the words appear with pitch, timing lines – and you start to sing along – hopefully in time and in key! Your voice will appear as the chosen colour on the screen and you use it to fill up empty bars and you get awarded with points.
While you sing you can watch the original music video to enhance the mood and you can also set up different visualizations to work your way from the beginner ranks to the Superstar status everyone desires. When you connect to the net you can download over 100 tracks from the store as well which is a nice (if costly) touch.
If you played the original LIPS game then this will be immediately familiar as it is basically the same game with some new updates. The menus are improved, the graphics are nicer but apart from that it is basically just a track pack expansion. Even the mini games are the same as before and the leveling system is pretty much intact. A good touch is that the developers decided to bundle a redemption code with the game which allows you to get one of three five song track packs for free so you get some input on what you can immediately add to your list of songs.
The mechanics of the game work the same as before and the singing and scoring system is pretty much spot on … as a karaoke game it works well. The wireless mics have a solid system of operation as a person can join your game by simply shaking the second microphone. The motion controls are incorporated nicely into the gameplay because in between singing the verses and choruses an avatar appears on screen which makes a motion to signify you can do the same with your microphone to earn bonus points. You can also shake your mic in time to the maraca onscreen to get bonus points.
As you sing notes in a song and do well there is a meter above the lyrics which is called Star Steam juice. When the meter gets filled you are able to tilt the microphone and activate the power which fills your timing bars with stars. If you fill these bars with your voice and collect the stars you earn mega points. It is also worth pointing out that all the stars you manage to collect are in fact linked to your Grand Rank which is the games leveling system.
As you level up you are awarded for your rhythm and pitching and you begin to move up a progress tree with other ranks to obtain. While this game will never been a ‘single player’ game to most people, this does gives you some personal goals to achieve if you like the achievements system. There are also leaderboards after every song and you can send song challenges to friends which is a nice concept.
The changes to the UI are welcome because Number One hits fixes the issues of crowded screen space and navigation problems which annoyed me in the original. The game even offers all available downloadable content at the bottom of the track library you have. This means you don’t need to head back out of the menus, head into the store manually and go all the way back to play the tracks you get. Putting everything in the one place is a great way to present the content for ease of use.
One annoying thing is that the game lists all the songs you can sing from the main menu, but when you count them the game is actually listing all available tracks, even those on the store which you have yet to purchase. Number One even lists the original tracks in your library if you owned the original song. If you want to play the tracks from the original release the game prompts for the disc and you have to pop it in. It works reasonably well, but I would have liked the option to rip the tracks from the original disc to make the process more seamless. It is especially annoying that the Number One game then re-prompts for the newer disc after accessing the old track information, a sure way to ruin the flow of a party game.
Lips is a fun game which will appeal to any sociable karaoke fans who like to mingle with similar minded people. The song selection is solid enough and the operation of the microphones is a pleasure. The library artwork looks great and the leaderboards and challenges all work out very well. It is a solid game, but I think you will know already if you will like this game, there is nothing here to miraculously change your mind.
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