J JamesGames.com Lips #1 Hits

Lips #1 Hits

Lips #1 Hits
By: James Oppenheim | Created: 2012-05-22 23:27:30 | (Updated: 0000-00-00 00:00:00)

Over the past few years, heck, over the past few days, it seems as if we've been inundated with karaoke and music games. Are we all suffering burnout and over-saturation from the genre at this point. When I suggested we play Lips Number One Hits, my friend looked at me and said, " How could it possibly be different from all the other music games we've tested?"

The fact is while there is overlap among the Rock Bands, Guitar Heros, SongStars, and Lips, part of what has happened is that the vast array of music games means that there is likely something for everyone. These games not only reflect the broad range of musical tastes out there, but the different approaches we like to take to "playing" with our music.

With their plastic guitars and rubberized drum kits, Rock Band and Guitar Hero serve up a gadget centered musical experience. The emphasis of these franchises is dexterity on simulated instruments. Though both incorporate vocals - including harmony parts in the new Beatles Rock Band - singing usually takes a back seat to the faux instruments.

Lips takes a very different approach - one that was welcomed by the non-hardcore gamers I played with. Using real music videos featuring the stars (where possible), Lips focus is on Karaoke. Just as NBA 2K10 and Madden aim at delivering up the video game equivalent of a tv broadcast, Lips wants to put you (your voice, anyway) into real rock/pop videos.

Yes you can use the microphones as tambourines, and occasionally you'll be asked to shake them to the music, singing is what the game is all about.

The basic game includes 40 songs, plus a free download of a five-song pack from Xbox Live (for a limited time). Additional songs are easily available from the store within the game.

Taking a cue from the world of Wii, Xbox Live's recently improved avatars now are used in the game itself. Microsoft promises that in an upcoming update users will be able to compete for accessories that work with the game - for instance Lady Gaga's sunglasses.

This is a real party game, particularly for non-gamers. It is easy to pick up casually. Two players can join in and out of the game as the music hits them. Unlike some music titles, it can be played rather non-judgmentally making its tracks part of the background music of your party.

Of course, the key question in the purchase of music games is "does the music fit your taste?" The emphasis here is on pop, not rock, and on-balance there are a lot of nostalgic tunes (The Beach Boys, MC Hammer, Blondie, Culture Club, Beck), though Rihanna, Kanye West, Nickleback and Coldplay are here as well.

I wish it had was the ability to change the key of the songs. Many of the tunes were out of my vocal range (which has increasingly fewer notes every year).

Lips delivers a solid Karaoke experience - particularly if the tunes are to your taste. The graphics are fun, the videos authentic, and the integration of the store in the game very easy to use.

- details -