(Wii U)

SiNG Party (Wii U)

Game Review

SiNG Party Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Pants party

When you're aiming for a wide audience with your new console, it's important to have all of your boxes ticked. New Mario? Check. Zombies? Check. Party game? Check, mate.

That seems to be the driving force behind SiNG Party, a game so light and fluffy that it wafts through the air like the smell of cotton candy. It just kind of exists in a mildly pleasing way, a light nosh of pop culture shenanigans that leaves little substantial impression beyond "so that happened." Clever GamePad use can only carry bare-bones features and a Milquetoast aesthetic so far, though, keeping SiNG Party away from the pantheon of great social games.

Karaoke is as good a place as any to binge on empty pop calories and SiNG Party hopes to feed them to you by the shovel, although, stupidly, there is no indication of how challenging a song is until you realize that you are absolute garbage at it. With 50 tracks ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen's immortal summerjam "Call Me Maybe" to Pet Shop Boys' take on "Always On My Mind" and Florence and the Machine's "You've Got The Love," SiNG Party's songbook is contemporary and diverse enough to please most on the Theoretical Party-goer Check-list (however, why anyone thought that Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" is a quality pick for a music game in 2012 is beyond us). The selection feels very "safe" and, thus, unexciting — of what is on offer here, the tracks are either aggressively played on pop radio (e.g. LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem") or well-worn karaoke classics (e.g. Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now") — desperately pleading for a curve ball somewhere, anywhere, to lend a bit of character. There's a promise to open the eShop floodgates for purchase of new songs, but the store has as of yet not opened for business so we can't speak to pricing, selection or anything like that, but fingers crossed that sanity prevails.

Party mode is the marketable one at the heart of the package, where the singer holds the GamePad streaming lyrics to allow them to croon towards the crowd, which in turn is treated to some bubblegum nonsense show on the television with giant lyrics flashing and vague instructions to dance. There is no pitch guide to follow, so singers can belt out their best impersonation of Bruce Springsteen during Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" if they so choose. Keen to get the crowd going, the GamePad nudges singers to say things like "Clap your hands, everybody!" and to sway and dance along — an amusing touch, but one that mostly feels forced and not very compelling to go through with.

Sing mode is more along the lines of what you'd expect from a karaoke video game, where pitch guidelines and lyrics scroll on the TV screen and you do your darndest to follow along. Performances in Sing mode are scored and Starred, and completing little mission-like Awards (say, perform three songs by male artists) allow you to level up — this number doesn't really mean or unlock anything, so Awards are mostly there to give your caterwauling some direction. If you've got a second microphone you can hook it up for a Duet, and to keep things at a good clip you can sing an abridged version of a song or savour the full track. If you've got a competitive streak, Team mode pits you against a frenemy in assorted challenges, and what the game calls an "impartial judge" — a.k.a. a third person in the room — gets a say in who put on the best performance by voting on the GamePad, which is a neat way of trying to encourage showmanship that the game otherwise wouldn't be able to account for.

It's no surprise that the more substantial Sing mode makes greater use of the GamePad: instead of tying it up with the singer by streaming lyrics to it that often appear on the TV anyway, audience members can fiddle with channel volume levels, tap to "jam" along with an instrument that mostly ends up as a diabolical distraction and, most important, tee up songs to keep the flow constant. This is probably the best idea SiNG Party has and its execution is delightful; it's incredibly practical for avoiding downtime between songs and is easy to use, with the added bonus of a pop-up notification on the TV screen of who is up next and what song they've chosen so you know whether to go get that next glass of Yoo-Hoo quite yet. Since the singer holds the GamePad during Party play, none of this functionality, that would better facilitate a karaoke party, is available there, rendering the mode further useless compared to virtually every other pocket of data comprising the game.

Conclusion

SiNG Party feels like it was designed for commercials: It's flashy and light, heavy on that kind of wholesome party fun that impossibly well-groomed human-like people seem to have all the time but of which the grubby masses never finds itself a part. By trying to please everyone at the same time, though, the game sacrifices a lot of identity and ends up with modes that are either just plain adequate or downright puzzling. With the right group of like-minded people you could find yourself having a great time with SiNG Party, but then again you can achieve the same effect cranking up the radio and belting along at the top of your lungs.

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User Comments (22)

DrMonk

#3

DrMonk said:

This is a shame. Was hoping Nintendo would have a decent karaoke franchise. Hopefully the new collaboration with Joysound in Japan will come to the west and give us a real karaoke game.

sillygostly

#4

sillygostly said:

I would have seriously considered this if the songs were accompanied with their respective music videos. Watching the demonstrators desperately trying to get onlookers to join in at Sydney's Wii U Experience was just laughable with those awful screen saver par visuals. How hard could it have been to license and source the original music videos? 1080p music videos on YouTube are no more than a couple of hundred MBs a pop (while providing decent quality visuals) so I'm sure that they could have easily squeezed in the HD masters of the 50 or so music videos on a single-layer 25GB disc without any major issues (while leaving plenty of room for game data).

I was hoping that Nintendo would have a quality Singstar-esque franchise under its belt, but SiNG Party just doesn't cut it. I'm not the biggest fan of karaoke games but I did snag myself U-Sing 2 which I was a guilty pleasure that I played secretly (that was until my dad walked in on me singing I Touch Myself by Divinyls kills self). It would have been nice to have a similar game published by Nintendo themselves.

Kyloctopus

#5

Kyloctopus said:

I was quite sad when seeing this at E3. They could have used that time just to get Sakurai to say "Smash Bros. is coming soon, but not too soon for 3DS, and Wii U"

Chunky_Droid

#6

Chunky_Droid said:

Yeah, I wasn't expecting much, but hey, it's the first of its genre from Ninty, so hopefully it'll get better.

I'm glad Jon mentioned that Nickelback is in the game, this means I won't be buying it.

H_Hunter

#10

H_Hunter said:

I was convinced from the 1st moment I saw this thing that it will fail. The skirt is awfully too short by the way.. cover yourself women!

antster1983

#14

antster1983 said:

I have a karaoke machine at home, which takes CDs, DVDs, SD cards and USB pen drives, so meh. -.-

FonistofCruxis

#16

FonistofCruxis said:

This isn't my sort of game but I never thought it would be that game and the lack of music videos makes it seem rather rushed. Also, the EU release date is wrong, its out on the 18th January.

defrb

#18

defrb said:

I would like to see nintendo as devolper better :P
Not intrested in crap published by nintendo....

TheVideoGamer

#19

TheVideoGamer said:

There IS a market for this game, & it's nice Nintendo thought to include a singing game at all for launch. It's right up my wifey's alley, & my daughter's too young to read, but knows all these songs, so has no problems singing along. Good family karaoke game. We have all the sing stars on ps2, & every wii game that takes a mic (we like the karaoke you see...), & while this is not the best singing game around, it's FAR from garbage, & hopefully just the beginning of a new Nintendo franchise. We could all care less about the inclusion of music videos (we have YouTube, thanks), but the main tv presentation DOES leave a lot to be desired, yet it doesn't ruin the experience by any means. The gamepad features are really awesome for this type of game as well, & we look forward to more song availability eventually. You may now continue hating on a game you never intend or ever intended to ever play :)

saiizan

#21

saiizan said:

one word - WOW. I just played it today and it TOTALLY SURPRISED me! This game needs to be experienced yourself fully before you can really judge it. I've been a fan of the little things that are the unique signature of Nintendo, and I SEE IT in this game. I like how Ninty allows the players 'space' to fill in their creativity. I really liked how the gamepad(how awesome) & wiimotes are used as instruments to allow other players to become a part of the whole action. The gamepad becomes a drumming pad which changes instruments at different times in the song and each song has unique ones!

They picked all the right songs cos I can see myself coming back to this again & again just to better myself or just sing the day away :) Love LOVE LOOOOVEE the practice mode, It's also so cool how seamlessly the game flows especially the music as it goes from 'minus one' to original as you move along the menus & options. Graphics wise, ahh I can simply say it's wonderfully pleasing to my eyes. The gamepad is used terrifically(lol what a word to use) in this game, love how I can 'do stuff' while the other players are singing!

I give this a perfect 10 just because it does what it says on the box & more, if you can see it with the right eyes(& ears)! The colors explain the game so well and I'm glad I dived in and bought it, NOT expecting to be surprised and delighted!

Gamersteven

#22

Gamersteven said:

wii microphones are compatible with Wii U karaoke and wii 'u sing party? ive one from dj rapstar wii

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