Lips: Number One Hits - 360 - Review
While the SingStar franchise has been tearing up the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for a few years now, Xbox 360 owners didn’t get their first official karaoke title until Lips hit the system last year. The game was a fine addition to the genre, but had a few drawbacks to keep it from being a true classic. Now, eleven months after that title shipped, Microsoft has released the follow-up, Lips: Number One Hits.
Unfortunately, Lips: Number One Hits doesn’t really offer much new to fans of the first game. In fact, this is almost exactly the same game as the first game, albeit with a new set list and a few minor added features. While hardcore fans of the original game who were able to see through its flaws might not might the modest upgrades and enjoy themselves, those who weren’t sold on the original game probably won’t be into this sequel.
Lips: Number One Hits adds 40 new songs to the franchise, with hit songs from various genres and decades. There are songs like “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback, “Loser” by Beck, and quite a few others. While the songs span a variety of different genres, but most of the songs on the soundtrack will be immediately familiar to anyone who listens to the radio.
Owners of the first Lips game will be able to access the songs from that game via the hot swap feature. You’ll be able to select a song from the original Lips through the menu, and then change out the discs when prompted. This is a welcome feature if you’re an owner of the original game, but it does feel somewhat cumbersome, especially when you consider that games like Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band 2 allow you to import songs from other games directly to your hard drive.
Lips: Number One Hits does make a couple of minor tweaks to its predecessor, but nothing too major. You’ll now be able to unlock special Avatar Awards, clothes and accessories, and they’ve added a streak multiplier for the scoring system. In fact, the game is pushing Avatar support quite heavily, even having your Avatar pop up during gameplay and in the menus. However, aside from that, this is pretty much unchanged from the first Lips.
And it’s that feeling of stagnation where Number One Hits disappoints. While the game has a different aesthetic and a cleaner interface, the content is mostly the same as last year’s game, including the mini-games, the ability to plug in an MP3 player and sing along to your own songs, and downloadable tracks. There isn’t a lot of innovation to be found in Number One Hits, and this is especially disappointing considering that the game still costs a hefty premium, 60 bucks for the game and one mic.
All of the problems that brought down the original Lips title are still here for the sequel. There’s no career mode to be had, just a menu of songs to sing through, something that limits the single-player experience quite a bit.
Conversely, the things that the original game did right are present and accounted for here. The game does a great job with the basics of a karaoke title, the menus are easy to navigate and the vocal registration mechanics work spot on, even picking up on vibratos and giving you bonus points for them. The drop-in mechanic is also great, allowing a second player to pick up another wireless mic, give it a shake, and start singing along with their buddy in the middle of a song. The mic is also motion sensitive, and you also have some prompts where you can gain special points by performing certain dance moves as they appear on the screen, as well as gain points by holding your mic a certain way, which is a nice feature.
Additionally, the background videos look great, allowing you to sing along to actual music videos of most of the songs or choose your own backgrounds. The menus and presentation are all very easy to navigate and clean. The music is also good quality, and you can raise or lower the volume of the original vocals depending on how comfortable you are with your singing abilities. The global rankings is also a great feature, telling you how you rate in real-time as you perform the song.
Lips: Number One Hits isn’t quite the revolution that the series needs, but will be fun for people who loved the original game.
Review Scoring Details for Lips: Number One Hits
The game cleans up the interface a bit and offers up some nifty new Avatar features, but this is largely the game content as the original, albeit with a new setlist.
While some of the videos haven’t aged well in the transition to HD, the menus look great and most of the videos look very good.
The sound quality is quite good, and the ability to raise and lower the volume of the vocals on the track is a great feature.
While the basic mechanics still work well, the game doesn’t really innovate from its predecessor.
The drop-in duet mechanic is a great touch, making it easier than ever to jump and start singing with friends.
Lips: Number One Hits has some issues, but it’s still a pretty solid karaoke game and very fun to play in the right environment. However, here’s hoping the devs try to get a little more creative the next time around.