Sing Party
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-11-24 Wii U Music/Rhythm E10 (Everyone 10+) Nintendo

Music games have had a spotty history on Nintendo consoles, from the disastrous Wii Music to Ubisoft's Just Dance titles that have never had great movement accuracy. Putting it simply, music fans (of either dance or lyrics) have never been able to call the Nintendo Wii their go-to platform of choice for meaningful music game experiences, but Nintendo and Activision looked to change that with the Nintendo Wii U launch title Sing Party (which should really have been called Wii Sing).

Sing Party is an incredibly basic karaoke game, bundled with a solid, wired microphone. There are around 50 songs available to choose from right from the start, eliminating the need to play songs of arguable quality and popularity just to unlock the ones you really want. On the other hand, this lack of depth gives the game fairly short shelf life, as there's nothing left to do after you've performed your favorite five or six songs for the tenth time.

In the game's Sing mode, players are judged based on pitch, flair, and power, and are given both points and star ratings at the end of each performance. There are tons of top songs to choose from here, ranging from the oldies like "YMCA" and Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way", to modern pop tunes like "Call Me Maybe" and The Wanted's "Glad You Came".

Each song takes advantage of the game's incredibly bright and colorful graphics with animated backgrounds and a pitch indicator that lights up in real time based on the singer's accuracy with each individual note in the song.

While the overall goal of the game is to simply have fun while singing songs either alone or with friends, there's also a passive mission system that, in theory, would keep the player pushing ever forward. With three missions to complete at any one time, requiring the accumulation of a certain number of points or that a player completes a specific number of individual songs, these missions do give us something to strive for, but there's no penalty for never completing a mission, and there's no end goal to really strive for if you do manage to complete them.

Over in the game's Party Mode, Sing Party becomes even less of a true game by simply displaying the lyrics on the Wii U Game Pad in the hopes that the singer will stand away from his or her party mates and perform in true karaoke fashion. There's no judging here, as the focus is more on encouraging other partygoers to sing and dance along with the Just Dance-style character on the screen. Wii Remotes can be used to add various percussion sound effects to the tracks, but this is busy work at best.

Interestingly, there's no way for a single player in Sing Mode to play the game while reading the lyrics off of the Game Pad, as they're forever relegated to the actual television screen. What's more, the ability to create a playlist on the Game Pad while in the middle of a song is nice, but it's distracting if you don't know the current song that's being performed by heart.

There are some technical issues to keep in mind with Sing Party as well. While each track is the original performance of the recording artist, we had lots of difficulty getting the game to actually project our singing through the television's speakers. Regardless of how many toggles we customized, on certain TVs and sound systems, the only sounds you'll hear actually coming from the TV are those of the song itself, even if you turn the artist's voice all of the way off. This isn't a guaranteed issue, as it only plagued us on certain setups, so we could never truly identify the cause.

All told, Sing Party is your average karaoke game in line with the likes of SingStar and Lips, which is disappointing as the Wii U's Game Pad offers so much more originality that could have been taken advantage of. There are no music videos, no storylines to follow and no songs to unlock along the way, making us long for the eventual release of DLC in the future. Until then, this is a basic karaoke game that is fine for those that are determined to play their Wii U in groups, but should never be the entire reason you purchase Nintendo's new system.