Lips Is A Karaoke Kingdom

Reviewed On
Xbox 360
Available For

As soon as Duffy left the stage at E3 in 08, I was chomping at the bit to get to play this game. I had the release date marked and was counting down; unfortunately that date was bumped further down my calendar. Thankfully I had many other new releases to occupy me till I cracked the plastic on Lips.

Microsoft Game Studios teamed with iNiS (Japanese game developers who specialize in rhythm based games such as Elite Beat Agents) to give us this new karaoke style singing game. The one feature that made Lips stand out from the others is the two wireless microphones that are packaged with the game. Losing the wires was a wish come true for this clumsy reviewer.

Syncing the mics with my 360 was a bit tricky at first, but after fully reading through the instructions, I was able to do this quickly after learning the flashing light code on the mics that were telling me, "Dummy you did it right the first time." The two motion sensitive microphones (one black and one white) with LED lights are a major perk to this game and thankfully they come with batteries.

The game includes 40 songs and most of them have the original videos as well. I’m happy to report that all the songs are master tracks! Downloadable content is on the marketplace but at a price that shocked me at first, 180 MP- 160 MP.

Most of the songs have the original music video, of course older songs (pre MTV era) have custom videos.

You also have the ability to use your own DRM-free music by several different methods. Since I own an iPod Touch, ¬connecting it to my 360 was not possible, but I was able to connect to my computer and import songs over from my massive music collection. Lyrics for those songs do not show, but thanks to many Internet sites those lyrics are just a few clicks away. Needless to say, now I have a lyric book in my house because I’ve been guilty of singing the wrong lyrics for years on certain songs. There is nothing like going, "Oh! So that was what they were saying!"

It was nice to see that this was not your straight vanilla karaoke singing game. You have the option to sing the song (co-op or vs.) with the original video, virtual music video, kiss, time bomb, vocal fighters, and random. If you friends don’t want to sing, then hand them a controller to set off noise makers with a push of the button, but watch out, they can also adjust your mic volume too!

Thankfully, failing out of a song is not an option. The only thing that will suffer is your rating at the end from biscuit to big bang. The game has a medal system based on several different items such as pitch, stability, and performance.

The hands down funniest moment in the past weeks in my house has occurred with Lips. My husband, not a terrible singer, was belting out a custom song from our own collection. As you sing and build up a meter you will activate "star power" by performing certain gestures with the microphones. He was fine with tilting the mic up or from side to side but then the "doing the twist" one came up. I walked around the corner and here was my husband flailing his arms about in what appeared to be an intense battle with an imaginary bee. Needless to say I burst out laughing till tears were falling from my eyes.

Singing to your own music is scored differently than with the songs contained on the game, but still fun. For the medal based achievements you want to stick with singing the original and DLC songs.

Now for my problems with the game, the main one being the microphones delay. I did not have any problems with delay on my regular TV in my bedroom, but when my husband’s 360 went down for repairs and my newly acquired one was taken into the living room to the HDTV, I did notice a problem. When you sing into the mics you will hear your voice come through the speakers a few seconds later. This affects you’re scoring for the song also because you will see your voice not registering. There is no adjustment for this. The only timing adjustment is just for the words and bouncing ball to display, not for the audio. Since this is a major setting on other rhythm titles I can only assume an update will release to fix this problem.

The other is based from the song selection and downloadable content. I have the US version of the game and I have several friends from the UK and Germany with this title too. Different songs came on different versions with only a few songs hitting all versions. Trying to do song challenges with friends makes DLC a necessity. Then I ask why in the world they are asking 160-180 MP for songs when other titles have cheaper DLC that I can sing and play instruments with?

Makes me wonder how much of that cost is going to the artist for use of the music video. The lack of online multiplayer is a bit disappointing at first but the more I think of it, I believe this is a blessing. I would foresee a slew of bad Idol type auditions if that option was available.

In the end, I believe this is a good choice for the singer in your family, or the ones that believe they are in their own mind. Just remember to pick up noise isolating headphones if that is the case. Also, I would highly suggest going the greener route and using rechargeable batteries for the microphones!

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