Back when I was primarily a casual gamer, it was the original 2004 release of SingStar which ultimately convinced me to put money towards a PlayStation 2, with it being the second game I ever bought for the console (The first being Eyetoy Play). While there was very little in it outside of a rudimentary career mode and 30 songs to freely sing along to… I ended up putting dozens of hours and a couple of sore throats into that single game. From my own comical rendition of P!nk’s “Get The Party Started” to being able to do an almost pitch-perfect rendition of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” (Which I can no longer do), every song felt like one you would sing at karaoke. Since then a variety of genre-inspired track compilations were released for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 – ranging from Pop and the ’90s to packs dedicated exclusively to bands such as Abba and The Wiggles. Even if some compilations have been received better than others, they have helped drive the franchise into its second decade.
While it was initially unclear if Sony Computer Entertainment had planned to give SingStar another chance to shine or would simply let it fade from memory as they are currently doing with PlayStation Home, not only have they released a revamped free app for the PlayStation 3/4 but also offered their first retail song pack in three years. Priced at $39.95 AUD, SingStar: Ultimate Party is a compilation of thirty popular songs including Happy by Pharrell Williams, Royals from Lorde and Let it Go performed by Demi Lovato. The value of these songs will vary depending on your personal preferences, and personally I found most of the songs on-disc to be less approachable than those in other SingStar bundles released previously.
Very little has changed with SingStar in the last decade, and it still manages to provide a minimalistic yet effective approach to karaoke. Upon choosing your purchased song, you are presented with its original music video (or PlayStation Camera footage if you choose) which you must sing along to in-time. The game analyses your pitch and compares it against the original song, translating your abilities into an overall score that can be competitively compared with others. Provided you hit the right note it does not matter how well you can sing, so be sure to sing your heart out!
Similar to the original PlayStation 3 release, SingStar adopts a “Freemium” model where the app itself is free to download however players must pay either per song or per bundle to increase their tracklist. With each song costing approximately $2.05 AUD individually, the SingStar: Ultimate Party Bundle is at the very least good financial value considering that thirty songs at the standard price would be around $61.50 AUD. On the other hand there is a risk you may find only a couple of songs you will be able to comfortably sing to. On the other hand, the range of songs on offer via the SingStar Store is decent. If you have some spare store credit then you should be able to put together a decent compilation of tracks suited to your preferences. Unfortunately it is not possible to transfer songs from PS2/PS3 disc-based SingStar releases on the PlayStation 4 however, dashing any chance of you being able to sing “Big Red Car” by The Wiggles all night long via the game.
One of the biggest issues with earlier SingStar releases was its microphone, which were challenging to find in stores and in my case broke down after a few months of heavy use. With almost everybody having a SmartPhone nowadays, Sony have released a SingStar microphone app on iOS and Android devices which will allow you and anyone else to sing together without having to worry about cables or bulky peripherals. Syncing the device with your PlayStation 4 is painless, and is simply a matter of connecting both devices to the same Wi-Fi connection and then typing in a code. Aside from some minor latency issues which can to some degree be rectified through the in-game calibration tool, the microphone works well.
As a game that requires you to buy individual songs, the longevity of SingStar on the PlayStation 4 will depend on just how much money you are willing to put down on it (or just how much you enjoy singing the same songs over and over again). However just as it was back in 2004, SingStar still remains a solid singing experience that doesn’t push the boundaries. As a bundle, SingStar: Ultimate Party will really depend on your own taste. To me personally I would have rather spent that amount of money to amass my own collection of songs, however the presented tracklist had what I consider to be a mass market appeal at the very least, with most loaning themselves well to karaoke. But it would have been nice to have a bit more structure to the compilation rather than a mixed bag of genres, as 10 pop songs at a discounted price would have been more appealing to me than a compilation of songs from a variety of different genres.
SingStar: Ultimate Party – Track List
- 5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
- Avicii – Hey Brother
- Bridgit Mendler – Ready or Not
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
- Clean Bandit Feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
- Coldplay – Magic
- Demi Lovato – Let it Go
- Disclosure Feat. Aluna George – White Noise
- Ed Sheeran – Lego House
- Ellie Goulding – Burn
- Icona Pop Feat. Charli XCX – I Love It
- John Newman – Love Me Again
- Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head
- Lady Gaga – Born This Way
- Lionel Richie – Hello
- Lorde – Royals
- Naught Boy Feat. Sam Smith – La La La
- Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
- One Direction – Best Song Ever
- OneRepublic – Counting Stars
- P!nk Feat. Nate Ruess – Just Give Me a Reason
- Paramore – Still Into You
- Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This?
- Pharrell Williams – Happy
- Plan B – She Said
- Selena Gomez – Come and Get It
- Swedish House Mafia Feat. John Martin – Don’t You Worry Chlid
- The Lumineers – Ho Hey
- TLC – No Scrubs
- Train – Drive By