Xbox One, PS4
September 9, 2016
I completely understand the business decision in creating Just Sing. With the ongoing popularity and success of Just Dance, why not just slap the same sort of feature set on another party pastime like karaoke? Sadly, what could have been a fun romp and a serious competitor to SingStar, which has essentially been the only real monster in this genre for over a decade, instead feels like a cheap cash-in with no real soul.
The problem with the game is that in many ways it doesn’t feel like a game at all, although it does try to fool you by offering different modes such as Party and Battle. The pitch is that you can use your phone as your microphone and also use the camera functionality, which means hopefully you’ve got some friends who are willing to look ridiculous with a bunch of overlay affects that would make Snapchat blush, or, you’re narcissistic enough to want to look at your own ugly mug on the big screen in solo play.
I have to admit, the functionality of integrating the camera on your phone with the gameplay is a fun gimmick, but that’s probably the only element of Just Sing that makes sense. Where SingStar – or even the Xbox 360’s singing game Lips – actually judges your pitch and gives you a rating on how you’re singing, Just Sing’s rating system is based entirely on noise being made at the right time. That means you can essentially sing entirely in monotone, or worse, just blow into the mic and still achieve a perfect score. If you choose to not use the camera feature, half the screen is still taken up by a static image, which is strange and limits visibility of the lyrics and pointless scoring mechanism anyway.
“…you can essentially sing entirely in monotone, or worse, just blow into the mic and still achieve a perfect score.”
Sure, there are over 45 songs on the disc, but disappointingly, most of them are actual karaoke versions of the songs – that is, covers done by nobody’s rather than the original song. As a music lover, this took me out of it more than I was expecting, but I suppose I’ve been spoiled in the past by having the actual song complete with video clip rather than versions that sound like the original and a bunch of random effects flooding my screen for no rhyme or reason.
I said before that Just Sing doesn’t feel like a game at all, so instead it really should be viewed as a karaoke machine that you can use your phone to interact with. On that basic level, it succeeds. The companion app you need to use is simple to download and sync up, there are plenty of songs to choose from and the younger generations will probably enjoy it for its simple nature.
- The app works well
- Alright at parties
- No actual scoring on pitch
- Cover versions of most songs
- Not really a game at all
The reality for me is that Just Dance set incredibly high expectations for creating a feature-packed party favourite. Just Sing feels like a cheap money-grab and can only be recommended for kids who genuinely don’t know any better. Everybody else, however, should just avoid.