Despite owning a large collection of party games I never invite people round to play them. For a number of years I’ve become rather antisocial and I purchase specific party games without the intention of playing them with friends or family, but simply because I want to sing, dance or play the guitar when no one else is in. Singstar Take That was awesome, last year’s Just Dance was good fun and Guitar Hero Live is the most surprising hit for me this year, with a review for the latter coming very soon. My wife, who is also very antisocial, is always singing around the house so I thought she may enjoy a game that allows her to do so. As it turns out yes she does enjoy this game, which is great for me because I’m left in peace to write this article and my ear drums take less of a beating. Now that’s what I call winning.
Now That’s What I Call Sing is the latest entry into the almost deserted karaoke genre market, releasing on PS4 and Xbox One. In similar fashion to the bi-annual CDs of the same name, Now That’s What I Call Sing features 30 popular tracks from the past couple of years, except for James Blunt who still manages to geg in on the action every now and then. With a variety of game modes at your disposal, just plug in a USB microphone into your console and you’ve got yourself an instant party hit that’ll get the whole family involved. With a pretty open field to play in after the mixed reception that Singstar was given last time, Now That’s What I Call Sing (or NTWICS) really has the opportunity to set the bar for future karaoke video games, so is it a stellar performance? In some ways it is, but there’s still a few bum notes stopping it from being perfect.
The first thing you’ll notice when comparing to successful titles in the party category is that the playlist in NTWICS only appeals to a relatively niche audience. There’s no denying that the featured tracks were all hugely popular and successful, but with most of the tracks being released after 2013, I doubt anyone past their 30s will have heard of the majority of what’s on offer, especially Nana and your Dad. With every Singstar and Just Dance game there has been a number of classic, timeless gems that even the most stubborn sod like me couldn’t help singing along to. Now That’s What I Call Sing doesn’t feature any of these. For a game that encourages you to invite friends and family round to play does a tremendous job of appealing only to a specific kind of person, which is where this game seriously falls flat. As a bloke who just so happens to own this game, there isn’t many tracks for a dude to sing without having to sing everything in falsetto. The game may try and promote fun and partying, but it does so in a pretty boring and, dare I say, soulless kind of way. Aside from a brief snippet of each track as you scan through them, there is really nothing else in the game’s menu, and the attempt to ‘get the party started’ is as lame as that phrase.
Aside from the disappointing set list and vibe, NTWICS does inject some innovation into the karaoke genre which makes the game much more enjoyable for much longer. In the past there hasn’t been much else after simply singing the song or dueting with a friend, however me and my wife were more than pleased to be offered additional challenges and game modes permitted we were good enough to unlock them. As well as the ‘Pass The Mic’ and ‘Expert’ mode, budding superstars can also find ‘By Heart’ mode which will remove all the lyrics for your chosen song and ’20,000’ mode which will see you and up to 4 friends compete to be the first to reach 20,000 points. Typically this kind of game would be played a couple of times a year, perhaps for an hour or 2 at most and it’s great to see NTWICS attempt to break that trend by becoming a karaoke game that’ll withstand the entire party. It’s this variety of playing experiences that make singing the same song a fourth time just as fun as the first time you tackled it, something which doesn’t usually happen in these karaoke games.
Now That’s What I Call Sing is a great title that makes the most of a scarce market with refreshing new features that make the game far more enjoyable than most. Unless you’re a teenage girl or a party animal in your 20s, there isn’t many songs aimed at you and you’ll feel almost left out of the fun that everyone else seems to be having, which is a poor decision considering it’s supposed to be a party game that everyone can enjoy. The game’s menu is naff and the general presence it gives off does nothing to excite its players unlike the glitz and glamour that’s found in the Singstar franchise. With a better variety of hits, Now That’s What I Call Sing could have been the headline act at every New Year’s Party, but in trying to remain as current as possible it’s really no more different than just singing into your car radio, and everyone can join in with that.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.