Yesterday I mentioned a game coming out called 'Lips' which I eagerly picked up today. The name of the game was the inspiration for the image used for this post because when I think of lips, I think of non other than Angelina Jolie. Well, Steven Tyler too, but given the choice... well, I'm sure you get it.
Anyhow, for the uninitiated Lips is; at its basic level, a karaoke singing game for your Xbox 360 (exclusively) in which you get points based on how well you sing a song. Simple enough formula that has worked as components of other games such as the two Rockband games and Guitar Hero: World Tour; or stand-alone versions which were obviously the inspiration of this game such as Karaoke Revolution and SingStar.
You may ask, "Why would you want to play a game where all you do is sing?" Sure you can go to a bar and sing, mock, and laugh at others. But we all know what happens when you mix booze and singing in the public eye. Check out this true story:
Picture it: Sicily, 1912. A beautiful young peasant girl with clear olive skin meets an exciting but penniless Spanish artist. There's an instant attraction. They laugh, they sing, they slam down a few boilermakers... wait, wrong flashback. Sorry.
A group of friends and I were out at a bar/grill/restaurant (whatever you want to call it) for one of the friends who's birthday it was. I had a couple of Jack & Cokes - hold the Jack on the rocks while others were knocking back actual alcoholic drinks. One of the girls in the group says she wants to sing and walks over to the karaoke machine to tell the dude what she wants to sing. Now I say, "walk" but it was more like when people have silly contests and they place their forehead on the bat and run in circles around it 10 to 20 times and then try to walk straight. Yeah... So anyhow, she picks 'Janis Joplin - Me & Bobby McGee'.
Wow. Just...wow. NOT in a good way. Everyone did the "wipe your mouth / nose while muttering loud enough for those next to them" move in shock and amazement of what was going on. Now what was I talking about? OH! Yeah, with karaoke games for video game consoles, you can do all this in the privacy of your home. haha Granted, something like that has not happened (yet) in the Casa de Cleric.
Back to the game. As I mentioned, the King of this genre is SingStar with their huge catalog of various music flavors, and well established fanbase. But just as Rockband did with Guitar Hero, it did not just copy it, it took what worked and improved upon it. Like SingStar, Lips plays the original music video for almost all of the songs which you can purchase more from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, although there were none when I got home and looked, they will be there in due time.
Probably the biggest pull are the wireless microphones. That right there is a HUGE bonus. Not only that, but they have multi-color LEDs in the base and neck of the them. Why? Well, besides being totally cool, they "pulse" to your performance. You can also change the color pattern they display via the options menu at any time. It is also an "instrument" in the fact that when you have a break from singing, you can "play" it like a tambourine. A little tambourine will appear on the screen like on the song 'In Bloom' by Nirvana, or make a hand clapping sound like in 'Another One Bites the Dust' by Queen.
Another feature of the mics is say one person is singing a song, and even after being asked and prodded to join in no one else wants to. Well what do you know, as the song starts, another person has a change of heart and wants to play. GAH! OH NOES! Now here are your options in SingStar:
1.) You pause and chose quit song (or exit game, not sure the exact wording)
2.) Wait for it to give your pitiful score for the 5 seconds the song was playing while you say, "Aw, I asked. OK, next time just say yes" or something like that
3.) Move over to the end game option
4.) Select versus instead of single player
5.) Select what kind of 2-player game you want to play
6.) Finally start the game
In Lips, here is how the same situation would work:
1.) Turn mic on by pressing the button on the bottom of mic
2.) Shake the mic
3.) Start singing
Shaking the motion sensitive mic will allow the second player to jump right in and sing at the part of the song it is on. However, if you start the song as two player, you can choose from various forms of play. Currently, they are not supported by other games that utilize the mic but there is a good chance that will change with a future patch according to someone in the know. Another use for the motion sense is during the song, you build up stars for good singing. I think they are called stars, but it is pretty much the same as star power or energy that Guitar Hero and Rockband have. You unleash it by making the on screen pose which will unsurprisingly multiply your score.
Another huge draw to the game which may be bigger for some people is the ability to connect your mp3 player such as a Zune or iPod for virtually limitless songs to sing to. Now I was running short on time on my lunch break so I did not get to fully dive into this feature, although I did try this with one song and it worked fine with a 60G iPod Video.
Of course there is no music video and there was no lyrics displayed. You do get a score and you can adjust the settings to fade out the original singer's voice. There MIGHT be a way to get lyrics shown on screen, but I am not 100% sure.
I am just glad that I beat Fable 2 last night or I'd have some weird gaming bipolar issue not knowing which one to play.
Any of you readers play singing games?
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