SingStar 80s

Ahh, the eighties. A decade of big hair, big shoulder pads, and poodle perms. Fortunately musicians of that era also took time between preening themselves and dressing ridiculously to create some great music, some of which is featured on this game.

One thing that all the tracks on SingStar 80s have in common is that they were all hits. It's a decent range of male and female vocals. For the most part the songs are mainstream pop, and in general they aren't too difficult to sing or too fast.

There are a couple of rap tracks, Run DMC's "It's Tricky" and "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. These songs feature rap scoring, which isn't very useful because it doesn't give an advance warning of when to say the words in the next line. It's not the most intuitive of scoring systems, so it's a good thing that this only applies to two tracks.

Since the music is from the 80s, all but two of the songs come with their own original videos. This doesn't really make up for the eye-burningly garish pink colour scheme that the designers have inexplicably chosen, though. However it is a nice touch that the winning symbols have been changed from the usual SingStar ones, to icons from that decade. So if you score tone deaf you get a broken tape, and instead of the duck you normally see at Wannabe level it's a pair of those big sunglasses that were fashionable at the time, an so on. It's an added incentive to score well, just to see what the different symbols are.

SingStar 80s comes with a mini-game, Sing-Song, which is like ping pong played with the voice. Sing a high note to move the paddle higher, and a low one to move it down. Unfortunately it doesn't take much account of the natural range of a player's voice. This means that whilst it's easy enough for someone with a mid-range voice, if you can't hit the high or low notes very well then the paddle won't move far.

In spite of a few minor difference, SingStar 80s sticks largely to the successful formula of most of the other games in this series. But thanks to a good selection of songs it's one of the more enjoyable singing games.

Features Common To All SingStar Games

The concept behind SingStar is very simple. You sing the words as they appear on screen, and bars appear indicating how high or low the notes should be sung, and how long each note lasts. If you sing in tune, the bar lights up, and if you're off-key a line appears above or below the bar to show how far out you were.

After a few songs you may realise that the scoring is rather generous. On the Easy level you might gain points for hitting nearly the right note. Singing too flat or sharp can sound just as bad as singing a note that's half an octave out, so nearly is not good enough. It's not until you move up to the Hard level that the game requires a decent level of accuracy. However, this does give you a chance to measure your progress even when you can't sing your way out of a paper bag.

Playback is a fantastic feature for analysing and tracking your progress. You can use it to record your singing (if you have enough space in your memory card - it does take up a lot if you do this several times), or you can play it back immediately. This can be excruciating, but it really does help you to critique your singing. It also does confirm the accuracy of this game's scoring, if you had any doubts.

There are various battle, duet and multiplayer modes, which are good for parties. You can also load songs from other SingStar titles without having to start a new game each time, a feature which is handy if not crucial.