SingStar Summer Party

This is going to be a short review, because there really isn't that much that's new to say about SingStar Summer Party. It uses more or less exactly the same format as all of the other SingStar titles, without any new innovations or added mini-games. Whilst it's a successful and safe setup, with Summer Party it's somewhat as though the makers are trying to sell the same game again.

It's not only the format that's being repeated. Although the songs are all new to this title, it features at least 11 artists and bands who have appeared on previous games in the series. Artists like David Bowie and Elton John have more than enough good songs to support this, however.

It's called Summer Party, and although Wham's Club Tropicana and Texas' Summer Son reflect this theme the songs are mostly just general pop, with a retro bias. And whilst the music is okay (depending on your taste), there aren't any songs which stand out as particularly stirring, or as vocally challenging. It would have been better if one or two tracks had some really long notes and wide ranges, so that more able players have something to stretch them.

On the plus side, there don't seem to be any songs that have been badly arranged when it comes to scoring. In a few SingStar titles the game awards points for singing the backing and lead vocals immediately after each other in certain tracks, leaving you with no space to catch your breath and making it virtually impossible to score highly without mastering circular breathing. This isn't a problem with SingStar Summer Party.

The game has a 12+ PEGI rating, which is a shame because it excludes a lot of the younger fans of these titles. It's a game that's worth buying only if you really like most of its 30 tracks, but don't expect any innovations in gameplay or any major differences in the way it looks. And that's about all there is to say about this very typical SingStar game.

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.