Pros: Competent, some decent songs.
Cons: Bland interface, weak song choice
The karaoke game We Sing: POP! reminds me of that cheap diner you wander into at three in the morning. The walls are covered in fading posters of Greece, the fluorescent lights are uncomfortably bright, some top 40 radio station gives you a mix of songs and advertisements, and the waiter is bored and listless. But the food’s okay, and after all, how much can you expect that time of night.
Developed by: Le Cortex
Published by: Nordic Games
Genre: Rhythm game
For ages: 13 and up
Release Date: December 14, 2012
The Basics: Sing!
Like that diner, We Sing: POP delivers what it sets out to, but with a lack of panache. Its bland menus are functional but unappetizing, its collection of pop songs is tolerable but uninspired, and its pitch meter is downright ugly, but it’s a perfectly serviceable game.
Wii Sing Pop offers 30 songs to choose from. The songs, of course, are all pop songs, including Hey Ya!, When I Grow Up, Ice Ice Baby, MMMBop and Girls Just Want to Have Fun, each accompanied by their original music videos.
The basics are, of course, to sing along with the song. A pitch meter indicates whether you’ve hit the note or missed it, although its feedback on whether you’re too high or too low is so understated as to be almost useless. The lyrics are shown at the bottom (or the top for a second player), and give you a general idea of when to come in.
The Variety: A Few Modes and a Singing Class
There are various modes. Solo, multiplayer, and a karaoke mode that simply allows you to sing without scoring. In multiplayer you can sing duets or sing backup vocals, and this is done far more competently than it was in the otherwise superior Wii U game, SiNG Party. There is also an “expert” mode where you aren’t given the lyrics and a “blind” mode where the sound will periodically cut out, which I thought was pretty dumb.
None of this is particularly horrible, and yet, the game just feels so uninspiring. It just sits there, less a compelling presentation than a sing-along production tool seemingly created for a school or factory.
The game also has a singing lesson mode that, like everything else, feels underbaked. It is essentially a set of lessons in which you sing various scales. Lesson one is holding a note, then in further lessons you go from one note to another, then up and done, etcetera. The truly bizarre thing about the lessons is they don’t play the note or scale you’re supposed to sing. You are told to sing “doh” or “mi,” and then you need to glide your voice up and down until you find the correct pitch on the pitch meter. I used to take singing lessons, and my teacher played a scale on the piano and then asked me to repeat it. Wii Sing Pop was apparently designed by people who have never taken a singing lesson.
The Verdict: Nothing to Sing About
Still, nothing in the game is completely useless, and ultimately it is less a matter of big failures than of poor choices. I understand why lyrics move in opposite directions depending on whether they are on the top or bottom of the screen, but I find it disconcerting. There is a perfectly reasonable system for changing difficulty or song length, but I didn’t even notice it was there for an hour. The songs are perfectly acceptable, but even a lot of the songs I kind of like just aren’t that much fun to sing. Although at a drunken karaoke party I suppose Milkshake or Y.M.C.A. might improve.
It’s 3 a.m. for the Wii, metaphorically speaking, as most game development has moved over to the Wii U, so if you want to buy a game for the console you don’t have a lot of options. Like a diner, We Sing Party isn’t the ideal, but it’s that or nothing. Sometimes you want a great meal, but sometimes, on those barren late-night streets, you’re just happy something is still open.