This is the strange thing about this review – SingOn isn’t strictly a game. I mean there are gaming elements to it of course, but the truth of it is this is more of an app than a game.
SingOn is a karaoke ‘game’ that is coming for the PS3 this week for its initial release. However its plans on household domination are hoping to be stretched to most consoles and even Smart TV’s. That’s because all this game/app needs is an internet connection. SingOn boasts a rather large catalogue of over 1,000 songs of various different genres. How? Well because, in the words of Tommi Halonen, Executive Producer of SingOn, it is “a streaming entertainment service rather than a gaming title.”
SingOn will have an ever-expanding catalogue of titles on a weekly basis. Unlike the rhythm games that proliferate and, let’s face it, spam our DLC sections on the stores; it will all be streamed to the game. Much like a karaoke Spotify if you will. The idea is that this is a social game that everyone can play. Halonen, who does a mean version of ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams by the way, expanded on this further to me, saying:
“It’s a party game, it’s a family game, it’s for everybody basically. That’s why we have such a wide range in the catalogue.”
Which is a good thing to point out. At launch the catalogue will be fairly substantial with everything from rock, heavy metal and pop going up to be streamed. I managed to throw in a few verses of Poison’s ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ and some ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme. But there will be very regular updates, at least weekly if not more often.
“That’s one of our strengths,” Tommi pointed out to me, “for example, we keep updating the UK chart, so whenever there are new hits coming on radio players and Spotify we can put it on within the week, which is something no one has ever done before.”
In fact the benefit of this is that, because they are all Karaoke songs, there isn’t anything of the red tape horror of copyright legislations and all that palava from record labels/publishers.
In my most humble of moments I asked Tommi “What if I’m crap at singing?”
”It doesn’t matter. We have a few voice changing features. We have TuneOn which auto tunes your voice.”
So now you have the facts, you can have the review.
In fact there are two modes. There is the auto tuning function, which is pretty good, and there is a RoboOn voice, which emulates the kind of Daft Punk style electronic voice to the song. Advance warning, the latter seems cool, but if left on, the novelty will quickly wear off. If you do this and have hyperactive kids or irritating friends, it’s best not to tell them about it.
The service works very well indeed. The streaming of songs is quick, the words come up and your lyrics appear on the screen with an excellent sparkly fill. You’ll also get points (ala rhythm games) in order to judge your performance. This is where, as a veteran player of these games, I did notice a slight latency issue. But that could also have been me jumping the gun in anticipation of the lyrics. Something that familiarity of songs occasionally does. So in that regard the service is very good.
The catalogue is already as varied and open as it can be. In fact the only thing I noticed it was missing was musical theatre. Which, knowing several performing artists and their love for karaoke, is probably for the best unless you want to burn out your PS3 from overuse.
The social element is certainly something this game pulls off pretty well. The playlisting function and the ability to search while the songs are running is excellent. It’s smooth and it isn’t intrusive at all. So there isn’t any of that dithering silence between songs. You can get up, swap things around and have a continuous stream of people warbling their little souls out without the irritating pauses and indecision.
So where are the negatives here? Well… You of course need a microphone. SingOn can use any mics from SingStar, Rock Band and Guitar Hero automatically. Which certainly solves the issues for console owners that have them. If not you can get them easily second hand or in a shop for cheap enough.
How much is it going to cost me, you ask? Now there are a few options here, you can have a three hour pass for around £3, a 2 day pass for £6 or a whole year for around £50. Really your choice here is a justification of how much you want to use it. The app itself is free and includes ten songs, also for free. If you think you have a party coming then your options are there. Certainly beats a DJ and people arguing over the iPod anyway.
Essentially, what you need to know is that I had a lot of fun with it. It certainly is a social game though, best enjoyed in the company of friends, family or people who are too drunk to be classified. It isn’t a game like your Rock Band’s or Guitar Hero’s. If you’re having a house party, it’s certainly something awesome to have on without the clunky, bad quality karaoke machines you can get from catalogue stores. But hey, it’s free so give it a go.
It’s an app, not a game, which streams karaoke songs to you so you can sing your heart out (butcher) your favourite songs without downloading. The expanding catalogue and UK Top 20 deal will see it remain joyfully up to date too.
[tab title=”Good Points”]- Streaming works very well.
– Large ever-expanding catalogue.
– Easy to use.[/tab]
[tab title=”Bad Points”]- Mic needed.
– Pricing options need you to work out how much you’ll play it.[/tab]
[tab title=”Why an 8?”]It is exactly what it says it is and does it well. A wonderful social gaming experience.[/tab]