SingStar Celebration review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Publisher: SIEA
Developer: SIE London Studio
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-8
Online: No

Games like SingStar and Just Sing exist in a weird spot, if you think about it. As my wife constantly reminded me during our time playing it, you’d basically get the same experience singing along to the radio or music videos. Just about the only differences are that a) you get to pretend your phone is a microphone, rather than some other household item, and b) you get points for singing well.

Admittedly, these are fairly big differences, depending on your point of view. The phone-as-microphone is enabled by Sony’s new PlayLink app, which is a major improvement over having the buy a separate mic just to use for the game, as was the case with versions of the game on previous platforms. It also means that just about anyone can play, assuming that you and your friends are in the habit of having karaoke parties.

As for the points for singing well, SingStar Celebration deserves some kudos for moving beyond simply rewarding players for making any noise at all. That was one of the major flaws of Ubisoft-produced rival Just Sing: it often seemed like you got points as long as you were making any noise at all, regardless of whether those noises were in tune with what was going on in the song. Here, by contrast, the game includes handy bars on the screen, telling you how high or low you should be singing. It’s one step away from actual musical notation, which is kind of neat if you’re the type of person who appreciates accuracy in your singing, or if you’re just curious about chord changes in the vocals in certain songs.

In other words, SingStar Celebration works pretty well. Which means that it just needs quality songs to deliver a perfect party experience. And on this front…it leaves some things to be desired, unfortunately.

Obviously, this is a matter of opinion. And I’m not saying that SingStar’s track listing is terrible, either: the artists included here range from Adele (“Hello”), to Roxette (“It Must Have Been Love”), to U2 (“I Still Haven?t Found What I?m Looking For”), to Jason Derulo (“Want To Want Me”). Personally, I loved reliving my teenage years by singing along to Oasis’ “Wonderwall”, and I think that “Ex?s and Oh?s” by Elle King may be my new favourite song.

It’s just that the selection feels a little limited. I know that the real goal here is getting people to splurge on DLC content — and, with Sony’s backing, there’s certainly quite a bit to choose from in the online store — but it means that if you don’t want to open your wallet, the songs here can get old fast.

That doesn’t take away from the quality of the game, of course. SingStar Celebration is much better than its competitors, and if you want a karaoke game that gives you more guidance than just the lyrics on the screen, you’re in luck. As long as you don’t mind singing the same 30 songs on repeat and/or paying out a bit of money, it’s pretty fun.

Sony Interactive Entertainment provided us with a SingStar Celebration PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+