Giant Bomb Review

30 Comments

Lips Review

3
  • X360

It's too easy to cheat around Lips' poor vocal- and pitch-detecting technology, but if you're willing to look past that, Lips is a satisfying home karaoke game.

The music videos are cropped to fill widescreen displays.
Games like Lips help me out with a core problem that I have with karaoke. Have you ever seen the crowd of people that actually gathers at a karaoke night down at your local bar? Maybe it's just my local bars, but it seems to bring out a mix of shut-ins who usually can't be bothered to change out of their bathrobes, and delusional older women who think they're, you know, singers. Then there's the group of early-20s girls in the back who sort of giggle at the proceedings when they're not making out with each other in a sad-but-effective attempt to get attention.

OK, perhaps I've said too much. Let's start over. As a karaoke game, Lips lets you bring karaoke home, away from the seedy crowds, so you and your friends can just sort of have a good time. While Lips certainly isn't the greatest karaoke-focused game ever released, it's got enough good features and options to make it a decent Xbox 360-only answer to Sony's massive SingStar series. But if you're looking for a challenging singing experience that acts as an accurate judge of your vocal abilities, you're going to be pretty disappointed.

The game is seriously lax when it comes to rating your vocals. For the occasional rapping or pitchless noisemaking that some songs feature, the game gives you full credit as long as noise is being made into the microphone. When you're actually singing, the game checks for a pitch. But you can be pretty off the mark and still do just fine. What's more, blowing into the mic usually fools the game into thinking you're singing in key and gives you a vibrato bonus in the process. Obviously, sitting around and cheatin your way around a karaoke game is a pretty pathetic thing to do--unless you're into achievement points, in which case it's an awesome thing to do, and we also recommend you try holding the mics up to your TV speaker to just capture the vocals of the original song. The side effect of this is that the game lets you challenge other players online, and you'll never know for sure if they're singing fairly or not.

Provided you can put those faults out of your mind and play the game as intended, Lips is decent at what it does. The game comes with 40 tracks that cover a good-sized range of times and genres. It also features Avril Lavigne's song, "Complicated," which has to be some sort of record holder for the song that appears in the most karaoke games of all time in the history of the world. I swear, it's like everyone got together and signed a blood pact to bring this Canadian pop-rock madness to as many homes as possible. There's also an in-game store with a few songs to choose from, but, at this point anyway, it doesn't seem like Microsoft has a dedication to regular downloadable content the way most other big music games do these days.

But you might not actually need to go out and buy any more music, because Lips lets you import music via the same options you have to play your own music in most other games. You can pull songs from portable devices, play them from your 360's hard drive, or even stream them over your local network. Of course, this isn't quite the same as playing the songs that were built for the game, since you won't get on-screen lyrics or music videos. The game will, however, attempt to judge your performance. But this is just kind of there for show, as it just gives you points as long as you're making noise into the mic. If you know a lot of the words to songs, this mode is a terrific addition. If you need the pitch guide and lyrics to sing anything, though, you'll find it sorely lacking.

You can control this virtual music video by waving the mic around.
There are a few different modes to choose from when singing, and some of these take advantage of the motion sensor found in the microphones, like a time bomb minigame where you need to turn over a glass of water to put out the fuse of a bomb by rotating the mic. And in songs, you'll need to strike poses and move the mic to activate a higher-scoring star power equivalent. The mics that come with the game are pretty nice. They're wireless, and feel weighted properly to let you easily flip them around in your hand. Also, they light up around the base and pulsate while you sing. The motion sensor is used well throughout, such as the jukebox mode, which just plays the game's music until you shake a mic to join in and sing. This is also how one-player games can become duets, short songs can be extended to full-length, and so on.

Sony's PlayStation 3 take on the concept, SingStar, is a more mature and robust karaoke solution for home consoles, with more songs to choose from and better pitch-sensing technology. So if you're in the market for a singing game and platform isn't an issue, that's the clear way to go. But Lips is hardly a bad game, so if you're unable to go the Sony route, Microsoft's answer does most of what it needs to do to be successful.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
30 Comments
Edited by Pazy

I dont know why but I really want this game. Maybe im a closet singer and I just dont realise it lol but this is definately on my wishlist for this year. Though if I had a PS3 Im pretty should id take Singstar over it.

Posted by StarwindX9

If they could somehow find lyrics to custom music it would be worth it, but im not about to look up lyrics to all my songs or attempt to enjoy the ones on the disc... pass

Posted by Kohe321

For some strange reason, I have NEVER seen the point or fun in singing/karaoke games. Never the less, good review as always.

Posted by Lifestrike

Please use Take On Me in the video review.

 Please and thank you.

Posted by SkipT

I wish iNiS had just made another Elite Beat agents or Ouendan.

Posted by Drebin_893

Haha, you can see how desperately he tried to work around saying "The mic has lights up the shaft"
Good review.

Edited by TaintedSun

All bars that have a karaoke night aren't like that. I used to hang out with a group that did karaoke once a week in a bar that typically featured poker nights. Legit stuff, no shut in's, girls making out (although... nevermind), etc, etc.

Not my type of game though. Nice review none the less.

Posted by RoonilWazslib

Reviews like this is why I love Giant Bomb. Blood pact?

Posted by Vinchenzo

I actually ordered this game off the Xbox Retail Loyalty website for $10. What a deal.

Posted by Sephiroth9997
Posted by Legend

This game has the stupidest name ever.

Posted by dtran1212

man, what a bad review

Posted by Relys

@Lifestrike

That wouldn't have anything to do with the Japanese hentai "Take on Me" would it?

Posted by Anderson

A nice addition to the 3am drunken singing solo career in Rockband perhaps.  At 3am after 10 G&Ts you don't really give a shit about scoring or pitch sensing tech  - you just want to sing!

Posted by slint

You know your review rankings are wank when Lips and Mirror's Edge are scored the same.

Posted by FuzzYLemoN

Ah, that's funny. For a second, I thought I saw a 3 star review! Surely you meant 1 star. Ahh, hilarious.
SERIOUSLY MAN WTF

Posted by Beechbone

Even if it's not as good as Singstar, PS3's karaoke doesn't have this flashy motion-sensitive mics which are like super cool ;) And hey, there's Duffy :D

Posted by ahoodedfigure

They make out in the back?  With each other?  Did I go to sleep in a time capsule last night?

Posted by erinfizz

Importing songs could totally make this the They Might Be Giants karaoke my friends and I have been waiting for! Screw the rest of the game...we can drink and sing Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head! 

Edited by TwoOneFive

my sister owns every singstar game, ps2 and ps3, and my brother in law has all the guitar hero and rock band games, so those games always find a way into their parties, sometimes its awesome and sometimes its really bad lol. singstar is definitely the way to go, especially if you have a PlayStation Eye to go with it, and record all your videos and people rate them on Singstars youtubish service. 

btw i respectfully disagree with you review, 2 stars should have been right, you basically gave it three stars because its still a decent karaoke machine, despite the game aspect being pretty much non existent. 
Posted by Nettacki

Eh, I'll just take SingStar on PS3 and stick with that.

Posted by keoskey

You will never get me to sing!!!!

Posted by Tebbit

10 Gin and Tonics!? DEAR GOD MAN, THATS TOO FUCKING MUCH G&T!!

On another note, the only time i've ever seen singing as legit in a video game was rock band.
Posted by LaszloKovacs

@Tebbit: There is no such thing as "TOO FUCKING MUCH G&T"

I was thinking of grabbing this for the common room in my apartment - the dudes are into music and we only have a 360 out there. Seems like it might be worth checking out.

Posted by bingbangboom

I bought it for my GF for Christmas because there is some song she loves that is on DLC. She tends to sing alot anyway, so this gives her a reason to play a game with it.

Posted by DECA555

when the PS3's SingStar phoned the Xbox, sang "hello" and waited for a response, the Xbox lowered the reciever to its ass, and farted "Lips" 

The above would have been my intro to this review. 

Pathetic Xbox
Posted by SkylinePigeon

I'm kind of disappointed it doesn't track your pitch on the songs you import... I really wanted to put an Anathallo* song on the game to fuck with it and see how it handled it. :P

*Anathallo = indie rock band with seven members, all most of whom sing.... their songs usually have at least 3 different vocal patterns going on at the same time at some point in the song.

Posted by PJ

Its not like you could  cheat around the " poor vocal- and pitch-detecting technology" since its super deep when the creator explaned it in some podcast(i thinl it was Major Nelsons podcast. You get points whene kinda being on the same pitch or so but if you really nail it and pronaunce the words in the exact same way and shit like that you can get a score thats several millions per song(some get like over 3million which aparently not even the creator can do) So its not like the vocal- and pitch-detecting technology is bad, it just gives you points for singing kinda okey but if the song is nailde the score can skyrocket.
Also Lips is not a game so theres not really a point in cheating. Its simply a karaoke game whit some gesturing. The same goes for Singstar. Those games shouldnt be reviewed in the same way as other games. Also, i once went through a song just "singing"  aaaaaaaaaaa at the same pitch for an entier song and got a better score then anyone else that sang the same song. I think it was Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. on the first PS3 singstar. So not really great  vocal- and pitch-detecting technology there eather. Im going to test that whit Lips too if i ever cross paths.

Posted by Media_Master

seems boring

Posted by zgreenwell

I actually enjoy this game. Its a nice party title. There isn't much of a challenge their but that isn't the point.