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Which karaoke game reigns supreme?

14 February 2009

In an odd conjunction of events, I’d had the chance to try several karaoke games in the past few weeks.

Disney Sing It for the Wii was the first. It was enjoyable, but no one besides my Radio Disney-listening daughter found the song selection compelling. We adults had hoped that Disney would see fit to include some classic show tunes. I’d happily rock out to “Just Can’t Wait To Be King” or “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”, but alas we were relegated to humming through some Camp Rock songs.

Next up was Boogie Superstar for the Wii. It has dancing going for it, so it’s certainly the most kinesthetic of the karaoke games I’ve tried. Again, though, the song selection was very similar to Disney Sing-It, which is to say not to my taste.

My friend invited us over for a SingStar date, and my wife and I really enjoyed playing it on his PlayStation 3. The song selection had a greater variety, and even had a couple of favorites. We found the prospect of downloading additional songs exciting, and my friend admitted he’d spent too much money on extra songs. Of course, he’s a KJ, so that’s not too surprising.

I should also mention that the microphones he had felt like professional quality microphone. The Wii microphones feel fragile in comparison.

Another good friend of ours invited us over for Karaoke Revolution: Presents American Idol Encore 2 for the Wii. Here, we found similar gameplay to SingStar, though not as sophisticated. The song selection was adequate for an evening of play, but its lack of ability to add songs will certainly limit its replay value.

My wife and I also liked American Idol 2’s Duet Battle mode better than SingStar’s. In American Idol 2, you take turns singing phrases from the song, while singing the chorus together. The back and forth singing added some tension and excitement to the competition. In SingStar, you both end up singing the lead, against one’s natural inclination to sing harmony. It felt anticlimactic in comparison to American Idol 2.

The jury’s still out on this one, I’m afraid. All the games key off pitch; you can sing as mush-mouthed as you want, though your friends may boo you out of the living room. Truly, I wish there was a mash-up between SingStar and American Idol 2, maybe with a little Boogie Superstar thrown in. Until then, I’ll have to give it to SingStar, by a nose.

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