We Sing Pop! – review

  • Format: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic/Wired Productions
  • Developer: Le Cortex
  • Players: 1-4
  • Site: http://wesing.com/
  • Game code provided by PR

2017 is proving to be a fantastic year for games (especially if you own a Switch). With so many of the biggest titles releasing in October and November, there’s a danger that a karaoke game that isn’t SingStar released at this time will get lost in the tidal wave of titles; especially as some past singing games haven’t been very well done (we’re looking directly at you, Just Sing). The thing is though, We Sing Pop! – the latest in the We Sing franchise – manages to do some things significantly better than most of its rivals.

Firstly and most importantly, every one of the thirty songs on offer here is the official version. Those who play a lot of karaoke games will know this is never guaranteed. It really does matter, too; a sloppy session band that manages to get the timing or rhythm wrong, even if it’s only for a moment or two, can permanently ruin the experience for any affected songs. No such worries here. You even get the official music videos (albeit in a marginally inferior visual quality due to compression), which is always a neat bonus.

What about the all-important song list? It’s all, as you would expect if you’ve been paying attention to the name of the game, pop music. The people in charge of track selection certainly seem to like Coldplay; they’re in there three times (Hymn For The Weekend, Adventure Of A Lifetime, and this year’s collaboration with The Chainsmokers, Something Just Like This). The game’s 10% Chris Martin! He’s not too difficult to emulate, at least; generally, you only have to either talk like you’ve only just woken up, or sing with a pained voice, as though you’re engaging in karaoke under duress.

But we digress.

There’s no such thing as a singing game with a perfectly chosen song list because, after all, individual tastes vary wildly. George Michael fans will be pleased to see both Faith and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go present, with the other retro entries being Mamma Mia and – that karaoke game staple – I Want To Break Free. Apart from that it’s all modern stuff, with the songs rarely dating from further back than 2015. Cheap Thrills by Sia, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, Hey Brother by Avicii… it’s all immediately recognisable stuff for anybody who’s shown even a vague interest in the charts over the last few years. You can find the full list by clicking the link at the top of the page.

Best we can tell, the game does an excellent job of judging whether or not you’re in tune while singing. One of the reasons we’re sure of this is because it is, quite possibly, the most demanding karaoke game we’ve played in this regard. Even on Normal difficulty, expect to see a great many less-than-encouraging evaluations of your performance for songs that you’re less than 100% confident in. There are on-screen bars at varying heights that fill (or not) to show you how in tune you are as you go, but the way they work is rather odd. They definitely fill and award points correctly when you’re in tune; but, often, the placement of these bars on the screen doesn’t actually exactly match the pitch changes that you need to hit.

In happier news, there are a few different ways to sing each song. Separate from the ‘Normal’ and ‘Expert’ difficulties, are modes of the same name (the difference basically being that Expert removes the on-screen lyrics). You can also choose to remove the original vocal track for your performance, should you be feeling particularly bold. Karaoke mode, meanwhile, performs a Simon Cowell bypass operation on the game so that it no longer judges you harshly or, indeed, at all. No points, and no post-song evaluation. Just karaoke for fun! And, in case you were wondering, the mic volume adjustment works just fine. You can flaunt what you’ve got or hide your shame as appropriate.

There’s currently no sign of DLC for the game. This has a positive side, in that there’s none of SingStar’s intrusive inclusion of songs they’re trying to get you to buy shoehorned into the middle of your track list. If you’re particularly happy with a performance, you can submit your score to the online leaderboards; but that’s it for online functionality. While we don’t really miss any of that, the lack of local leaderboards is baffling to us. No way to prove who’s the least terrible at singing a song amongst family and friends? Come on!!

How much you’ll get out of this depends on how much you consider karaoke to be a competitive sport. If you’re constantly hungry for immediately visible evidence of your singing superiority over others – with lasting and easily accessible records – this isn’t the best game for you. However, if you just want a game with a perfect understanding of the fundamental appeal of karaoke, We Sing Pop! won’t disappoint.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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