Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Lips is the 360 equivalent to the more established SingStar PS3. These games, and others like Boogie Wii or Sing It PS3, give karaoke a video gaming update. Not only do you get the usual videos and lyrics, but it shows you whether you're singing is on pitch and generates a score.
Rhythm action games combine the enjoyment that comes from creating music with the challenge of video game scoring. The player is usually tasked with dancing on a mat, tapping a touch screen, pressing a button, singing into a Mic or strumming a fake guitar controller in time with the music.
Lips is unique in the genre because of its wireless microphone. Not only does it do away with the wires found in other games, but it also lights up as you sing and add a gesture controlled element to the gameplay.
Admitedly, the lights on the shaft of the Mic are something of a novelty and don't really add anything in terms of gameplay.But the motion sensing feature is well integrated and enables you to trigger different features mid-song for bonus points.
We initially had problem syncing the microphones. It seems that in addition to the complex two three second presses of the power button, you also need batteries in both Mics for this to work. This took me a good hour to figure out and I imagine could frustrate a few when they first get the game home.
The game comes with a set of around 40 songs that have been pre-processed to provide lyrics and pitch detection. Additionally, you can load your own music collection and sing along with that. Although the results aren't as tailored the game does a pretty good job of figuring out how to score each song. The ability to import your own music with no extra charge is a nice feature, particularly when compared to SingStar PS3's song purchasing scheme - here you can buy songs to sign at around GBP1 a go.
Players will be attracted to Lips because of its exuberant presentation and wireless light-up Microphones. This is for good reason. Whereas SingStar PS3 is the cool kid on the block - keeping its game clean and simple - focused on the music, Lips is willing to try a lot harder to win you over.
Finishing the first song with even a mediocre performance and you are deluged in accolades and flashing lights. None of the restrain of Sony's game to be found here - Lips is much more of a gamer's singing game, as opposed to SingStar's more iPod looking approach.
As with other singing games you can choose either short or long versions of each song. This is ideal for cramming more songs into an evening session. It can take a little while to get used to the whole singing on pitch game - you need to match your vocal line with that of the song's - so putting aside an hour or so to get started is a good idea.
Young gamers can take part in Lips as soon as they are able to sing along. Because the game doesn't insist on the correct words (just the correct pitch) it doesn't penalise players who haven't learnt the lyrics. Although in our house, my five year old seems to display a photographic recall for lyrics of songs - much more than me anyway.
Intermediates will enjoy the exuberant Lips experience. They may find the limited song list a little restricting, but once time is spent to import some more familiar songs this is alleviated.
Experts may find the ability to buy their favourite songs probably scored and rendered in SingStar PS3 too much of a feature to loose. Those that are willing to surcome to the popularist approach of Lips though will end up have as good a time as any.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: