Just Sing (2016) is a karaoke experience, that tries to hit the high notes, but generally falls flat.
Last year, in 2015, karaoke was revived on the PS4 by Now That’s What I Call Sing, which was quite a successful game, with great songs and an overall good experience. I do not know what happened in the Ubisoft boardroom when they decided to make Just Sing, but it seems they just looked at Now That’s What I Call Sing, nodded at each other and said ‘yeah, that’s exactly what we want’, before handing the development over to the same team that made Lips and telling them just to copy and paste the game. They look identical. They feel identical. Honestly, they could be the same game.
However, Just Sing mixes things up by making you download an app to your smart phone to play along. The phone becomes your microphone, but also your video taking device. It wants you to be the star of your own music video and wants you to be so proud of it, you will share it with all your friends. The likelihood of me taking one of the awful videos I filmed during my sisters 10th birthday party where all my family played along, is very slim to say the least. No one wants to see my grandma belt out Shawn Mendes ‘Stitches’, I promise.
The song list is nice, I will not lie. There are some tunes on there, depending on your definition of tunes, but with songs by Sia, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Walk the Moon, Aerosmith and Oasis, it is quite hard to find a song that does not fit in to your music taste. There is definitely something on there for everyone. The lyrics also come up on your smart phone, so you can read them off of there, making the experience a lot more comfortable as you dance along. It is also a nice thing to add for people with vision problems, as it can include them in games where they would usually have to stand closer to the screen if they were not familiar with the lyrics, or just left out completely. I think this is a nice addition, and I hope more games like this include this feature in the future.
In terms of accessibility, you do not have to use the companion app. You can use a usb microphone to play along. You can also use a PlayStation camera, for the videos, but it does not count as a microphone. The problem is, I genuinely think no one wants to record themselves whilst playing this game, but that is what the game is built around. It wants you to record yourself singing dramatically and dancing around, but most people will not be comfortable doing so. I was glad to finally be able to turn the camera off when the party ended, and many of my family that were around for the party did not play along in fear the camera would be pointed at them.
I would say that this game is good for a party, but I think everybody involved would either have to be preparing for a talent show like the X-Factor, or under the influence of alcohol. The game fills the karaoke void left from previous consoles, but only because there is nothing else available. I think has great potential to become a series, which it probably will anyway, considering the success of Just Dance, its predecessor. Like SingStar, this game could have all sorts of topics for each spin-off game, such as classics, Motown, etc. All I am saying is, expect to see more instalments in the Just Sing series. If you are looking for a karaoke game, add this one to your collection.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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