Sing Party – Wii U

7 Overall Score

Several Modes | Great wiipad usage | Mixes up the genre

Only 50 songs, no DLC | No true karaoke mode | Microphone!

When I first saw Sing Party in the list of launch titles for the Wii U, I rolled my eyes and promptly forgot that it existed.  My friends used to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero during almost every gathering for close to two year, but we got fatigued and have moved on from rhythm games entirely.  So is there anything in this package to bring any of us back?

It’s a bit of a tricky answer, and I think with more songs it might tip more towards a yes than a no.  Sing Party is the first music or rhythm game for the Wii U, and as such it’s your only option.  Thankfully FreeStyleGames decided that wasn’t enough and that they should mix things up a bit and use the technology of the Wii U pad in a couple of interesting ways.

The game breaks down into Practice mode, Sing Mode, Team mode and Party mode.  Practice mode is exactly what it sounds like, you pick a song and it gives you scoring on the three areas, ‘power’, ‘pitch’, and ‘flair’.   Power is how loudly you sing, pitch is how well you’re following the standard pitch line and hitting all your notes.  Flair is a bit more confusing, and before I tried out practice mode I had no idea what it did.  Several times one of our group would get perfect pitch and perfect power medals at the end of the song, but absolutely nothing for flair.  It seems to be judging you more on volume changes and pitch sliding between notes.  I think.  It wasn’t absolutely clear.  The Wii U pad is used well in practice, giving you sliders to adjust where you want to sing in the song, letting you pick out that tricky verse and keep replaying it.

Sing mode pits you against high scores alone, in a duet with two mics or on the same mic with other people.  If you’ve got extra people or if they don’t feel like singing, they can pick up a wiimote and use it to add some rhythm backing.  Not a huge addition, but it’s nice to get people involved at least a little.  The three scoring areas are back, but there aren’t any difficulty modes.  It’s the song, and that’s it.  In this mode the wiipad (I’m calling it that now) can be passed around to other people to look through the song list and cue up more tracks, it can adjust volume sliders so you can take out the instruments, backing vocals (yes!) or the person singing.  You can also add a tonne of reverb if you’re feeling silly.  The wiipad can also be used in a ‘Jam’ mode, giving you a virtual drumpad so you can play along.  All great things to be able to do while someone else is singing, but I feel like the most obvious one was left out.  If you’re at karaoke, there are two screens with lyrics on them.  One for the crowd, and one for you.  In Sing mode, there aren’t ever lyrics on the wiipad and you can’t add them to it.  That makes absolutely no sense to me, as if you could do that, it would be a great karaoke machine and you could have that performance aspect that you just don’t get when everyone is staring at the TV.

The team mode is an interesting addition, letting you set teams to go 4, 8 or 12 rounds against each other.  They consist of a choir mode that uses the wiipad mic (the only time you can use it, which makes no sense to me) for everyone to sing, a solo where one team member goes it alone and my favourite, the relay mode where you sing 10-15 seconds of a song and have to pass the mic off.  Teams can pick their own songs, and you can have an impartial judge give extra kudos to a team that they prefer after each face-off.  If you’ve got enough people that want to sing, it’s a fun way to spice things up.

The final mode is called ‘party’, and it’s great fun if you’ve got friends that want to dance.  If you don’t, it can get awkward.  The lyrics display on your wiipad most of the time, but without a pitch bar or anything other than the words lighting up when you’re supposed to sing them.  On the TV screen there’s a cartoon avatar dancing and encouraging your friends to do the same.  Lyrics that most people will know from the popular songs will pop up on screen so everyone can sing them, and occasionally your wiipad will give you silly phrases to say to your friends like ‘Are you ready to dance?’. You’ll have to put down the pad and dance along at times as well, testing how much you’re willing to look silly/how much you’ve had to drink.  With people that want to dance and sing, it adds a great dynamic to the game.  If people don’t want to? Better stick to team mode.  

There are a couple things tossed in to try and keep things fresh, like achievement style ‘medals’ you can earn by getting enough points on a song or getting a ‘perfect pitch’ and other things like that, but that’s pretty much it for the game.  It shakes things up enough to be interesting, but we had a few majour complaints.  Chiefly, is the song selection.  50 songs sounds like a lot until you realize that spans 50 years of music, and only includes a couple rock songs.  If you don’t like top-40 style pop, you’re pretty much out of luck here.  Normally this would be okay, because every other rhythm game has had a storefront for songs for years.  Right now, that store is still coming, and the lack of it is felt after a couple hours.

Next is the microphone, why is it wired?  It’s Sing PARTY and it wants you to dance.  You should be able to dance around with the microphone while singing.  When it prompts the singer to spin in circles while they’re still holding the mic, you have to wonder why.  A simple solution would be to let people use the wiipad mic if they wanted, but you can only do that in team choir mode.  It seems to work just fine in that mode, so why not make it an option?  Only one mic comes in the box, but given that a mic

by itself costs $30 you might think it’s a good value.  But what if you want to do a duet and just bought the boxed set? Why not let us use the wiipad mic again?  Thankfully my wife asked if our RockBand and GuitarHero mics would work.  I thought it was a ridiculous thing to ask as they’re both Xbox 360 microphones, but we plugged them in and they both worked perfectly!  So if you’ve got some lying around, hang on to them.  I know what you’re thinking: ‘Great, I’ll just buy it on the eShop for $30!’. No dice, it’s still $50 for the download.  You save $10, but not the $30 that would have made this a great deal.

The final word is this: with a dlc shop open with cheap songs, or a $30 downloadable versionfor people who already own hundreds of plastic instruments, it would be a great deal, a breath of fresh air in the incredibly stale music genre.  As it is, for $60?  If you and your friends love singing, or that 50-song list really speaks to you?  Great! If not, you’re probably better off waiting to see if the DLC songs will spark your fancy.


Want to know what our review scores mean? Read about it here.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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