Nobody here in the office owns even one album from any artist on the disc, but we’re not stupid enough to think that there’s no market for Disney Sing It. In fact, as far as karaoke games go, we’ve never seen a bigger lock. The 35-song list contains seven tracks from the first two High School Musical movies and seven more from Camp Rock. Then, it adds in music from Aly & AJ, Miley Cyrus and her alter-ego Hannah Montana, Cheetah Girls (2 & 3), Jesse McCartney, and a half-dozen more.
Don’t know those names? You clearly don’t read Tiger Beat or Teen People. They’re all adolescent pop stars and pretty much every kid on Earth between the ages of 7 and 17 worships them. Hannah Montana has sold more than eight million albums since 2006, not counting the DVDs, concert tour, tons of merchandise, and 3D concert movie, which grossed $29 million in three days in less than 700 theaters during its opening weekend. High School Musical set a record by having nine songs in the US hot 100 at once, and sold millions of albums and DVDs. Heck, Aly & AJ are one of the lesser known acts here, and even they’ve sold nearly two million albums worldwide.
So clearly, there is a demand for this music in every form, including karaoke. And as far as karaoke games go, this is one has fairly high production values and one big flaw alongside some nice features.
Visually, this is straightforward karaoke; a video plays onscreen, the words appear along the bottom and you sing along as a cursor of light zips across, moving up or down according to your pitch, helping you hit the right notes.
You’ll need that help, too. There’s something odd with the note tracking – it’s very abrupt and the cursor moves quickly, making it remarkably difficult to keep up with the timing. A scrolling lyric bar like the ones in Rock Band and Guitar Hero would be immensely better.
Plus, if you’re playing for score, it’s tough not to notice how finicky the game is about grading your note accuracy - especially when it decides a spoken line needs to have a specific pitch and breaks your multiplier for “missing” it.
In a nice nod to group play, every song has been broken into two parts – you can choose which part to sing (for instance, whether you want to sing the boy’s lines, the girl’s, or both). There are also duets for two players and team competitions that support up to eight.
The bigger problem is that there seem to be no plans for added downloadable songs. SingStar on PS3 has a whole store of additional songs for you to download, and Lips on Xbox 360 has both gorgeous wireless microphones and downloadable songs. Even the latest versions of Karaoke Revolution enable extra songs to be downloaded. And don’t forget the latest Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles, which offer singing, guitar, and drums as well as DLC. So the lack of additional downloadable content is a serious strike against Disney Sing It’s overall longevity.
Also, while it’s a minor complaint, those hoping to show off high quality HD video are going to be a bit disappointed with the quality here, even on 360 and PS3. For example, when watching the video for “Ready Set Don’t Go”, by Billy Cyrus (the lone “grown-up” song and artist in the game) the light radiates in big bands at his feet rather than blending smoothly from light to dark, even in 1080p with an HDMI connection. That’s not HD at all.
Finally, we’ve also seen some grumblings about the songs included on the list, but to be honest, we have no idea. The target market for Disney Sing It isn’t any one of us here at GamesRadar. It took a very strong sense of duty and the infinitesimal possibility of a hot and heavy makeout video between Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens hidden somewhere on the disc – they’re both legal; we checked – got us to even remove the cellophane. So you’re going to need to see the list for yourself.
If you love this music, go ahead and buy this game in spite of the score below; you’ll love it. Just don’t ask us to sing along unless you found that video we were talking about.
Dec 9, 2008