SingStar Ultimate Party review: Good value karaoke - and you can use your phone as the microphone

£24.99; PS3/PS4; London Studio

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The Independent Tech

Humanity has come up with some incredible concepts and achieved some remarkable things. We have been to the moon and cured diseases that at one point were wiping us out in droves. Chief among these achievements though is karaoke, the most beautiful art form ever conceived. Singstar Ultimate Party is Sony’s latest instalment in their sing-with-your-TV karaoke franchise.

With 31 songs included with the game and many more available to download, there is enough variety to keep you going for a night or two. Individual songs are priced at £1.15 or at £5.35 for a pack of five songs. As with all Singstar games, expect more songs to be released periodically though.  In reality everyone has their own favourite songs that they regurgitate every time they do karaoke, so as long as your favourites are in there the variety doesn’t really matter (unfortunately there is no “Don’t Stop Believin” or “Sk8r Boi”...)

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Previous versions of Singstar have been hamstrung by requiring the player to purchase the microphone that would only be usable with Singstar. Luckily Sony have come up with a solution to this problem as you can now pair your Android or iOS device to the PlayStation and use that as your microphone. So the cost of the game can be reduced as it no longer comes with the microphone, and multiple people can join in without spending a fortune. Using a mobile device as a microphone actually works surprisingly well although does seem to use up your phone battery rather quickly.

The prompts on screen that tell you whether your voice is too low or too high can be quite difficult to follow, and it would be a lot easier if the indicator of your voice’s pitch was a constant line rather than appearing and disappearing with every word. However, as I played the game I did notice a steady increase in my scores but whether I was actually singing better or just timing the vocals better is hard to tell.

The real jewel in Singstar’s crown is that if you have the PlayStation Camera connected then the game will record your performance. So not only can you enjoy one of the world’s simplest and most pure pleasures but you can then share that joy with the world.

This is a karaoke game, therefore if you don’t like singing in front of people you won’t like this, but if you have known the joy of performing “Dancing Queen” to your drunk friends then this game will certainly scratch that itch. While there is not an encyclopaedic list of songs to sing, there are enough to keep you going for a while. With only one game mode there are limited options, but with high scores to beat, and friends to embarrass this is a worthy investment for the relatively low asking price.

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