Lips: Number One Hits Review

Lee Abrahams

We should get one thing clear right from the off, this is not a sequel to the original Lips – if anything it is merely a glorified add on with a few new features but sold at full retail price. All of those people hoping for a true sequel full of new and exciting features will be left feeling slightly disappointed. However, for those people who have never played Lips before or those in need of some new songs to belt out while slightly under the influence of your favourite tipple, then read on.

Lips is one of Microsoft's own little children and is obviously designed to tap into the market that Singstar so successfully attracted on the PlayStation. In layman's terms, Lips is a karaoke game that allows you to sing along to classic tracks while making a bit of a fool of yourself. So far so good. Unfortunately Microsoft seems to have gone down the Sony route of releasing the same game again, only with a different song list. People tend to complain about the numerous versions of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but at least each new version of those games does try to add something new – the same cannot be said here.

The only karma in this game is bad.

For those of you who have played Lips before then the gameplay is exactly the same; you sing along to songs and try to amass as big a score as possible. Not missing notes, using star power for bonus points and snagging the all important vibration bonuses are key to a top leaderboard position. In fact, it is still as fun and addictive as it was the first time around, though obviously more so with a bunch of friends as no one wants to sing along solo (or do they?). As such there are plenty of modes to keep everyone happy, with versus, duets and the more quirky games such as Kiss or Time Bomb. The whole set up is wonderfully intuitive and you can hop in and out as you please. Though I did notice that during duets the game would fail to pick up one of the players during joint chorus sections, it happened pretty much every time yet would not happen if the same two people sung the song on Versus – hopefully this was just a random occurrence, but it happened far too often to be mere chance.

The real issue this time around is that not much has changed. For some reason the ability to build up star power by shaking the mic has been taken away, and now you are only rewarded for using the mic at pre-designated points on screen. Either hitting a noise maker of miming correctly will net you the points. Also you can now see how well you are doing as you play, with your position on the leaderboards shown on the screen (once you score enough to get in the top one thousand players anyway) and it gradually increases as you do better. It is quite satisfying to see yourself rocket up the leaderboards mid song and then break into the top one hundred with an epic finish. You can also see your avatar in game too which is more of a quirk than a genuine game changer.

But at least Hammer is here. Sweet.

Put these changes aside and you are looking at the exact same game from twelve months ago, only with a different song sheet. The disappointment here is that the new song choices just do not seem as strong this time around and, despite the Number One Hits moniker, you would be hard pressed to find many stone cold classics here; except MC Hammer of course - you cannot go wrong with baggy pants and dubious dancing. Most of the songs are firmly in the family orientated and pop side of things, meaning there is nowhere near enough variety. Considering you will be paying full price, it may make more sense for you to browse the original Lips store instead and pick up some songs you know you will enjoy.

That brings us to another problem, the poor compatibility with the original game. As this game is more like an on disc set of DLC you would expect it to interact with Lips quite well, but nothing could be further from the truth. There seems to be no way to permanently transfer songs from one game to the other, even if you own both copies and install them. So if you want to play an original Lips song you will need to insert the disc each time and then reinsert the new disc when the song ends – it is poorly designed and quite off putting. The game also flat out states that you can only get most of the original one thousand gamerscore if you own the original game, making this one little more than a novelty.

Avatars again, but does anyone outside MS care?

As I have already mentioned, far too many times to count, this game is just DLC on a disc. As such you can only get 250 points from the title which is added to your existing Lips score (if you have one), rather then under an entirely new game. Microsoft have said in the past that all full price retail games must come with 1000 points for free, so how exactly are they getting away with breaking their own policies? Obviously they can do what they like, but it definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth. The real problem is that the new achievements are also laughably easy and, depending on your stash of medals/stars from the first game, can be completed in about an hour or two, leaving you to wonder where your money went. The only pain is grinding out yet another fifty grand worth of stars... surely they could have put more thought into the game than that.

This game annoyed me a lot, but mainly because I had been looking forward to it for a while having thoroughly enjoyed the first offering. With next to no new features, a poor list of songs and achievements that just tack onto the first game, you really are not getting your monies worth. The gameplay is still a lot of fun and some of the songs are awesome, but unless you are absolutely desperate for some new songs or another 250 points, I would leave this well alone.

Actually not as good as the title would lead you to believe as some of the Number One choices are strange to say the least...

Pretty much just music videos with some fairly generic menus. Nothing earth shattering, but then it does not need to be.

I cannot fault the easy pick up and play nature of the game or the amount of laughs it can generate, with enough modes to keep you entertained and plenty of songs on offer.

A fun singing game that is ideal for parties, but one that adds nothing new over last year's offering and contains a fairly weak song list. Plus the persistent issue with the game not picking up one person during certain duet sections can get annoying.

Zero thought, zero fun and you will need the original game to get most of the 1250 points that the two titles share. Shoddy.

Little more than a cash in on the first Lips and one that I would only recommend for people who do not own the original, but even then you are hard done to as you would be missing out on better songs and more achievements. Madness.

Game navigation