With such a plethora of music rhythm games, especially with the more recent versions including a vocalist position, for the Xbox 360 it is easy to forget that there is a pretty decent karaoke game available in the form of Lips. Lips: I Love The 80’s is the third release of stand-alone DLC after Lips: Number One Hits and Lips: Party Classics. The good news for people like me, the mature gamer, is that the track list on Lips: I Love The 80’s will greet you like a pile of mix tapes you made for your girlfriend at high school. So break out the legwarmers and shoulder pads, stock up on Mello Yello and Sherbet Dabs and prepare for a rad time!
Now I could be classed as bias on the song list as I grew up in the 80’s, and loved it, but when you get a list of 40 songs to sing and only have to refer to the lyrics on about 4 of them, you know you are in for a rollicking good time. With the 80’s having such a mountain of fantastic music iNiS has done really well with selecting a great mixture of songs from different genres. From 80’s icon ‘Mickey’ by Tony Basil to ’Boys Don’t Cry’ by The Cure to ‘Vienna’ by Ultravox every taste is covered. But lets face it, 80’s music is a genre in itself so it’s simple to say, if you like 80’s music, you will love this version of Lips!
For those not familiar with karaoke games basically it’s as simple (or hard) as singing the words in time, with a little bouncing ball to help, and ideally getting the pitch right. Doing this will fill the bars, increasing your score. Do this for long enough and get ‘note streaks’ which allow you to activate star power which inturn gives you stars to increase your rating as a singer. As well as stars you will be awarded medals for various skills, be it for good technique or competently using the microphone as tambourine. All songs are unlocked from the get go so you don’t have to worry about doing well to unlock your favourite song, lucky for me. Add to this solo singer game the ability to go co-op with a friend and a handful of other mini games and you can really have some good times, just add alcohol for great times!
Changes and additions from the original Lips aren’t huge but there are some nice touches, the inclusion of Avatar support and Awards is good as is the ability to connect any media device and sing music from it, minus the lyrics of course. Again like the previous stand alone DLC you can now use many of the USB microphones on the market. A couple of the big annoyances are still present in the form of some lengthy load times, made even worse if you have a large library of Lips DLC (which is all compatible with Lips: I Love The 80’s) and the requirement to swap disks if you want to sing a disk based song from the original Lips or two other DLC disks. Even having all these disks installed to the HDD requires the swap. An Import Songs option would have been nice. Also I personally find the whole user interface in Lips, and the Lips Store (where you can purchase even more songs) very clunky and unfriendly. It does the job but could be so much better.
There is always going to be a place for this type of party game in most modern gamers library, the trick is to keep the music options flowing. This is especially important when other music games start to muscle in on your turf by adding vocalist options to their games. 80’s era music is always going to be a popular choice, even for the younger generation, because lets face it, everyone loves the 80’s. To be honest if you haven’t got a Lips title already this could be the one to get, especially if you have a Guitar Hero or Rockband microphone already. You won’t be able to do the instrument bits but you will be able to enjoy music from an era that gave us some classic songs. The music is what makes this title, it’s easy to overlook the shortcomings of the game design when you are belting out a bit of Huey Lewis & The News.