Your rating: None



ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Miscellaneous

players: 1-6
co-op: 2-6
4MB to Save Game
HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p
hard drive required to use CD song
content download

The SingStar franchise has been a force for Sony’s PlayStation consoles for quite some time. So it comes as no surprise that Microsoft has come along with its own karaoke based video game. Developed by iNiS and published by Microsoft Game Studios, Lips arrives for the Xbox 360 and has the look and feel of Sony’s SingStar franchise. Yet, in an effort to one up SingStar, Lips features a 40-song set list and wireless microphones. On the surface, Lips seems like the better alternative for multi-console owners. But is Lips the better choice? Let’s take a look and find out.


Overall, the visuals in Lips are about what I expected which means the game looks alright. Similar to SingStar and Karaoke Revolution, Lips is not your typical video game. Other than some of the unique video backdrops and the game’s menus there is not much in the way of computer generated animation. Nevertheless, what you do get looks good but not great. Everything else aside, and being a music based karaoke game, we are not going to put a lot of weight on the games overall look. Yet, my main issues rest with the look of some of the music videos. The majority of the videos are displayed in standard definition and frankly some are an eye sore. Granted many are older videos, however I just expected them to be re-mastered or cleaned up a little. For instance, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf” and The Police’s “Every Little Thing she Does is Magic” are a tad ugly. It is hard to criticize a game which has little control over the way the videos are recorded, but bottom line some look dreadful and there is something wrong with looking at a standard definition resolution on a next generation console.

Aside from some of average looking music videos, the rest of Lips is pretty. The menus are easy to navigate and they do look fantastic. Flipping through the menus and song list is very simple. Not to mention the opening intro to the game gets you in the mood right off the hop. Once you move past the main menu and jump into the “jump in” and sing selection area, you are once again greeted with slick looking graphics. The album covers are displayed as you flip through your selections, and you get a preview to the video before you make your selection whether to play the long or short version of the game. All in all, visually and graphically, Lips scores decent marks.


In a karaoke or music/rhythm type game the sound is arguably the most important aspect. Fortunately Lips delivers in this department as well. All the songs and music video's are master tracks which gives the game instant credibility and authenticity. Lips features original artists, their songs, and videos which made the bands/singers so popular. The songs themselves all sound terrific in 5.1 surround sound. It was great to sing along to some of those tracks I had not heard in years such as Depeche Modes “Personal Jesus” and Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”. My only issue with the games music is the menu tune which is played in the song selection screen. When switching from song to song Lips features a tune which is played while the selected song is loading up. I call it audio clutter. You only hear the music for maybe 5 seconds while your video loads and I am not sure why developers felt the need to use the music as filler. But it did seem out of place and unnecessary.

The wireless microphones are very good quality and I must say it is nice to sing along with no wires. I had some issues synching the mics to the Xbox 360 but once I got going I didn’t have any issues with the singing aspect of the game as it appears the mics are calibrated to perfection. Your voice comes through loud and clear. I found there was no lag or delay as and the volume of your voice is adjustable as well. So if you are having some pitch problems or cannot sing a song particularly well, you can turn the volume down on the microphones with the Xbox 360 controller. The wireless microphones are interactive as well and feature stylish interactive motion sensors and lights. The only downside is the responsiveness of percussion aspects of the microphones. You can shake it to simulate a percussion instrument but I found there was a bit of a delay. Overall, I found it was best to just keep the microphones still while singing.


Lips is essentially a karaoke game but features a scoring system with the artist's music video playing in the background. Similar to the vocals on Rock Band and SingStar, Lips for the Xbox 360 has you sing along with music in order to score points. Users interface with the Xbox 360 via the Lips wireless microphones. Lips does not measure how well you know the lyrics but rather uses a system which gauges your pitch, which is again similar to SingStar or Rock Band vocals. The pitch you are required to sing is displayed via horizontal bars and these bars correspond with the lyrics of the song. Your pitch is compared to the pitch of the artists singing the song and the better your pitch and timing, the better your score. It's really that simple. So you do not need to nail down the words to perfection as you can hum through an entire song and gain decent scores.

The game comes with 40 tracks out of the box which is more than its PS3 competitor. You also have the ability to sing along to the tunes on your Xbox 360 hard drive music playlist. Sorry folks, the artist’s videos and corresponding lyrics of the song are not displayed when you sing “freestyle” off the HDD but the feature is cool nonetheless. It was great to sing along to some of the many Dave Matthews tunes I have on my Xbox 360 hard drive. Overall, 40 songs out of the box is not bad but I would have liked to have seen a few more. Especially when you consider games such as Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 come with over 80 tracks. It only took my daughter and I a few hours to try all the songs. Ideally I would have liked to have seen the playlist at 60. Of course the game does support DLC via the Xbox Live Marketplace and as of writing this review new songs were slated to be released with the week. For those of you wondering, the game arrives out of the box with the following track list:

- A-ha “Take on Me”
- Alicia Keys “No One”
- Aly & AJ “Potential Break Up Song”
- Avril Lavigne “Complicated”
- Ben E. King “Stand by Me”
- Beyoncé “Irreplaceable”
- Blondie “Call Me”
- Chris Brown “With You”
- Coldplay “Yellow”
- Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus”
- Destiny’s Child “Survivor”
- Dido “White Flag”
- Duffy “Mercy”
- Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf”
- John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
- Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire”
- Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love”
- Lil’ Mama “Lip Gloss”
- Lupe Fiasco (featuring Matthew Santos) “Superstar”
- Maroon 5 “Makes Me Wonder”
- Nirvana “In Bloom”
- Peter Bjorn and John “Young Folks”
- Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”
- R.E.M. “The One I Love”
- Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees”
- The Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated”
- Rascal Flatts “Stand”
- Rihanna “Umbrella”
- Roxette “Listen to Your Heart”
- Sara Bareilles “Love Song”
- Sheryl Crow “Soak Up the Sun”
- Taylor Swift “I’m Only Me When I’m With You”
- The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian”
- The Fray “Over My Head (Cable Car)”
- The Jackson 5 “ABC”
- The Police “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
- The Raveonettes “Love in a Trashcan”
- Trace Adkins “Ladies Love Country Boys”
- Weezer “Island in the Sun”
- Young MC “Bust a Move”

Overall, the set list is pretty good with a nice mix of tunes for young and older wannabe rock stars. The set list includes no Hanna Montana or High School Musical tunes, so younger aspiring singers should likely look elsewhere. If you are over the age of 12 there is surely a song listed above for you. At the end of the day it is a good set list aiming to please a wide range of people. Nevertheless, as I indicated above more songs out of the box, or at least some free downloadable tracks, could assist in reaching a wider audience.

As I mentioned earlier Lips comes with a couple of slick looking wireless microphones. In my view this is where Lips rises above the competition. Not only are these microphones wireless, but they light up and flash to the beat of the music. Don’t forget that they can be used as percussion instruments too, even though they do lag in this mode. These wireless microphones are also dummy proof. Once you have gone through the finicky process of initially synching them the process of activating your each one is a breeze. Simply shake the microphone(s) at any time to join in a song. Also, you can activate star power (similar to Guitar Hero III) by shaking them. So as you can see the developers did a fantastic job making the microphones incredibly interactive and it pays off.

Just when I thought I could call Lips the undisputed champ of Karaoke based video games, I found I was disappointed with two areas. The first is the online multiplayer aspects of the game. Lips makes no use of the Xbox LIVE vision camera, so there is no ability to record your performances. Not that I have a burning desire to make my own video but this is an area SingStar has Lips beat. Perhaps we will see more of an online community component with Lips 2. The second issue is the lack of a single player mode similar to what we have seen with Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Granted, Lips and Guitar Hero are distinctly different games and I did like the fact I could play any of the 40 songs right for the get go. Nevertheless, a single player story mode or some sort of mode featuring some unlockable content would have given me some good reason to play on my own, try to get better, and sing all the 40 songs more then once or twice.

A terrific feature for Lips is the ability to import music from your iPod, Zune, or any MP3 player for that matter. Similar to singing songs from your hard drive, Lips has no capacity to play the videos or display lyrics however the idea of having an endless library of songs to sing along with is fantastic. I should mention that the game also give you a score when you sing to your custom songs. I am not sure why this was included, however it is a nice little addition indeed.

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