LIPS XBOX 360 REVIEW

Going to a relative’s party can sometimes get a bit nerve-wracking, especially when everyone only talks about the same old topics – school, work, or what have you. People who took the time to attend these reunions regularly shouldn’t feel debilitated by social humdrum, where half of the guests are slowly making their way out towards the door before dinner can be served. There are a few who just can’t wait to split up and you can easily tell them by their body language: frequently yawning around the host to try to come away with their premeditated exit speech, “Would you look at the time? I wish I could stay but I have an early meeting tomorrow.” How many of you have used this lame excuse? Well, if you have Lips for Xbox 360, you wouldn’t have to! Microsoft’s latest karaoke sensation is just one of the many sociable bridges that can bring life to a party. What better way to break the ice in a room full of stiff folks than to whisk them away with a bit of singing competition, American Idol style.

What makes Lips such an engaging distraction at social events is its tender accessibility that spans across different genres and age groups. For the young crowd, you’ve got music from Nirvana, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Destiny’s Child, Duffy, Rihanna, Sara Bareilles, Chris Brown, and several other recent releases. For the older generation, they can fiddle through songs from The Jackson 5, Queen, Blondie, Duran Duran, John Denver, and several other decade hits. Just like other karaoke games, Lips has an award system that scores you on timing and pitch of your singing. If you don’t know the notes, it’s okay. The game doesn’t actually recognize words; so even if you have the rustiest voice, you can still achieve a sensational performance by humming into the microphone. Speaking of microphone, you’ll love the new wireless mics that come bundled with the game. These devices are revolutionary. Inside, there are sensors and lights that flash according to the beat of the music. You can even shake them to generate tambourine and cymbal effects! But their main function is to activate the score multiplier.

One of the best aspects of Lips is that every song is unlocked from the outset, which means there is no need to perform special objectives just to open up a particular soundtrack. All you have to do is pick any music from the extensive setlist and get ready to “raise the roof and turn this mutha out!” The game also comes with interactive videos that add a whimsical twist to the singing portion. The amazing part about it is that it lets you choose four alternative visualizations. One of them is the Time Bomb mode, which involve neutralizing an explosive by singing to fill up the water supply. The other mode is Kiss where two players must activate their special moves harmoniously to lock in those romantic smooches. Besides its corky yet eye-catchy presentation, Lips scores big on its ability to import music from external device like an Ipod. With this feature, you can certainly expand Lip’s music collection. The only downside is that there is no interactive video to the song you wanted to sing off your Ipod.

In the multiplayer department, Lips does a good job in providing the co-op experience; but, it would be to see a team-based competition in this latest karaoke craze. It’s quite obvious that Lips is built to run as a party game, and so there is little reason to play solo. Playing it alone can be somewhat depressing; but on the lighter side, it allows you to practice the lyrics and learn more about the score multipliers. Overall, the game offers a lot of good measures in hosting a good party. It’s fun, entertaining, and a refreshing experience that goes well with family gatherings or small events. The best part is that it’s so easy anyone can play it! So don’t worry about your scratchy voice or anything like that; Lips can still make you look like a superstar. There are other folks that might think Lips is just another cheesy add-on to get players to buy into the new trend of “virtual interaction”, but the truth is we haven’t seen this much wireless novelty into a microphone since the invention of web cam. At any rate, Lips is certainly a crowd pleaser and with the latest downloadable content, the party might never end.

FINAL SCORE: 8.0 OUT OF 10