Last month, I reviewed my ninth SingStar title and lamented that I was running out of ways to describe this storied Sony franchise that puts the mic in your hands and challenges you to sing-along with your favorite artists. Still, I boiled my duties down to telling you if a SingStar game is worth your time and money.
SingStar ABBA is worth neither -- unless you're the world's biggest fan of the famous Swedish pop group this game centers on.
SingStar ABBA gives you 20 songs made famous by the group and lets you take them into the traditional SingStar modes -- singing by yourself, challenging a friend, performing a duet, and hosting Pass the Mic parties for up to eight players. When you're in one of these performances, the lyrics will appear and light up at the bottom of the screen, and you'll need to sing them so that your voice pops up on the screen as a color. You'll be trying to take that color and paint in the pitch/timing bars that dictate how high or low a word should be sung. Do well, and you'll get points. Do poorly, and you'll be mocked by everyone around you.
In short, it's the same SingStar formula we've been seeing for years now.
Be the queen!
Sadly, beyond the gameplay mechanics, this isn't the same song and dance for the franchise. Generally, a SingStar disc comes with 30 tracks from various artists and retails for $30. With SingStar ABBA, you're getting 20 tracks from one group and still shelling out $30. Aside from the fact that you're getting a third less but still paying the same price, SingStar ABBA gets stale quickly because there's really no variance here. Every track is by this band, and unless you're a big ABBA fan, chances are that you won't know many of these songs. Beyond "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," and "Take a Chance on Me," I don't know any of these songs -- even Jack, the Nintendo freelancer who grew up while his mom listened to ABBA, didn't recognize most of these songs. Not knowing a majority of the tracks on this disc sucks the fun out of it pretty quickly.
See, the fun with SingStar has always come from getting a group of pals together and having a good ol'fashioned singoff. So, unless you have a group of friends that are as dedicated to ABBA as you are, chances are this disc won't get much play at your next party.
Now, I realize that taking the ABBA name and branding it on a SingStar disc could be Sony's attempt at reaching out to aging baby boomers who have suddenly gotten interested in hip videogames, and conversely, this game might not be aimed at the folks who have picked up installment after installment of the SingStar series. The problem with that line of reasoning though is the fact that you can't buy SingStar ABBA with the SingStar microphones. That means even if my mom saw this in the stores and decided to make the leap, she'd need to buy this game, a PS2, and one of the other SingStar bundles that includes microphones.
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