With the rise and fall of the music games genre, it’s a bit comical to remember we used to have games just for singing. The demand recently had been to play multiple plastic instruments to officially licensed music, with the ability to expand our collection with microtransactions. I remember fondly the days of Singstar on the PlayStation 2, where a pair of singers can belt their lungs out karaoke style to a variety of genres. Fast forward to 2017 and THQNordic along with Wired Productions have teamed up to release We Sing Pop on consoles. Despite only a casual affinity for pop music, I was eager to dust off my Rock Band mics and see how these games have progressed over the years. While not for everyone, We Sing Pop is a solid entry for karaoke games.
Here is the tracklist:
ABBA – Mamma Mia
Alan Walker – Faded
Avicii – Hey Brother
B-52’s – Love Shack
Bastille – Pompeii
BoB ft. Hayley Williams – Airplanes
Bruno Mars – Just the way you Are
Calvin Harris – Summer
Calvin Harris & The Disciples – How Deep is Your Love
Christine & the Queens – Tilted
Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
Clean Bandit ft. Sean Paul & Anne Marie – Rockabye
Coldplay – Adventure of a Lifetime
Coldplay ft. Beyonce – Hymn for the Weekend
Ellie Goulding – Burn
George Ezra – Budapest
George Michael – Faith
Jason Derulo – Want to Want Me
Jonas Blue ft JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers
Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell – Firestone
Lorde – Green Light
Meghan Trainor – All About that Bass
Nico and Vinz – Am I Wrong?
OutKast – Hey Ya!
Queen – I want to Break Free
Scissor Scissors – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
Sia ft. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills
The Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This
Wham! – Wake me up Before you Go-Go
Zara Larsson – Lush Life
Every song is accompanied by their original music video, which is both a good and bad thing. There are no issues with recent songs, their videos are clear and a pleasure to watch. Songs from the 80s and earlier appear stretched out and highly pixelated, sadly. While this is sort of to be expected, I would have greatly preferred a 4:3 aspect ratio with borders. It never caused me to miss any of my singing or lyrical cues, but a small gripe regardless. About the soundtrack, it didn’t take long for me to notice that many songs are either very old or fairly recent. There is a wealth of great pop songs from the late 90s and early 2000s that I wished were included. Big names like: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, NSYNC, 98 Degrees are noticeably absent. As someone who was a teenager during those years, it was sad seeing a popular era of pop music completely ignored.
It’s also worth mentioning that We Sing Pop is rated T for teen for drug references, mild lyrics and sexual themes. A few music videos featured women wearing hardly any clothes and while I didn’t mind, it would make me pause if my 5-year-old daughter was choosing that song. Parents might want to screen some of these videos before putting the game in the hands of younger players.
We Sing Pop has all the gameplay features you would want in a karaoke game, with support for up to 4 players. While playing solo, players can choose normal mode which shows lyrics and a scrolling meter guiding your tone; and expert mode which has neither of those features. You can toggle the scoring difficulty between normal and expert in addition to singing the sing with original vocals or just the instrumentals. There is also karaoke mode which ditches the scoring all together and again you can choose to have guided lyrics displayed, or vocals included. Every song has leaderboards that show how many times you have played it, your top scores and the worldwide leaders.
There are four multiplayer modes which can also be played in normal/expert difficulty and with vocals on or off. Versus mode puts two singers against each other with the goal being the highest score. Group battle is for 3 or more players with the same concept as versus. Pass the Mic is the only way that you can play multiplayer with just one microphone, and it involves players sharing during the song. We Sing is the final multiplayer mode that ditches the competitive aspect. All the modes work as you would expect; keep in mind that if you are buying the game digitally you will need at least one USB microphone. We Sing Pop earns points with me for its quick loading times and transitions from menu to game and vice versa. There is nothing more annoying that waiting for these types of games to load, or having to backtrack and wait again because you chose the wrong setting.
Whether you will want We Sing Pop is almost entirely based on the tracklist. If you like the majority of what you see, then you likely will enjoy the game. There are two options to purchase the game here in the US, $29.99 on the digital store or $49.99 retail which includes 2 microphones. If you don’t already have microphones from previous games, then spring for the retail bundle, as hunting down used mics proved more annoying than anticipated. I personally wish there were more songs from the late 90s and 2000s, so I don’t see myself getting as much out of We Sing Pop as younger players might. I hope the series continues and branches out into other genres. My wife and daughter would lose their minds (and voices) if a country version was released, and I know I’d be interested in singing rock and roll classics. If you absolutely adore the songs included, feel free to add a point to my score.
A press key was provided by Wired Productions for the purpose of this review.