The Christmas season is nearly upon us and that means parties; at home, at friends or even the workplace. One way to get the party started is some Karaoke and Microsoft Studios may have found a great solution.
Karaoke is a free to download application which gives you access to the Karaoke Channel’s song database containing over 8000 songs, with new songs being continuously added. Five free songs are available each day if you want to try before buying. A Karaoke Pass, which gives you access to any of the songs, will cost you 240 :MSPoints: for 2 hours, 400 :MSPoints: for 6 hours and 800 :MSPoints: for 24 hours. One thing we did notice is that hanging around in the menus uses up your available time, so don’t forget to switch the game off after playing! IPDATE – The pass expires even when not playing the game, so unless you are planning to play more than two hours at a time we do not recommend you purchase any more than that!
Karaoke is rather basic in appearance, with a simple design and both in menus and game. The menus allow you to browse the available songs in a various ways such as genre, decade, artist and the song title. I tried searching for a few songs I like and they were all found, there is everything from classical music to the latest pop tunes! You can also search for music while in-game via a smaller menu at the top of the screen, or if you have a smart phone compatible with SmartGlass you can use that. The SmartGlass feature works very well and is ideal if you want to choose your next songs while someone else is singing.
To cut down on royalties, Karaoke Channel uses re-recorded music and other singers for the songs. Overall the instrument quality is good and sounds like the original, but some of the vocals are terrible to be very honest. Barracuda by Heart should not sound like a cat being strangled! You can switch the vocals off thankfully!
The action in-game can be a little sparse to start with. You start in a small town concert with few audience members, as you sing your audience increases. Do well and you will have a capacity gig full of avatars. Unlike other Karaoke games, this one does not score you on accuracy, any noise will do. In fact, if you put your headset or microphone up to your speakers you should get a top score!
At the end of each round, your performance is totalled up, earning you money and new fans. Money is automatically spent on new props and band members for your gig. and fans increase your rank unlocking new locations to play on. Everything is automated, I would have liked to have seen some interaction such as customising your avatar or the props to give it a personal touch.
So, is Karaoke worth it? Hardcore Karaoke fans may find the game to be a little basic for their liking as there is no accuracy checking for lyrics and the songs vocals can be poor. The target audience seems to be a person having some friends around for a few hours on a spur of the moment, for this situation it is perfect. The Karaoke Pass prices are not that expensive and are certainly a lot cheaper than buying a boxed game and only playing it once or twice. If you have friends or family over Christmas and want a few hours of cheap entertainment you could do a lot worse!0