30th Oct2018

‘Let’s Sing 2019′ Review (PS4)

by Phil Wheat

lets-sing-2019-ps4

Surprise surprise, we’re back with ANOTHER review of a karaoke game! What’s more surprising is that it seems Let’s Sing 2019 is the only update to any of this generations karaoke game franchises this year. So no head-to-head review for this year unfortunately. But what that does mean is that Let’s Sing has the entire karaoke market to itself – whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen.

Last year we struggled to find both Let’s Sing 2018 and We Sing Pop at retail – which is undoubtedly why this years game, Let’s Sing 2019, has made its debut digitally BEFORE coming to retail later this year. What the issue with distribution is I do not know but I’m hoping a digital-only future is not on the cards. Going digital only would not bode well for the future of the series, or the genre as a whole. And that worries me, as do I still LOVE this type of game… And judging by the traffic our reviews of Let’s Sing, We Sing Pop and Now That’s What I Call Sing still get years later, so do a LOT of other people!

As I stated last year – when reviewing the last Let’s Sing game – unlike years ago, when games like this came thick and fast, we now have to wait 12 months for new titles to hit the market – in fact it has been over 11 months since our last Let’s Sing review! That’s down to a couple of things: 1) the genre is not as popular as it once was, seemingly dying a death somewhat alongside the casual gaming market that flourished in the Wii era; and 2) With the rise in digital distribution and online gaming, developers can just keep pumping out new song packs for their games rather than release a new physical copy.

Anyway, with all that ranting out of the way, lets crack on with the review. Which we’ll break down in the same manner as our previous ones…

The Songs

Let’s Sing 2019 comes in two versions: the standard version and the Platinum Edition. The difference? The latter gives you all the currently available DLC for the game: the two new song packs released with this edition of the game as well as ALL the DLC that accompanied the 2018 version of the game.

One thing that marks out Let’s Sing 2019 is just how current the line-up of songs are: tunes that are currently on heavy rotation on the radio are present here – tracks like The Middle by Zedd; Leave a Light On by Tom Walker; and Call on Me by Starley. But, at least with the extra track packs, its not all new tunes. In fact with the Platinum Edition’s DLC encompassing party songs, classics and well-known pop songs from the 80s, 90s and now, Let’s Sing 2019 has to be THE most well-balanced collection of songs I’ve seen in ages. In fact ever.

Just check out the tracklist for the base game:

  • Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – Finesse (remix)
  • Zedd ft. Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle
  • Rita Ora – Anywhere
  • Clean Bandit ft. Zara Larsson – Symphony
  • Jonas Blue ft. William Singe – Mama
  • Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still
  • Starley – Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)
  • Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Club Mix)
  • Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • Auli’i Cravalho – How Far I’ll Go
  • Shawn Mendes – There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back
  • Dua Lipa – New Rules
  • Nicky Jam & J Balvin – X
  • Queen – I Want It All
  • Lorde – Green Light
  • Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone
  • Sheryl Crow – All I Wanna Do
  • DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
  • Tom Walker – Leave a Light On
  • No Doubt – Don’t Speak
  • ABBA – Mamma Mia
  • Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
  • Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa – Scared To Be Lonely
  • Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
  • Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
  • Bananarama – Cruel Summer
  • Passenger – Let Her Go
  • 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?
  • Kygo & Selena Gomez – It Ain’t Me
  • Felix Jaehn ft. Jasmine Thompson – Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)

Not only is the track list balanced between old and new, it’s also well balanced in terms of difficulty, with songs ranging from easy to hard(ish). I say hard-ish because there’s not many 5-star, REALLY difficult, tracks but then too many of those and the game becomes more of a chore than a fun experience. And Let’s Sing 2019 is certainly fun. a lot of fun! And the available DLC: the existing songs packs of Party Classics Vol. 1 & 2, Best of 80′s Vol. 1, Chart Hits and Legendary Hits; and the new packs – Best of 90′s, and Best of 80′s Vol. 2 only keep that balance going.

lets-sing-2019-ps4-screen1

Controls

Nothing much has changed when it comes to the controls in Let’s Sing 2019 – the motto “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” springs to mind. Once again you can use any console-compatible USB microphones. And once again we tested out both a PS3-gen Rockband mic and a Logitech microphone from the days of the Nintendo Wii and both worked perfectly fine. We also found no issues using mics made for other games either: the pair of mics we got with the last We Sing game worked like a charm. After all, a USB mic is a USB mic right?

There is also the option, as with the last game, to use your mobile phones as a mic by downloading the FREE Let’s Sing mic app for the game and connecting your phone to your console over wifi. Which means there’s also more opportunity for playing – players can join the game through a combination of USB mic or phone app, allowing up to 4 players per track (also handy if one of the 2 USB ports on the front of the PS4 is taken up by an external hard drive like ours!). Thankfully the “sing to activate the mic” option once again appears within the latest Let’s Sing game, which means players can jump in and out of the fun, choosing to partake in a particular track or not on a song-by-song basis.

My only qualm was that this time round it wasn’t as easy to connect via mobile, at least on the iPhone X. It took a restart of the app and a switching off and on of microphone permissions for it to work. A little bit of extra effort but at least this app works – unlike some “other” app to game titles we can never get working! Meanwhile over on Android it was as simple as downloading the app and connecting to wifi – just as it should be. I’m blaming Apple for this one!

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Gameplay & Presentation

Let’s Sing 2019 has had a number of upgrades from last years iteration: the addition of avatars; a global-asynchronous-versus-multiplayer-mode; and a new “Create your own Mix Tape” mode – which means there are now five game modes available for up to 4 players. Which means that this version of Let’s Sing feels much deeper than earlier examples of this type of game.

Visually the game retains the clean look and feel for the menu system – however the animations and graphics have a much more crisp and polished look, especially when it comes to the in-game avatars and the overall look of the menus. My only issue is the slight delay in response when flicking through the track listings: it seems to be either hold the d-pad and flick through REALLY fast or have to wait for the song segment to kick in before being able to move on to the next song. It’s a minor niggle however in what is essentially the best example of the genre we have right now.

The biggest change developers Voxler have made with Let’s Sing 2o19 is definitely the global-asynchronous-versus-multiplayer-mode – or “World Contest” as its known in the game – which works very much like the quiz app on mobiles: in that you’re singing against an opponent who’s already sung the song rather than singing at the exact same time as someone else (that would be a really weird experience IMO). The better you sing, the better your score, the higher your ranking – and ranking is for both the song AND the player; so you can be ranked number one on a song but only #6 overall in the world. Of course the more you play the higher you can [try to] rank. Trophies are also rewarded for how many opponents you have beaten, whilst your performance also counts towards the games level-up meter. However… your high scores in this section of the game don’t count towards the online leaderboards. Which means, as I found out, that you can score highly in a song in a World Contest match-up but the world leaderboard rank only takes your Classic mode attempts into account! For example I scored over 400k in a World Contest attempt at The Cranberries Zombie, but only just over 250k in Classic mode – one score would be world #1 the other only #6.

Outside of the online multiplayer mode Let’s Sing 2019‘s most notable change is the avatar system. The game starts out with 4 avatars for players to choose from and as you progress through the game and level up more avatars become available. Think of them akin to in-game trophies, allowing you more choice to customise your appearance the better you play. That’s not to say they take the place of actual trophies – there’s still plenty of them to collect, along with bronze, silver, gold, platinum AND diamond records. Which means for trophy hunters there’s plenty to go at in Let’s Sing 2019. Now, I’ll be honest, I thought the addition of avatars little more than a visual gimmick. However… Once you start to play the game and sing through songs, you realise the avatars are actually more than that: yes, they’re visual representations of those taking part but they also function as an easy way of seeing if your mic is still connected and working and help prep your note/pitch during quiet parts of a song as the next word/note comes along the screen. The only downside? Having avatars mean, in 2-player mode at least, that the pitch bar and the song lyrics are kind of far apart if you’re player two – which means you might find yourself sacrificing one for the other!

Surprisingly the score multiplier feels like it makes a HUGE difference this time round too. String together some on-pitch and on-time singing and you can quickly rack up a 5x multiplier which, when it comes to the crunch, can really mean the difference between winning and losing. And winning big too! Scores quickly reach 250k+ once you hit that 5x multiplier – making it essential to hit it IMHO. The “golden note” system is still in play too and whilst, yes, it is a stalwart of these kind of games, that yellow line is still remarkable motivation for hitting the correct pitch and holding a long note – it’s still all about that high score after all!

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Conclusion

Honestly, Let’s Sing 2019 is without a doubt THE best karaoke game ever made. Ever. Even moreso in the Platinum Edition. This game surpasses 2012′s We Sing Pop (my all-time favourite up to now and the game I always hail as the go-to “best of” the genre) as the epitomy of the genre, offering the most perfect mix of music, game play and visual presentation I’ve ever experienced. How you improve on this next time out remains to be seen. The only way I could see to add “more” to the 2020 version is perhaps integrate the app with the game? It would be cool to be able to flick through and choose tracks in the app but if/how that is possible remains to be seen.

Ultimately, if you like these kinds of karaoke games (like I do) you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of Let’s Sing 2019 ASAP. And if you do, just try and beat my high scores!

***** 5/5

Let’s Sing 2019 is available, digitally, now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

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