Lips didn't seem like a game I'd pick up since I already had the Rock Band games in my collection and if I wanted to just sing I'd just pop it in with the microphone attached. The microphones that came with it are pretty cool though with the ability to sense motion, change color, and being wireless. Curiously, iNiS Corp decided to release another bundle rather than produce the songs as DLC so here we have Lips: Number One Hits.
The theme, as you can grab from the title, is that all the songs achieved the number one spot on the charts at one time or another. The time though isn't limited a certain era as there are number one songs spanning from the 60s to today. 40 songs are available on the onset with a coupon in the game for an additional 5 songs for free. You get to choose from four different packs of 5 which collection you want. The song list is pretty subjective and it's one of those things where it's hard to comment whether it's a good list or not because everyone has different tastes. Lips: Number One Hits, in my opinion, has a decent variety of songs to choose from. Seeing as this is a collection of popular music selections that have made it to the top of the charts, you'll have a good chance of find a few songs you like and would like to sing to.
For those that have never played Lips, the game's pretty straight forward. You sign along with the song and score higher by filling up the song bars. As you fill up the song bar your meter also fills up and when full you can tilt the mic to activate the ability to acquire stars (which I will go into why this is needed in a little bit). At certain times there will be poses on the screen that can earn you more points should you perform them with the mic. One new thing though is that if you have an Avatar made, you'll see the Avatar perform the move rather than some silhouette of a person doing so. It adds a little more personal feel to the game and it's nice to at least see another game use the Avatar for something. At the core it's a basic karaoke game that displays the music video while you are playing. There are also some different gameplay modes such as stopping a bomb from exploding or having a couple come together to kiss that takes how you are doing in the game and the motion capability of the mic to play but they are small side games that I didn't find too interesting.
The game's pretty generous though in scoring for you and even a bad singer like me did well on some songs. This might turn off the hardcore singers but it does allow a greater number of people to participate and have fun even if you have a horrible voice. There's no difficulty setting so everyone plays at the same setting and the game's just very lenient in grading how you are doing. The game's still going to award the better singers of course but it's good to see that it's not too harsh on those without the talent to sing as well.
Since this is more of a party game, you can't fail so no matter how bad you are you'll always reach the end of the song. This makes it pretty accessible for players of all skill sets. Another cool thing is that if you are playing by yourself and someone else wants to join in, all they have to do is shake the other mic and a new bar pops up for the second player to fill up. You don't have to quit the game out to get the other person in making it a nice simple process. Both of these features makes Lips: Number One Hits an ideal karaoke party game whereby the system can just be on and people can go up to their leisure to play if they want to.
If there are a few folks around who want to participate but no more mics are available, they can pick up the controller and create some beats by pressing on one of the four face buttons. Some songs have different sounds you can create such as a tambourine, clapping, drum beat, etc. For those that don't want to sing but want to do something, this is an option for them.
As you play you'll achieve various statuses and level up by earning enough stars. Remember how I mentioned earlier that you can tilt your mic to activate the ability to acquire stars? Well, the number of stars is used to "level" yourself to various titles in the game. The title isn't anything that's too important to the overall scheme of things but it gives you a little something to shoot for.
Unfortunately, you can't store the songs from the first disc on the hard drive and just play with Number One Hits in the drive tray. I would've liked to have seen iNiS take the Harmonix route and have you pay a small fee to store the songs on the hard drive so you don't have to swap the disks if you do have the first game. It's a little kludgy to do so and with today's technology we shouldn't have to be forced to do this if we want to use the songs from the first game on Number One Hits. Hopefully, a patch or some resolution in the future will fix this but for now if you want to sing all the songs and you own both games, you'll need to do the ole disk switcheroo.
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