×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lips

Microsoft's efforts to broaden the Xbox 360's appeal beyond hardcore "Halo" players continues with "Lips," a flashy new karaoke game that's targeted at casual auds.

Microsoft’s efforts to broaden the Xbox 360’s appeal beyond hardcore “Halo” players continues with “Lips,” a flashy new karaoke game that’s targeted at casual auds. Though it will quickly bore vocalists acclimated to the challenge of “Rock Band,” “Lips” excels as home karaoke, bringing style and pizzazz to a crowded genre. However, “Lips” is also exceedingly shallow, with a small number of songs and a broken system for importing new ones, meaning living room crooners will likely stick with Sony’s deeper “SingStar” franchise for the time being.

A karaoke title is a natural choice for a console looking to steal a chunk of Wii’s family audience, and iNiS, developer of quirky cult favorite DS music title “Elite Beat Agents,” seems well suited to the task. So it’s no surprise that at first blush, “Lips” impresses. It’s bundled with twin microphones whose heft, motion sensitivity and starry, light-up glow put band game mics to shame. And the clean, white iPod-esque user interface is very au courant. When available, players can choose to have the song’s actual musicvideo play behind the master tracks. For pre-MTV tracks like the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” “Lips” offers pleasing, color-washed ambient designs.

There are several clever party-friendly modes beyond basic singing: Vocal Fighters pits player vs. player; the odd-but-cute Kiss mode requires a successful duet to get two gradually approaching silhouettes to embrace; and Time Bomb demands skillful singing to defuse an explosion. A second player can join in to sing along just by shaking the second mic to wake it up, while others can add a tambourine or cowbell by pushing buttons on the Xbox 360’s controller.

Game awards extra points for stylistic vibrato, but scoring, along with earning medals for motion-controlled posing or for great pitch, is largely redundant. “Lips” doesn’t penalize players for missing notes, and unlike other popular music games, it’s impossible to fail a song. It’s the kind of game that could be the life of a casual party, but the lack of challenge or reward makes it a snooze for experienced gamers playing solo or together.

“Lips” eschews timeless karaoke favorites in favor of an odd blend so dispersed across genres that each player’s taste is likely to find only a couple of desirables out of a list of 40 titles that run the gamut from A-Ha’s “Take on Me” through perplexing, ultra-current one-hit-wonders like Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” The box promises more songs available via download, but there aren’t many just yet, and no must-haves, which looks grim for “Lips” when you contrast it with “SingStar,” which has such a massive song library that Sony had to build a separate, iTunes-esque online store to house them all.

“Lips” promised to make up for that shortcoming through an innovative feature that lets players import songs from an iPod or other MP3 player, tone down the singer’s voice and “freestyle” to the music even if the lyric data isn’t available. But the feature barely functions. Not only does it require the music player to be attached to the console at all times (as opposed to actually transferring files), but this reviewer couldn’t get a single song from the iPod to work in Lips, even though the game was able to recognize them and add them to the track list.

Lips

$70 (with two microphones). Rated T.

Production: A Microsoft presentation of a game developed by iNiS for the Xbox 360.

More Scene

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content