30th March 2011 - Sony’s hit karaoke franchise Singstar branches out to two spin off titles, Singstar Guitar and Singstar Dance on the Playstation 3. Released last year whilst its cousin Singstar Dance brings a unique gameplay mode (most probably to compete against Microsofts’ Kinect game Dance Central) Singstar Guitar brings to the Singstar world the joys of plastic guitars wailing whilst you are trying to sing your favourite song.
To play the guitar portion of Singstar Guitar requires you to provide a Sony licensed guitar peripheral controller. This would typically come from any of the Guitar Hero or Rock Band series of plastic instruments but do note that the game does not come with a guitar bundle on its own. The core gameplay of the Singstar series is essentially a glorified karaoke experience. Each song has its licensed music video playing in the background and in the foreground is your pitch highway giving you an indication of the pitch of the music whilst the lyrics in typical karaoke style get highlighted as the music progresses.
The guitar part mimics a similar UI to that of the guitar hero or rock band series with five different coloured gems falling down the note highway for you to strum in time. There are 30 included tracks on disc with a further 40+ more downloadable tracks available. These tracks can also be played vocal only so might be a cheap addition to your singstar library if you already have previous Singstar games.
Whilst I won’t cover the core Singstar gameplay (essentially you get a microphone, sing the song and hope your score beats other peoples) the guitar add-on really feels like a cheap add-on by Sony. At its heart it’s a pure score attack mode, there aren’t any “star power” type gimmicks to help boost your score multiplier or save you from failing and there is only three difficulty levels. Singstar Guitar’s “Hard” mode is probably at the “hard” level from Guitar Hero and Rock Band series. There are more triple chord notations but other than that its basic strumming, lots of chord sections so fans from other music games shouldn’t really be stretched technically taxed here.
Graphically it is just the same old Singstar UI, the guitar note highway is of a bland monotone colour with simple coloured gems falling to the bottom. The backgrounds are the official music videos but everything looks decidedly Singstar.
Singstar sticks to its karaoke roots with the official music video tracks playing in the background. Failing to hit the correct notes drops out the guitar portion of the song as expected. Use of the whammy bar is supported to bend sustained notes up and down during a song but other than that, nothing special to write home about.
Singstar Guitar has a RRP in Australia of roughly $48-50 AUD at the moment. Given that add-on DLC costs roughly $3+ AUD per song (you need to buy the Singstar version first then you purchase the Guitar track add-on), $50 AUD for thirty additional songs with Guitar tracks comes roughly $1.66 AUD, which isn’t that bad if you want to pad out your Singstar library.
As a standalone game, given that you probably already have a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game (else how would you have a plastic guitar?) the value for money just isn’t there. This would be a good way to get sucked into the world of Singstar and for those shy about singing, at least you can be part of the fun now and play your guitar whilst everyone else sings. It is a passable if basic guitar playing experience but its competitors beat it out of the water.
I can only recommend this to existing Singstar fans who just want the additional songs on this disc or those with Singstar mad friends. The guitar music experience is basic and mediocre at best so those coming from the Guitar Hero or Rock Band franchises will probably be disappointed. Unless you really like the song list on this disc I would give this a pass.
AAG SCORE: 5/10
+ Cheaper than buying tracks from the Singstar online shop
+ Still has the great Singstar karaoke gameplay
- Really simple guitar note charting
- Lacks guitar gameplay elements like other guitar music games (rifts, hammer on power offs etc.)
- Guitar is more of an add on than a fully fleshed
Reviewed and Written By Danny Yee