Let’s face it. Karaoke is fun and heaps of fun with friends and family. Thankfully, even in COVID times, it’s still a thing in 2020 and will likely live in well beyond 2020. It’s a pastime hobby for people around the world, particularly in Asian countries, where good and bad singers unite to sing songs and be merry over drinks and snacks. On the PlayStation, there are some competitors for the karaoke market from SingStar, Let’s Sing to WeSing. Out of the three mentioned, the only one still going strong is Let’s Sing, which recently released Let’s Sing 2021 in November 2020.
Recently, I have been thinking about this a lot, which karaoke game on the PlayStation is best? The answer may surprise you. I am comparing SingStar: Ultimate Party (released in 2014) with Let’s Sing 2020 (released in 2019). The rounds will be out of three are visual presentation; song selection; and features.
You may be thinking there are heaps of ‘free’ options out there and better options to consider. But I want to limit my review to just the PlayStation console.
SingStar being a first party game on the PlayStation takes advantage of the system really well. The lyrics on the screen are easy to read even when there are two players battling it out against each other. In a two player setting, the screen is split in half and the lyrics appear in one easy to follow line underneath the pitch bars. In the background, you can watch the actual music video of the song, whether it be Lego House by Ed Sheeran or Counting Stars by One Direction. The video doesn’t distract you from the singing. I think the lighter color palettes on the screen make it look more simpler and cleaner.
Let’s Sing 2020 on the other hand also has the music video playing in the background, but with more modern and vibrant visuals. The color palette is much darker than the ones used in SingStar. Unfortunately, for some reason, the screen looks overwhelming with some odd and not so useful things like cartoon avatars on screen. In a two player set-up, the lyrics appear at both the very bottom of the screen and also immediately underneath the pitch bars. I find it can be hard to follow the lyrics directly under the pitch bars, since you need to follow the lyrics up and down the pitch bars. I prefer SingStar’s one easy to follow line underneath the pitch bars.
While Let’s Sing has more vibrant visuals, I think SingStar simple and clean game screen takes the crown here. It’s a less crowded screen and only the essentials appear, such as the scores and whether you are matching the song’s pitch. Singstar 1 | Let’s Sing 0
While there are songs available as downloadable content, let’s compare the song list that comes on the disc of both games:
SingStar: Ultimate Party
- 5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
- Avicii – Hey Brother
- Bridgit Mendler – Ready Or Not
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
- Clean Bandit Feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
- Coldplay – Magic
- Demi Lovato – Let It Go
- Disclosure Feat. AlunaGeorge – White Noise
- Ed Sheeran – Lego House
- Ellie Goulding – Burn
- Icona Pop Feat. Charli XCX – I Love It
- John Newman – Love Me Again
- Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
- Lady Gaga – Born This Way
- Lionel Richie – Hello
- Lorde – Royals
- Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith – La La La
- Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
- One Direction – Best Song Ever
- One Republic – Counting Stars
- P!nk Feat. Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason
- Paramore – Still Into You
- Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This?
- Pharrell Williams – Happy
- Plan B – She Said
- Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
- Swedish House Mafia Feat. John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child
- The Lumineers – Ho Hey
- TLC – No Scrubs
- Train – Drive By
Let’s Sing 2020
- Ava Max – Sweet but Psycho
- Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – One Kiss
- Marshmello & Anne-Marie – FRIENDS
- Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
- Rudimental ft. Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen – These Days
- Robin Schulz ft. Erika Sirola – Speechless
- Jonas Blue ft. Jack & Jack – Rise
- Dean Lewis – Be Alright
- Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
- George Ezra – Shotgun
- Imagine Dragons – Natural
- Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
- Lukas Graham – Love Someone
- Bruno Mars – That’s What I Like
- Selena Gomez x Marshmello – Wolves
- Tom Walker – Leave a Light On
- Jonas Blue ft. William Singe – Mama
- Alice Merton – No Roots
- James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
- Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
- Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa – No Lie
- Shawn Mendes – Stitches
- OneRepublic – Counting Stars
- Nelly Furtado – Maneater
- Linkin Park – Numb
- Robbie Williams – Angels
- Spice Girls – Wannabe
- Queen – The Show Must Go On
- Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name
- Ofenbach ft. Nick Waterhouse – Katchi
It is a personal choice when it comes down to which list is better. Though we are talking 5 years difference between the games, I think the song list for Let’s Sing 2020 has more songs I am interested in singing and has more all-rounder songs for the various generations. You can karaoke with young and old and people are bound to be happy with at least one or two songs.
Although SingStar had a huge catalogue of songs in its online library, this feature has been permanently disabled since January 2019 (which is a real shame). If you are like me, you had to download your songs onto your PlayStation console’s hard drive. Unfortunately, if you delete the songs on the hard drive, they will be permanently lost forever. Whereas Let’s Sing 2020 has a much smaller catalogue of songs that are available as downloadable content, however the game is still being supported. Unfortunately, both game’s downloadable content are expensive, I mean AUD$3.99 for one song on SingStar was a lot or AUD$7.55 for a bundle of songs on Let’s Sing isn’t great.
For example, in Let’s Sing’s Best of 90’s Vol. 1 Song Pack! includes the following songs for AUD$7.55:
- The Cure – “Friday I’m In Love”
- Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”
- All Saints – “Never Ever”
- Aqua – “Barbie Girl”
- Alanis Morissette – “Ironic”
The thing with Let’s Sing is that these downloadable content song packs haven’t changed for a long time, but if you buy the next iteration of Let’s Sing, these song packs are added to that game’s library, i.e. if you buy a song pack for Let’s Sing 2020, it will be added to the game library for Let’s Sing 2021.
I think the winner for this round, only because the songs are quite limited for SingStar, is Let’s Sing 2020. It would be completely different if SingStar’s online library was still functional. There were some incredible hits in that library. Singstar 1 | Let’s Sing 1
SingStar uses most of the PlayStation’s features if you have the PlayStation camera. Your sessions are recorded and when the online features were available, you could even upload your songs to the vast SingStar community. There were some real good singers and equally, some funny shockers in the SingStar community. You could save either a highlight of the video or the whole session. It was a good way to catalogue your singing journey.
SingStar has some nice modes to choose from as well, including Duet and Battle modes. Duet meant two players sing, but with their own set of lyrics, while Battle meant that each player sang from the song lyrics. There was even a short or long mode option. So you could just play a shorter version of the song, usually up to the second set of lyrics before the session ends. This was a great way to get more songs into a session and usually these ‘short’ sessions played the best parts of the song (rather than drag the song on).
Let’s Sing 2020 on the other hand has similar modes to SingStar including Duet and Battle modes, but it has a feature called MixTapes, which plays a snippet of five songs. These songs would play consecutively, one after each other, but you can’t choose what section of the song is played. Sometimes I found myself stumbling into a song and not being able to follow the lyrics because there is no lead time (even when I knew the song). A lot of practice is needed to get the hang of the MixTapes mode. I know there are customizable options for this mode, but I haven’t had the chance to truly delve into it. Other than MixTapes, I felt that there was a lack of unique features on Let’s Sing 2020.
Overall, I felt that SingStar’s use of the PlayStation camera, the ability to record/replay sessions and ability to play “short” versions of songs pushed it ahead of Let’s Sing 2020. So Singstar 2 | Let’s Sing 1
SingStar is the winner between SingStar: Ultimate Party and Let’s Sing 2020. SingStar had a nicer visual presentation for its game screen and just had the essentials, including easier to follow on-screen lyrics, and had a lot of really nice features using the PlayStation camera. Let’s Sing 2020 is definitely good as it has a better song list and is still being supported. I hope it does add a host of features that make it more attractive than SingStar one day.
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