SingOn’s out on PSN. It’s free to download with ten songs. You then pay up to get access to the whole SingOn library, You can pay for the night, (3 hours) a weekend (48 hours) or a year, during which time you’ll have unlimited access to an ever-growing list of SingOn cover songs. They’re claiming thousands on the site but by our last count there’s 539 songs to choose from.
In true Karaoke style there’s some cheap and cheerful renditions of pop songs to sing along to performed by session players. The quality of recordings gets a bit clipped and tinny and some of the vocals veer off-note, but you can turn off the main vocal when you sing if you want. Listening to the singing is entertaining at points, I particularly admire the guy bravely having a crack at Michael Jackson he gives it a lot of guts!
There’s no Karaoke bouncing ball with SingOn, the vocal map merges the words with the pitch cues which dance up and down the screen. This works well, you keep up with the songs Technically things are undercooked, the mics can lag out and the pitching is very loose. The reverb on the vocal is heavy and dull and can sometimes drown things. The two vocal effects you get, ‘tune’ and ‘robot’, a bad autotune and an equally bad digital vocoder both struggle to respond to the vocal and can go from nothing to distorted without warning.
This isn’t just Karaoke, you’re getting a score for your performance gathering stars Rock Band style, although there is no apparent reason for this. Your scores aren’t stored, there’s no leaderboard, no trophies and no two player dueling. You’ll have to remember your score if you want to be the champ and if anyone wants to challenge you it means passing the mic and singing the song again, or keeping a score book for next time. Or are we supposed to just win by scoring on any song? Some songs are easier than others, this is unbalanced at best, pointless at worst.
Still for as little as £3 you get quick access to loads of songs that would take ages for you to collect and have some casual Karaoke party action, although the whole experience smacks of those awkward entertainment bits you see on Come Dine With Me, the over-zealous host wheels on the Karaoke box and the guests sheepishly take turns.
SingOn feels a bit dry and impersonal, you build your song collections to your taste in games like Sing Star and Rock Band and yes you may end up spending out more than you would on SingOn, but you’ll have the songs you and your mates all like to play and bust out for party gaming. Both these games also give you more cool stuff for people at the party to get involved in: Make silly videos, sing duets, dance, play instruments and get a high-score that means something.
I can see Sing games fans paying to play SingOn though, it’s quick and cheap and hassle free and will tempt with songs they might not have. You can also link the game up to a mobile/tablet to cue up songs in the playlist for the techy show-offs, the app you need is out for Apple devices now with an Android version to come.
Karaoke fans of course are going to love SingOn there’s a big catalogue of songs you can play through your home set-up. A good Karaoke system should support more than one mic however and adding multiplayer functionality would give more of a point to the redundant scoring system.
SingOn works well in the having fun singing along to general-MIDI-sounding synth accompaniment sense, it doesn’t have to be about quality or competition this is Karaoke! It’s baffling why SingOn should want to add scoring for this reason. As a game it’s very underwhelming.