Lips inc

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 April, 2009, 12:00am

If you and your friends can't help but showboat at karaoke, then Microsoft's first entry into the music-game genre may get your party started with a bang.

Lips, created by Japanese game developer iNiS, is calling all shower singers, rush-hour traffic vocalists, wannabe rappers and pop princesses to groove to music backed by original videos, lyrics and scoring.

Published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360, the title has various gameplay modes.

Lips is the only music video game that comes with two wireless, motion-sensitive microphones. The sensors work in a similar way to those on the Guitar Hero controllers. The microphones can be used to perform gestures dictated by the game and for hand-claps and crowd noise.

Gameplay is simple; choose a song from the 40 that come with the game and sing along to the lyrics on screen. Once you have gained enough points, a bar meter called the Star Scream appears and will fill up. An icon then tells a player to tilt the microphone up or swing it in a certain way to activate a bonus-point multiplier.

The 'Kiss' mode sees duos who hit the notes and gestures in synch meet in the middle to share a kiss. On the 'Vocal Fighters' mode, singers go one on one to win the most fans and boot each other off the stage. The 'Co-op' mode is designed for songs that feature multiple vocalists.

In addition to the two microphones, the standard Xbox 360 controller can be used to play a variety of percussion accompaniments. If a person is singing solo, the spare microphone can be used as an instrument, such as a tambourine, simply by shaking and banging it.

Like the other games in its genre, Lips cannot tell if you are singing the correct words. It measures your performance with how well you sing in tune and in time.

The title offers a broad spectrum of genres, with such tracks as Mercy by Welsh songstress Duffy (pictured), Ring of Fire by country legend Johnny Cash, In Bloom by grunge rockers Nirvana, Duran Duran's new-wave hit Hungry Like The Wolf and Rihanna and Jay-Z's smash rap-pop collaboration, Umbrella.

If you get tired of the tracks on the disc, there are more than 50 others to download. These additional songs are pricey, however. James Whittle

Pros: Strong song list, fun gameplay and versatile wireless microphones.

Cons: Downloadable songs are expensive.