I was probably one of very few grown men who was excited by the announcement of Ubisoft’s Just Sing. It was just over 10 years ago when I was in my teens and SingStar was the coolest thing at every party. It would release year-after-year, bringing the hottest hits, without adding much to the formula and that was OK as it was a rock-solid experience that was strangely accurate for its time.
Unfortunately, like the more recent SingStar Ultimate Party on PS4, Just Sing is quite a confused game, making use of smartphone technology which adds to the experience in some ways, but lets it down quite significantly in reliability and ability to actually detect and transmit voice, which is definitely the core of the game.Those who have played SingStar know that the game primarily uses pitch as well as timing to score you. Unfortunately, with Just Sing, the game seemingly doesn’t seem to be interpreting or judging you on pitch at all. It appears that the game is only detecting sound along with correct timing to score you. I went through an entire song just blowing into my microphone and managed to score a perfect rate of over 90% and 5 stars. There was absolutely no punishment for blowing into my mic at times when there were no lyrics being sung, and obviously pitch being out of whack.
I know that this is a game that is aimed at younger people, and it’s probably a great stocking stuffer, but it’s clear that little love and care has been put into this title, which is incredibly sad, as it doesn’t hold a candle to Ubisoft’s beloved Just Dance, which for all its judgement, is actually quite a well-polished title.
The UI is incredibly barebones, which I actually don’t mind as it’s clear that you want to select your song and get singing. There are two modes available for play. Party essentially allows you to just sing your heart out, whilst battle allows you to go head-to-head with a friend. The game features more than 45 songs on disc, and it’s actually an incredibly good selection with a mix of newer songs and older classics. There’s also a store available with over 1000 songs to purchase.I was using an iPhone 6 Plus to play the game, and syncing my phone was a lot easier than expected. I just had to download a free companion app, have it open with the game running and it would seamlessly activate. This is probably the best and worst part of Just Sing. Your smartphone will act as both the microphone and camera. The game does a good job of using your smartphone for both functions separately, but once you move the phone away from your phone, so that your camera can actually pick up your face, the audio quality obviously deteriorates quite a lot, so I’d actually recommend turning the camera off, which takes away from being able to use your smartphone.
I’d like to commend the developers for making your smartphone available as the primary controller. Once you’ve connected your phone, you can pretty much completely control the UI without ever needing to touch the controller again. This makes the game completely accessible to casual gamers, and I do think that this aspect will pull quite a lot of people in. There are ton of effects that you can overlay onto your live music video, all which work quite well.
I really don’t know what to make of Just Sing. Having casually played Just Dance over the years, I was really excited to see what Ubisoft could do with a singing game, but I was ultimately left with a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. It’s an accessible and functional title, and I’m sure that a lot of people could have a good time with it, but it really doesn’t sit well with me that a title that released 12 years ago is a much more accurate Karaoke experience and quite frankly, more fun. If you need to purchase something for a casual gamer who is already into Just Dance, I’d probably recommend Just Sing.
The PS4 version of this game was primarily tested for the review.