Microsoft has sat on the side lines long enough as other companies have cashed in on music based gaming.  Music equals money which is exactly why Microsoft has jumped into the "karaoke revolution”. More than a simple clone of the competition, Lips brings in some new features that give all hopeful sing stars another option in the long list of music/karaoke games.

Lips has shown up to the karaoke party a little late. Debuting fashionably later than expected, Microsoft's Lips has finally arrived, and they are bringing the party with them. It is years after the karaoke revolution has already been around the world a few times, so their work on Lips is up for heavy criticism and high hopes. Featuring two of the most sparkling microphones you will ever see and some advanced tinkering; Lips want you to feel like a star. Without boring you with our philosophies of which singing game is the best, we will only focus on what Lips does best, and that is bring the music.

Microsoft has contracted iNiS
(Elite Beat Agents) to create their musical karaoke masterpiece. iNiS decided to take Lips down a more casual route rather than aim for the professional demographic, or hardcore gamer. Lips is easy going without being too hard on the player. The stigma of being a singing superstar goes away once you fire up Lips. Even the worst singers have a chance to rack up some points and feel good with the generous point system attached to Lips. There are no judges, no You Tube like rating system, Lips is only here for some fun, and maybe a few achievement points.

Lips is a good solution for a night of fun. This plug-and-play version of karaoke doesn't offer much of game in the traditional sense, but does that mater? Only if you are looking for some type of progression will you be out of luck. There is no Guitar Hero play lists, no extra difficulty levels, really no incentive to play the game without friends. Lips can be enjoyed on a solo level, but it is an experience that will likely be short lived. Lips is best enjoyed in groups. When two or more players get together you can really strike a tune, against, or with the other players. Once competition sets in, the next thing you know you will be having a blast belting out some tunes, in and out of key without a worry, or a care.

Lips has a few interesting modes which spices it up from its normal video format. The Vocal Fighters mode pits two cartoon images battling it out while you sing against a friend. The winner delivers a knock out punch that is sure to put a smile on winners face. On the other side of the spectrum Silhouette provides a romance with two silhouettes setting up to lock lips, and finally Time Bomb has you filling up a virtual glass of water to be dumped on a lit fuse of a bomb. This works via the motion sensors built into the microphones, so you will need a little bit of strategy to be able to sing and dump the water at the appropriate times. Time Bomb is extremely fun with songs that have a lot of lyrics. The pace can really get out of hand which boils up into a nice frenzy of fun. These modes might be a little gimmicky, but that is alright. If you are looking for the straight ahead approach, Lips can do that as well.

Navigating through Lips is easy to do with its clean cut, simplified interface. You will have no problem searching through 40 songs that come complete with lyrics and videos in Lips.  The songs selection crosses a good variety of genres including everything from classic funk and R&B all the way up to the popular artists on the charts, even including country! A few of the artists featured include Avril Lavigne, Alicia Keys, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, Queen, Maroon 5, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, The Police, Weezer and more. The track listings like any game will start to wear on you over time. For the first little bit the variety is good enough, however you’ll probably want to hop online and snag a few extra tracks. At the moment things are slow, but look for more support in the months to come. Currently music tracks will cost 160 MS points per song.

If you don’t want to wait until a song becomes available on Lips you can add your own music. Simply hook up a Microsoft supported external media device to the USB port and you will have access to your own personal music. Music tracks are quickly located and can be played off the music device, or imported onto your Xbox 360 Hard Drive. Unfortunately, all of the tracks you import won’t have any lyrics or pitch guide like the normal songs. This gives you the basic ability to Freestyle along with your own music; however the whole experience is a little shallow. Important songs is a tough subject to handle in music games at the moment because no one wants to miss out on a slice of the money pie. For now this is best we got, so its exceptable.

The microphones supplied with Lips are the best mics designed for a game. The two glowing microphones that come supplied with Lips are outstanding. Both mics are wireless and match up with your Xbox 360 with a click of a button. They are battery powered by two AA batteries and seem to have a good battery life. The mics light up during each song and also have motion sensors built inside of them. This is used in coalition with Lips when you are prompted to make arm gestures. This brings the Rockstar into Lips making you move like a star and feel a little glamorous while rocking out. Singing Nirvana through these mics might feel a little silly, but the intention is there, and we have no complaints giving a little grunge some love with a black glowing microphone.

Scoring adds up while you are singing a song with the ability to grab multipliers and rock up your score. Lips light hearted approach lets everyone feel like a star. You can’t loose, and the points come easy, even if you are out of tune. At the end of a song you will receive a ranking which helps boost your ego when it blasts out in the cosmos. The ease of scoring and light approach to vocal coaching makes for a fun experience; however it is also Lips downfall. Microsoft should have opted for a few more options for those looking for a more challenging go. Adding a difficulty slider would make a world of difference in bringing in a wider audience. Lips also boasts a social networking section of the game which is almost laughable. There isn’t much here besides a bunch of charts to look at, and your scores. The community functions are a missed opportunity given the connectivity of the Xbox Live Network. It seems Lips is a little too locked lipped for its own good, as it misses out on a whole boat load of potential.

Microsoft has a lot to offer to the casual gamer this holiday season with their new edition of Scene It? You’re In the Movies, and now Lips. Lips is geared towards a group setting rather than a single player experience. The glowing microphones with their built in motion sensors add a new level of interactivity to karaoke that will make you feel like a budding star. Sure, Lips has its drawbacks, but when it comes down to it, Lips is a entertaining package that excels at providing a fun karaoke experience that can be enjoyed by all.

Gameplay:7.5, Graphics:8, Sound:8, Innovation:7, Mojo:7.5 Final: 7.6 / 10

Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 12.08.08
  • Awesome wireless microphones
  • Not to harsh, good for new users
  • Simple and clean presentation
  • Original game modes
  • Ability to import music tracks
  • No add-ons with the imported music
  • Music library is a fairly empty
  • No playback feature
  • Social features are weak





US Release
November '08



1-6 Players
Dolby 5.1
D/L Content