PlayLink wrapped up October in a big way as Sony released three games that are compatible with its new initiative that has players controlling games with their mobile device. While Knowledge is Power and Hidden Agenda were original ideas, SingStar Celebration is just a rebranded release of SingStar on PS4. That being said, it does show off the versatility of mobile phones quite well.
Rather than using a PS4-compatible microphone, players can live out their karaoke dreams by downloading the SingStar Microphone app. Unlike every other PlayLink app so far, the SingStar app must be downloaded on a mobile phone and not a tablet. That makes some sense, as it would be a bit awkward having to sing into an iPad, but it does limit the amount of devices that can be use. Limitations aside, the app works really well.
Having played SingStar Celebration with both a USB microphone and my phone, I didn’t see any difference in quality. Both picked up my voice well, and it accurately displayed my pitch on-screen. There’s one big advantage to using the app, though, and that’s when it comes to creating a playlist. Making a 10-song playlist is a real hassle using a DualShock 4 controller, but using my phone’s touchscreen I was able to do it within a fraction of the time.
A key to a karaoke game is the soundtrack, and SingStar Celebration features 30 songs in total. While they’re definitely not the jams that I would’ve picked if I could cherrypick tunes from the SingStar store, Sony has done a really great job of picking a wide variety of music. There’s a lot of great songs that are perfect fits for karaoke (like Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again“) that I would’ve never bought with my own money, but will gladly belt out when given the chance.
The track list is primarily rock and pop focused with songs like “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and Oasis’ “Wonderwall” being two of the standouts. While there are a lot of songs that are of the throwback flavor (like “Dancing Queen”) there are plenty of modern hits like Calvin Harris’ “How Deep Is your Love” and there’s even a One Direction song to cry over (why did you leave, Zayn!?) when you’ve had a bit few too many drinks. Overall, there’s something for everyone out of the 30 songs.
Since Celebration is ostensibly a repackaging of vanilla SingStar that means that all of the songs that players have purchased on the SingStore will work here. There’s over 700 songs to download, although disappointingly, zero of them are from Kesha. That being said, if you’re willing to pay some extra money then you’ll find something that’s up your alley in the vast offerings.
One of the bonuses of being able to use phones as a microphone is that it’s really easy to enjoy the game’s multiplayer modes. These are a lot of fun, and one of my favorites was the medley challenge, which has players facing off to see who can sing the chorus of five random songs better. While many of the modes are competitive, players can also just choose to have a good time singing tunes with their friends. It doesn’t get much better than that.
My favorite part of SingStar has always been the community features. While that scene isn’t as active as it was in its PS3 heyday (it’s quite telling that the highest rated videos are all from several years ago), it’s still a lot of fun to watch the automatically recorded clips (as long as you have a PlayStation Camera hooked up) that the game will take. I got many laughs watching both the good and bad performances. It just goes to show that karaoke is always beautiful.
SingStar Celebration doesn’t change the face of the karaoke genre, but it’s one hell of a way to jumpstart a party. The 30 songs on offer are a blast to sing along with friends to, and it’s a solid value as long as they don’t clash with your existing SingStar DLC library. It’s a perfect example of the types of social games that can thrive under the PlayLink banner.
SingStar Celebration review code provided by publisher. Reviewed Version 1.01 on PlayStation 4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.