Disney Sing It: Party Hits
From: Disney Interactive
For: PlayStation 3, Wii
Genre: Family, Music, Party
ESRB Rating: Everyone (6+)
Disney Sing It: Party Hits
Disney is a company that seems to have its fingers in a surprising number of pies at any given time. Thanks to the Disney Channel and its never-ending string of teeny bopper hits, one of the bigger pies in Disney's recipe book has been the mass production of family-friendly pop stars.
So it follows that Disney Interactive cooks up an old offering with a dash of new ingredients each fall featuring the latest and greatest in Disney's bubblegum pop catalogue.
The sixth entry in Disney's popular Sing It! series, Disney Sing It: Party Hits continues the formula established in previous games while adding in a few new touches, making this a strong contender for game of the year in the eyes of 11 year old girls everywhere.
The basics of the game will be familiar to anyone who has busted a note or two in other music games like Rock Band or Singstar. The words will appear on the screen alongside a pitch indicator, and players will attempt to sing the right words at the right pitch and cadence to attain a high score. The better they sing, the more points they'll earn.
With the exception of a karaoke mode which lets you turn the original performer's voice track on and off and just sing along, there's very little in the core gameplay that sets itself apart from any of the other singing games on the market.
After each song, players can choose to review their performance by watching the music video again with their audio added into the mix. This encore mode will even let you tweak the recording, adding effects that make it sound as though you're singing over the telephone or live at a concert. There's even a squeaky effect that makes living room pop stars sound like the newest member of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
But karaoke is always more fun with friends, and Disney Interactive seems to have embraced this fact, offering a surprisingly robust party mode that's a snap to jump into. Supporting up to 8 players, friends can sing duets, pass the mic, and even break up into teams for head-to-head competitions.
What really sets Party Hits apart from other karaoke games, however, is the inclusion of a vocal coach. With a combination of video tutorials and interactive practice segments, current pop sensation and Camp Rock alumnus Demi Lovato will offer players a crash course in how to sing. It may not be a substitute for a real vocal coach, but that doesn't make it any less marvelous. Whether you're looking to improve your chops before inviting some friends over for party mode, or want to encourage a young superstar to explore her voice a little more seriously, Demi's instructions provide a great starting point.
No game is without its flaws however, and in the case of Disney Sing It: Party Hits, its biggest flaw is also its greatest strength; limited appeal.
Bundled with or without a microphone (a $10 price difference), the Disney Sing It series is aimed squarely at the 8-11 year old tween girl demographic, consequently offering a musical selection that would make most adults cringe. Featuring 30 songs on the Party Hits disc, players will sing along to the likes of Justin Bieber, The Jonas Brothers, and Selena Gomez. The few names that adults would recognize, like Kelly Clarkson and Owl City, all offer the same soft rock sensibilities as the younger Disney-branded stars in the game.
With the exception of the Black Eyed Peas and Paramore, there's not an artist on this disc that wouldn't send any self-respecting music fan running for the hills. Disney Sing It: Party Hits is filled with the sort of music you might hear sitting in a doctor's office waiting room. It's a far cry from the universally appreciated music found in competing franchises like Singstar and Lips.
That's not to say this is a bad package. In fact it's quite the contrary. In a world where companies are all too eager to cater to the widest audience possible, Disney Interactive has zeroed in on a very specific demographic and delivered them everything they could want in a karaoke game.
If you're a 10 year old girl at a sleepover, Disney Sing It: Party Hits may just be the most fun you'll have singing the hits of today. It certainly beats singing into a hairbrush.