Does anybody know what we are living for? It turns out, Freddie, that I’m living for a karaoke video game featuring most of your best songs ever. I could sit here and rattle off a review full of Queen puns but I’m not going to do that, instead I’m going to talk very seriously about this crazy little thing called Let’s Sing Queen, a karaoke spin-off of the hugely successful Let’s Sing series, focusing only on the music of Freddie and co. Is it guaranteed to blow your mind?
Before anything else, the most important aspect of a ‘karaoke’ game is the setlist and naturally this being a Queen game, the music on selection ranges is phenomenal. As a band they had very few misses, and developers Voxler have taken careful consideration into which of the classics you’ll want to be having such a good time with. Having a ball, so to speak. From the likes of the obvious choices (Rhapsody, Champions, We Will Rock You) to left-field tracks like Play The Game, Tie Your Mother Down and Play The Game, safe to say it’s a selection for the masses and the purists. Present and correct are the karaoke tracks that you’ve heard belted out in pubs at 1am up and down the country, and the game is fully aware those are the ones you’re going to want to be singing louder than any other. Queen knew their audience and Let’s Sing Queen doesn’t shy away from them. It’s a shame These Are The Days of Our Lives didn’t make the cut though, as it’s a personal favourite of mine. It’s hardly a complaint though considering what’s on offer, far and away the best setlist a Let’s Sing game has ever had.
But then that’s a thing, nobody can sing like Freddie Mercury. The man’s voice transcended logic and reason and singing along to his vocal range is very tough. The first song I tried was their spellbinding ballad Who Wants To Live Forever?, a song I thought would be an easy enough in before attempting Rhapsody or Somebody To Love. Of course, I was wrong. You forget those moments that Freddie defies what the rest of us can achieve with our vocal chords and instead kicks sand in the rest of our faces in the abject failure of our attempts to measure up to him. Still, the show must go on. I quickly ditched even attempting the more hardcore of the bands catalogue and instead fell into the Radio GaGa’s and Crazy Little Thing Called Love to rack up some points and get myself on the online leaderboards, if I ever felt like taking on the world someday.
Of course, there-in lies the problem with all karaoke video games from the dawn of time. Your performances are scored based on literally staying in key and keeping particular notes a little longer than others, which will rack up multipliers and have a drastic effect on your overall score. Your inclination is of course to belt these songs from the top of your lungs and pretend you’re Freddie damn Mercury. And that’s awesome, that’s exactly how karaoke games should be played. But. So long as you can keep the key, you can sing any song in baritone (like Barry White) and rack up exactly the same scores as you would if you’re losing your breath hitting Freddie’s high notes. There’s no inbetween, so your scores can get higher and higher and higher by putting in minimal effort to actually perform them. If you can sing in key you can get scores that more than represent your natural singing ability. As mentioned this isn’t just a problem in Let’s Sing Queen, but all karaoke games that want to appeal to the masses. You’ll never need to be a killer queen on the mic to rack up those high scores, just stay in key. I won’t stop you, now.
The standard set of additional Let’s Sing modes are present and correct, also. Mix Tape modes allows you to set up a playlist of songs once you’ve sung the once and build your own Queen show for the family to enjoy, along with online support and the aforementioned leaderboards (at the time of writing I’m fourth in the world at Somebody To Love, just sayin’). Of course there’s local multiplayer for the party nights and it works as wonderfully as you would expect it to and there’s the ‘Duet’ mode, if you want to go toe to toe with Freddie himself and see just how well you’d do. If you’re one of those vocalists who likes to belt it, it’s a fun mode purely because you’re given a chance to breathe every so often between Freddie’s notes. It’s also a staunt reminder that you’re not Freddie Mercury, no matter how hard you try.
You’re all set even if you don’t pick up the physical version with those fabled Let’s Sing microphones as you can sing directly into your mobile phone (or your tablet, if you’re weird) via the Let’s Sing app to play the game. This has been standard for years now, but it’s nice to see the tradition carry on and you’re not forced to buy even more of the bloody plastic mics just to play the game. Fortunately mobiles work just as well for picking up your voice and noticing little imperfections. You’re immediately covered then if you’re going for the digital version of the game and that’s a welcome choice.
From a technical standpoint Let’s Sing Queen is on point. It’s easy enough to navigate and each song includes its official video to sing along with, which is a nice touch. Your in-game avatars are rather bland, and ultimately rather pointless in the grand scheme of things, offering little other than a cosmetic to go next to your name on the leaderboards. Having them dressed in iconic Freddie costumes is a nice tough, but ultimately there’s little in the way of customisation.
Still, there’s an argument to be made that in terms of pure family fun this is perhaps the best version of Let’s Sing there’s been for some time. There’s no question the setlist is pure magic from beginning to end, the game works technically – even if you can still just mouth the words and rack up massive scores as long as you’re in key – and the multiplayer options remain at such a high standard it’s a certain addition to your indoor party evenings.
I guess you know the score. You’ve already looked, right?
Let’s Sing Queen offers a wonderful playlist with the series flourishes we’ve come to expect. It’s hardly a game-changer, but you can’t argue with the quality of the songs included. If you ever get the inclination to feel like a rocket ship on its way to Mars, you can’t go wrong here. Go make the rockin’ world go round.
Let’s Sing Queen is out now for Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro) and Nintendo Switch.
Publisher: Koch Media
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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