In the interests of full disclosure, this review is written by someone who has little love for SingStar: Sony’s Digital Rights Management, or DRM, for the SingStar titles is the most restrictive on the planet. Once you’ve bought a song, you’re just getting that song for that PS3. In other words, you can’t download it again to a new PS3, even if you’re willing to pay for it again. You’re not allowed!
This is, in fact, relevant to the review: It’s symptomatic of the overall thoughtlessness of SingStar; complex where simplicity is required, overly simplified where complexity and/or depth is needed.
Take the title: SingStar Dance. It’s used to refer to two things. Firstly, it’s the always optional act of using PlayStation Move to have a second player dance along with player one’s singing. The moves required are superimposed on the righthand side of the screen, whereas songs that allow this mode have an icon for that, shown in much the same way as the icons for duets or guitars.
The other meaning of SingStar Dance is the standard boxed game with a Blu-ray disc inside, stamped “SingStar Dance”. It’s this we’re here to review and all its major selling point is that all its songs have the dance icon mentioned above. So, is it a suitable eclectic mix or too specific for its own good? Happily, it’s the former, since the songs were chosen for their dance routines rather than their genre. This means we’ve got Run DMC, Shaggy, The Jackson 5, MC Hammer, Lady Gaga, Blondie, Black Eyed Peas and *N Sync making unlikely dance partners (full track list here).
So the track list is pretty good. What else is good? The menu design is as clean as ever, wooshing and gliding as nicely as previous versions. However, despite a good number of songs on the SingStore, the awful genre categorisation and needlessly convoluted searching spoils the mood somewhat.
There is another problem: Anyone who buys a PS3 today with dancing and SingStar in mind doesn’t have any way to charge and play, due to the questionable reductionism of latter-day consoles; only two USB ports. One for the camera, one for the mics and… No more.
It has to be said though, that it still goes about the business of being a karaoke game quite competently; a decent mixture of songs, the dancing works fairly well and the online community is as good for a laugh as ever. So if you want to sing and/or dance along to a good number of the tracks, then SingStar Dance is worth considering.