Lips

Common Sense Media says

Middling karaoke game lets users import their own music.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game is designed for party play. It features several competitive and co-operative modes.

Violence

One of the custom videos that plays during hard rock and heavy metal songs depicts cartoonish characters doing battle with swords and shields, but their movements are more graceful than vicious, and no blood is shown.

Sex

Some of the videos feature women in revealing outfits that show cleavage and plenty of skin, and these women are often moving and grinding in a sexually suggestive manner. The object of one of the party games is to make a virtual man and woman approach each other and kiss.

Language

There isn't much to worry about in the 40 included songs (we caught one instance of "god damn"), but players can load up and sing along to almost any song in their collection, including those with profanity.

Consumerism

The combination of popular music and authentic videos makes the game seem, at times, to be an advertisement for its featured artists. Plus, there is a cross-promotional campaign meant to lure players to join the PC-based Marketplace for Microsoft's Zune MP3 players.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some of the music videos show people smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is a sing-along party game featuring 40 well-known songs from popular artists. It isn't meant for kids; the packaging, music, and design make it clear the game was intended for an audience of teens or older players. Original and custom music videos -- some of which feature smoking and scantily clad women -- are shown during the game. Included songs are pretty clean, but users can also import their own music.

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What's it about?

LIPS, a new karaoke game from Microsoft, is meant to be pulled out when friends come over. Consequently, it doesn't really have any sort of story or campaign mode. Players simply pick individual songs or create a set list and start singing. They can also set up a jukebox mode in which the game plays a selection of tracks and allows players to jump into a song by picking up one of the two included wireless mics.
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That said, there are a few video game-y elements. Performances are scored, which adds an element of competition if two players are singing at the same time. Plus, there is a variety of game modes, including one in which players have to sing well together to make an on-screen couple kiss, and another that sees players taking turns in a crooning duel.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As singing games go, Lips is average. Most of the tracks that come with the game are well known, but there are just 40 of them, which seems a paltry number relative to other music games that offer more than twice as many. You can access 250 more tracks through Marketplace, the online store associated with Microsoft's Zune media player, but it requires several steps and seems like a lame marketing gimmick meant to get players to sign up for a new music service. The much-hyped ability to use most of your own digital music files is a letdown, too; unlike official Lips tracks, lyrics aren't displayed, they lack original band videos, and scoring seems random.

The biggest problem, though, is the price. Its $70 tag makes Lips more expensive than many of this holiday's most popular games, which will be a turn off for the casual gamers which Microsoft is hoping to attract. A pair of quality wireless mics decorated with lights and equipped with motion sensors help sweeten the deal, but, unfortunately, they don't work with other music games like Rock Band, which means they're just two more mics to sit along side all the others in your game closet.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about profanity in modern music. It wasn't until the last couple of decades that many mainstream musicians began including excessive swearing in their songs. Do you think profanity can enhance the music? Does it have poetic purpose? Can it be taken too far? If you sing along with songs that feature dirty language in public, are you mindful of who may be listening and could be offended by the lyrics?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Price:$69.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Microsoft
Release date:November 18, 2008
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:T for Lyrics, Mild Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco (Xbox 360)

This review of Lips was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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