A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game requires players to sing and rap along to tunes from the 1990s using special Singstar microphones (regular USB mics aren't compatible). Some of the songs feature sexually explicit lyrics, including Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up," the Divinyls "I Touch Myself," and Sir Mix A lot's "Baby Got Back." There are also occasional references to drinking alcohol in the lyrics. Players can upload their photo to an online scoreboard, and view other players' photos.
What's it about?
SINGSTAR '90s is the latest in a growing stable of karaoke-style party games designed to offer players of all skill levels a chance to experience the joy of singing in a relatively low-stress environment. This particular iteration of the Singstar series offers 30 tunes and six medleys from the 1990s, from artists as varied as Nirvana, Sir Mix A Lot, The Cranberries, Stone Temple Pilots, New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul, Seal and R.E.M.
In solo mode, players choose songs to sing along to and are awarded points based on how accurately they're able to match the pitch and rhythm by following indicator bars that scroll across the screen. With rap songs, like MC Hammer's \"U Can't Touch This,\" the game measures rhythm and lyrical accuracy. In party mode, two or more players can battle for the highest score, sing cooperative duets, or play \"pass the mic\" challenges like First to the Post (first to earn 5000 points wins) or Keep It Up (keep the score marker above a certain point or the song ends). The third mode, Freestyle, is a fun mode with no score-keeping. Using the EyeToy camera peripheral, players can take their pictures and upload them along with their high scores, or they can film themselves singing to make a \"music video\" that replaces the game's graphics while the song is playing.
Is it any good?
Singstar '90s uses proprietary color-coded microphones that come bundled with the game for $49.99. If you buy the game alone for $29.99, be aware that general USB microphones from other games won't work, which is a shame (although mics from other Singstar games will). The game's graphics are pretty sparse, and some progressive challenges for solo mode -- like a Career mode -- might have been nice. Lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen instead of scrolling along with the rhythm and pitch indicators, making them harder to follow along. Still, if it's straight karaoke singing you're after, Singstar '90s does what it was designed to do. It's guaranteed to be a hit at parties, and it offers a good cross-section of songs from an eclectic musical decade.<