When it comes to the karaoke genre, Let’s Sing has become the leading franchise in terms of annual releases with a good set of modern features and a strong tracklist. How does the 2021 edition move the series forward?
Now that Singstar is more of an online platform you can buy individual songs for, Let’s Sing is really the only major franchise that’s releasing annual karaoke/party games in its genre – and this year we actually got two, with the excellent Queen version that came out a few weeks ago. And who knows, maybe we’ll see a bit of a resurgence for the genre now that Twitch is coming down harder on people with DMCA notices and pulling the plug on Twitch Sings.
Let’s Sign 2021 builds on last year’s game with its interface and feature set, with all of the familiar modes returning for another edition. You can dive straight into a song with one to four players, you can do duets and engage in the Mixtape and Let’s Party modes if you have a bunch of people around to play with. Mixtape is better after you’ve developed a familiarity with the tracklist because it mixes snippets from random songs together, and Let’s Party is the mode you’ll want to play when we no longer need to socially distance, as it divides a group up into teams and needs a good number of players to be enjoyable.
In addition to the modes that are returning, there is also a brand new Legend mode, which is the franchise’s take on a career mode and mimics what countless of those TV talent shows have been doing. You go up against AI avatars and progress through your career, facing big finales that serve as boss battles along the way. Although there’s been a (horrible) American Idol game, I’m surprised that other karaoke games haven’t gone this route before – it’s a fun mode with some traditional videogame-like mechanics, even though you’ll eventually be spending your time in the previously available modes with other people.
Whether or not existing players will buy this new edition will probably depend on their like for the tracklist, which (as per norm) mostly features hit songs from the past five to ten years – most of them on the more recent end of the spectrum. There are 30 songs in total, and only about a handful are older classics. These include Genesis’ “I Can’t Dance”, Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” and Kim Wilde’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”. There’s also the catchy “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King movie, and KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”, if you’re not into today’s hits or just not familiar with them yet.
Modern tracks include hit songs by Ariana Grande (“Thank U, Next”), Billie Eilish (“Bad Guy”), Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, so the roster of new songs is once again extremely impressive even if the older ones are – at least to me – surprising choices. You can expand the tracklist with DLC purchases, and I remember from last year that my earlier DLC carried over to the new version as well, something I haven’t been able to verify with 2021 yet.
Let’s Sing 2021 supports a range of input devices, and works great with a dedicated microphone (including PS2 era Singstar ones). If you don’t have a mic, you can also turn a smartphone into one with a dedicated app, but to me the experience feels much more authentic holding a legit microphone – which I can imagine are more comfortable and work better too (depending on your phone and wi-fi connection, that is).
We may not have lavish Thanksgiving and Christmas parties this year, but if you’re in a household that enjoys karaoke this is another great entry to help make a few winter evenings a lot more fun.