If you spend much time here on Everybody Plays, you'll likely already know what to expect from the latest entry in the We Sing series. Separated from the pack by their seriously awesome song choices (after all, that's what you buy a karaoke game for), the We Sing games initially struck out from the crowd by realising that everything's more fun in multiplayer with a group of friends, and designing an entire game around that four-player concept. Following on from their other themed games, from Robbie Williams to Rock to Pop and more, We Sing 80s follows the same winning format, only this time, it's chock a block with (you guessed it), 80s tunes.
And as always, Nordic Games/Le Cortex have done us proud, cramming the best of the 80s onto a single LP-inspired disc - with songs like the Human League's 'Don't You Want Me', Queen's cross-dressing hit 'I Want To Break Free', and 'Come On Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners. There's also Blondie's 'The Tide Is High', 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' by Starship and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Christmas mega hit, 'The Power of Love' - and that's just half a dozen of the thirty songs you can choose from. Basically, if you have fond memories of the hits from the aforementioned decade, you'll find plenty to choose from here.
Alongside a setlist that's crammed with songs everyone will know, (and everyone will most likely want to have a go at) is a game that's really easy to pick up and play. All you need to do is plug in a USB microphone or four (you'll need a USB hub for more than two though), and pick a song to play - after that, it's a simple matter of following the on-screen lyrics and pitch bars, and singing to your heart's content. Basically a simple at-a-glance alternative to proper musical notation, the bar's vertical position shows how high or low the note needs to be in comparison to the ones preceding it, and the horizontal length shows how long you need to hold it for - it may be hard to explain, but it's rather intuitive when you're actually playing it. The bars also have a certain width to them, depending on the difficulty you're playing the game on, which basically gives you some margin of error on the easier difficulties, but requires you to be pitch perfect on hard.
Once you've got the basics down, it's time to take on your friends in multiplayer - and with some eight different modes to choose from, there's plenty to keep you going. The standard We Sing mode lets everyone work together towards a co-operative score, without giving a potentially embarrassing breakdown for each person, whereas Versus and Group Battle let you face off against each other in a battle for the highest score, either individually or in teams. First to X gives you all a target score to aim for, whereas Pass the Mic has players taking it in turns to sing random sections of a song, adding to the team score at the end. Finally, there's Blind mode where lyrics and sound disappear at random intervals, Marathon where you try to get the best average score across a lengthy playlist and Expert, where you have no pitch bars or lyrics to lend a hand - it's just you and your memory.
But when your friends go home, or flat out refuse to play a karaoke game with you, you can still sing to your heart's content in the Solo mode. Besides the ability to pick any song to sing through on your own, a couple of the multiplayer modes have also been specially adapted for single singers - Expert, and Blind mode. There's also a load of Awards to work towards, which range from simple things like singing your first song or creating your first playlist to the more challenging score 9000 points on every song in the game.
In fact, perhaps our only real gripe is, much like We Sing Pop that came before it, they've knocked ten songs off the traditional We Sing game song count, giving us thirty tunes instead of the usual forty. Don't get us wrong, of course - thirty is still a pretty decent amount - but when you compare it to what we had before it seems a bit on the low side, and just means you get the whole running out of songs to sing feeling a lot earlier than before.
Like the other games before it, though, We Sing 80s is a solid karaoke game, with plenty of options for groups of friends and solo singers alike. Thanks to their talent for picking songs, you should have no trouble picking a song to sing - especially if you have a particular fondness for the 80s.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Wii