In 1979, Freddie Mercury stated he was "having such a good time" in "Don’t Stop Me Now". Today, in 2020 we wanted to see if we can say the same while playing the new PlayStation 4 game "Let’s Sing Queen".
Naturally, this process started by listening to some Queen songs on repeat, to educate Feena - my daughter - on who this brilliant band was. Before the game was downloaded and installed, she was already singing "We Will Rock You" to herself.
We don't have a USB microphone, so instead, I downloaded the accompanying app on our smartphones, which means you don't have to buy a microphone if you don't already have one from similar games. Regarding what microphone can be used, we don't have a lot of information. While the PlayStation 4 store states that Singstar microphones are compatible, we cannot confirm if any USB microphone would work. The app itself responds very quickly, even on Feena's low-budget phone, which, to me, means a lot. When you pay for a game, you generally don't want to spend more money on peripherals just for the luxury of playing it.
Feena and I decided to start with an easy song. We both love "The Show Must Go On", and it is also the song Feena is most familiar with, as we adore the cover used in the film Moulin Rouge. Thankfully, it is only rated two stars for difficulty. That went fairly well. Not bad. I learned that I'm not as awful a singer as I thought. I also found out my kid seriously has some pipes on her!
After that, we figured "Hey, we are good at this, let's go pro!" On a side note, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is hard. It brought a lot of laughs, but I don't think we did Freddie any justice.
The user modes in this game are quite enjoyable. The available modes are: classic, mixtape, feat, jukebox, and online.
In classic, you simply have to score a certain number of points to achieve a medal. At the end of each song, you are given a score depending on how well you stayed in tune.
In mixtape mode, you have a mashup of 5 different songs, starting at any point within each song.
In feat mode, you can play against another local player, or check your compatibility. Feena and I got 87% compatibility, which shows that we are a good match.
Jukebox mode allows you to listen to the hits that you have already sung.
In online mode, you sing against other players to try and beat their score and move up the rankings. At one point, I was 33rd, however, by now that may have all changed. If you see me on the rankings, feel free to try and take me down!
The graphics are colourful and bright, both in backgrounds and avatars. The avatars feel fairly limited, with one being unlocked each time you level up. As of yet, I haven't found one that looks like me. Due to this, I believe it would be nice to be able to customise your avatar for a little more diversity. When singing a song, you get the official Queen music videos in the background. I love this, as it connects both the visual and audial aspects of the game.
The music bars themselves also stand out nicely. These show the lyrics as well as whether the note is higher or lower than the last. You can also see the lyrics at the bottom of the screen, which is great if you quickly want to check what the next line will be.
The sound is amazing. Ultimately, if you're playing this game, it is reasonable to assume that you're a fan of the band. If not, you soon will be. The sounds are clear and crisp. You also don't have to listen to your singing coming back at you through the television, which is a must for those who, like me, cannot stand hearing their voice but love singing. Other effects, such as applause at the end of a round, also sound realistic.
One issue with the sound is that the game does not understand the lyrics. Feena often misread a word, and it was still deemed as "perfect". Once we figured that out, it was easier for her to get a higher score on some songs (Yes, Bohemian Rhapsody, we are looking at you) by merely matching the pitch.
Let's Sing App
We played Let's Sing Queen using the smartphone app, which was easy to download and set up.
It took a little longer to open and connect using Feena's phone (Cubot R15). However, this is the case with all apps on her particular handset. A few minutes wait is a small price to pay, considering a lot of apps won't even open on this budget smartphone. Once the app itself is open, and you are connected, there are no lag issues. The app picked up all her vocals, even whispers, and translated that to the game with ease.
Using a Samsung S7 Edge, I had a large advantage regarding smartphone capability. The accompanying app downloaded within seconds and opened instantly. Once connected, there was no difference between my phone or Feena's, meaning that an older or cheaper handset will not put a user at an unfair disadvantage. The only downside to using the smartphone app is it drains your battery very quickly, so either keep your phone plugged in or a charger to hand.
Playing the game is incredibly easy. It is relatively straight-forward what to click and how to move around the menus.
Each song has a star rating based upon difficulty. Songs like "We Will Rock You" have only 1 star, meaning they are easier. No prizes for guessing which song is higher on the star count. Singing was fairly straight forward, given that the way the lyrics present on-screen show you how high or low to go. You also get told whether you missed a note, did ok, or did it perfectly.
Alongside this, you have a score multiplier, up to 5x, and can view your score while you sing. This helps you see if you're close to beating a previous attempt or, in feat or online modes, if you are currently winning.
Once you have played through each song, you need to try to improve upon your performance. Whether this is the overall score to reach gold, your compatibility with a singing partner, or your rank in online play, it's up to you. This does mean there is no real progression, as is often found in singing games. I feel, for that reason, that this may be a game that ends up being played a lot the first few weeks, then put away, only reappearing for parties. This may, of course, change depending on any updates that might potentially come out in the future.
This game is incredibly enjoyable. Anything that can make my 9-year-old daughter get ready for school quickly to enable her to have a few songs before we leave is nothing short of miraculous. It made for a great start to the day (apologies to our neighbours!) to bust out a few songs, both together and separately.
We recommend this game for anyone with a love for singing, regardless of their skill level. As shown by Feena's enjoyment, it can also be great as a family game, getting the kids involved and singing along to some legendary music, while bonding together.
Bohemian Rhapsody is very long. DO NOT attempt this track unless you have downed a litre of water prior. Lots of laughter may ensue during your performance but just go with it.