At the risk of having a SingStar overload, less than a fortnight ago saw the release of the newest disc in the incredibly popular karaoke franchise, called SingStar: Hottest Hits. Yes, that's right, that makes it the fourteenth version of the game available on the PlayStation 2, with at least three more in the form of SingStar: Singalong With Disney, SingStar: ABBA and SingStar: Boybands vs. Girlbands due out by the end of the year. They're churning them out as quickly as possible and the public is lapping it up, so you can't really blame them for taking advantage by further expanding the variety of tracks on offer. So how does Hottest Hits stack up to the other SingStar discs available?
Well, let's start wit the basics: the game can still be purchased with or without the two microphones, still features the same gameplay which judges your pitch and scores your performance as you sing, and is still a riot to bring out at a party full of drunken people. The track list is entirely different apart from a couple of songs that you may have discovered lying around on the SingStore, but that's the only real difference here. What are the songs, you ask? Well:
- Annie - "I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me"
- Avril Lavigne - "When You're Gone"
- Calvin Harris - "Acceptable In The 80s"
- Colbie Caillat - "Bubbly"
- Delta Goodrem - "You Will Only Break My Heart"
- Fall Out Boy - "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs"
- Fergie - "Clumsy"
- Finger Eleven - "Paralyzer"
- Gabriella Cilmi - "Sweet About Me"
- Lily Allen- "LDN"
- Maroon 5 - "Makes Me Wonder"
- Mika - "Grace Kelly"
- Mika - "Love Today"
- My Chemical Romance - "Teenagers"
- Nelly Furtado - "All Good Things"
- One Night Only - "Just For Tonight"
- Onerepublic - "Stop And Stare"
- Operator Please - "Just A Song About Pingpong"
- Powderfinger - "Lost And Running"
- Ricki Lee - "Can't Sing A Different Song"
- Sam Sparro - "Black And Gold"
- Sean Kingston - "Beautiful Girls"
- Sneaky Sound System - "Pictures"
- Snow Patrol - "Chasing Cars"
- The Fray - "How To Save A Life"
- The Potbelleez - "Don't Hold Back"
- Ting Tings - "Great Dj"
- Ting Tings - "That's Not My Name"
- Vanessa Amorosi - "Perfect"
- Will.I.AM - "I Got It From My Mama"
Hottest Hits sounds like the kind of SingStar disc that would feature a good selection of recently released 'Top 40' type songs, and in that regard it certainly doesn't disappoint. In fact, in terms of Australian charts, Hottest Hits is easily the most up-to-date SingStar yet, including tracks that are still frequently being played on the radio and still prevalent in the charts. There is also one of the widest selections of Australian artists to be on the one disc, with Sam Sparro, Vanessa Amarosi, Sneaky Sound System and Gabriella Cilmi just to name a few. Getting them on SingStar so quickly is impressive, and we applaud the fine people at Sony for giving us a truly current list of tracks.
The game modes remain the same. Party modes allow you to pass the microphone between several people during one song for some madness, or you can have a simple battle, duet, medley and more. There's a lot of different competitive party modes as always, and of course you can play songs without scoring if you'd prefer. There are still the same niggling issues as in past games, where you can hum your way through the song to get a good score, and some may still complain that you don't even have to get the pronunciation of words correct to succeed, but it's a party game at heart so these issues shouldn't prevent you from picking up the microphone and giving it a crack.
At the risk of repeating ourselves... alright, it's not a risk, it's a guarantee: SingStar discs on PS2 are all about the new tracks, and as such, should only be purchased if the track list is appealing to you. It's difficult to score these expansions differently because the popularity of songs is always going to be subjective, but in this case we really do feel like an extra effort has been made to tailor this track list to be party-friendly. The songs are all incredibly catchy in their own right, and will be instantly recognizable to anybody who has switched on a radio in the past 12 months. It's easily one of our personal favourite SingStar discs so far, and with no songs that are unfamiliar, Hottest Hits is the best fun you can have with a microphone and is a must-purchase for SingStar lovers.