We Sing: UK Hits is the latest in the We Sing series of karaoke games for the Wii – and, as the title suggests, is packed full of songs by a load of artists said to represent the best of British music. The forty tracks range from the modern Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab' and Adele's 'Chasing Pavements' to older favourites, like Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' and 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' by Wham – there's also internet sensation Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up' thrown in for good measure. As always, there's a great selection of songs on offer, and there's bound to be some you know and don't mind making a fool of yourself singing along to.
While we do have a soft spot for the We Sing games, the forth game in the series, We Sing: UK Hits doesn't really do anything different to it's predecessors, except by having a different set of songs and a slightly different background. We're never sure what to say about games that do that. Generally speaking, it doesn't really bother us too much – with a karaoke game, you're mostly buying it for some new songs to sing anyway, as you start to get a bit fed up of the same songs after a while. This tends to be especially true on a platform like the Wii, where there doesn't tend to be such a large lean towards downloadable extra songs to make your game last longer.
As always, there's a choice between three different difficulties to sing on – Easy, Medium and Hard – with each subsequent increase in difficulty reducing your margin of error for hitting the notes. When you hit the right note, the on-screen pitch bars (who's vertical position dictates the pitch you need to sing) will fill up and you'll get points. But not all songs were created equal; some are naturally much more challenging than others, regardless of the difficulty you're playing on – and We Sing lets you see which are the trickier ones at a glance by giving each song a star rating for difficulty. So while you won't be straining much on Blur's 'Girl's And Boys', 'You've Got The Love' by Florence + The Machine tells a different story – and there's everything in between too.
Some songs have multiple parts, like The Beautiful South's 'A Little Time' – and We Sing lets you chose which of the parts you want to sing, or lets you do both if you feel like being a one-man (or woman, seeing as we are Everybody Plays and everything) band for a bit. But don't worry if your voice isn't quite manly enough to reach the lower notes, because We Sing doesn't mind – as long as your seeing the right note, it doesn't matter what octave it's in. So you could be singing any C, whether it be a bass rumble or so high pitched only your dog will hear – it'll still count.
The We Sing games are best enjoyed in multiplayer sing-a-thons, possibly with copious quantities of alcohol – and they offer a total of eight different modes for such events, and a mixture of competitive and co-operative flavours.
Co-operativeFirst off, there's the standard 'We Sing' mode, where two to four players can all sing along, working together to get as higher score as they can – and because it's co-operative, no-one will know how well each individual did at the end; just the group as a whole. The other co-operative mode is 'Pass The Mic', where up to four players take it in turns singing different sections of the song, adding to a cumulative score – but you'll need to pay attention, because the game will decide at random who the next victim is...
CompetitiveCompetitive is where the bulk of the multiplayer options are – the standard 'Versus' mode is what you'd expect, with up to four players going head to head, singing the same lyrics to try and get the highest score they can. You can also team up with 'Team Battle', where three or four people split into teams (which don't necessarily have to be equal), and fight it out for the best score, like before. If you fancy a more objective-based battle for points, the 'First To X' mode might be right up your street – in this, you pick a target amount of points, and then everyone tries their best to reach it, with whoever gets there first being declared the winner. Or maybe you're in for a long night of uninterrupted karaoke goodness, in which case the 'Marathon' mode may be just what you're looking for, which lets you create a playlist of songs to sing through, with the winner being whoever has the highest average score at the end.
Then come the evil, evil modes, where serious karaoke skills are required – or at least those some reckless bravado. 'Expert' is a serious business, as you'll be singing songs with zero help from the game – all the pitch bars and lyrics have been taken away, leaving you, and your memory, on their own in a battle for the most points. Whereas you get nothing to help on Expert mode, the 'Blind' mode lulls you into a false sense of security by giving you the lyrics and pitch bars for a while, before rudely taking them – and the sound – away at random intervals, leaving you and your friends to battle it out for points all on your own.
By comparison, the solo mode is rather small, with a choice between singing 'Solo' – just picking a tune and singing through it, getting as many points as you can – and the singing 'Lessons', which although they start off rather simply, they do get rather hard towards the end. Making their appearance again are the 'Awards', which are list of challenges for you to complete, which range from “sing your first song” to “get 9000 points on each song” and “complete all the singing lessons”. There's also a few random ones one unlocked when you've “picked the developer's favourite background, and one called “Conkers!”, with it's ambiguous description of “choose the worst combination ever”. Getting all the awards does add a bit of replay value to what is a rather limited single player – although we can't help wondering if some of the multiplayer modes could be adapted for single player, like the 'Expert' or 'Blind' modes, maybe?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it – and the saying is definitely true for the We Sing series of karaoke games, with the formula remaining pretty much the same for all of the We Sing games. With their talent for choosing awesome setlists with songs everyone should know, as well as more multiplayer modes than you can shake a microphone at, the We Sing games are a solid choice if you're after a karaoke game – and We Sing: UK Hits is no exception. In fact, if you're new to the We Sing franchise, now is probably the best time to jump on the bandwagon, with versions coming out to fit every taste – there's We Sing: UK Hits and We Sing: Encore for a diverse selection of music, upcoming genre-specific iterations We Sing: Rock and We Sing: Pop, or if you're a Robbie Williams fan, there's We Sing: Robbie Williams.