I've always been a big fan of Lips, but that was mostly because I only owned an Xbox 360 and a Wii at the time, so my choice of karaoke game was somewhat limited. Now that I got a PlayStation 3 for Christmas, however, I was able to dive straight into the SingStar pool head first! Before, I gave Lips good reviews because I didn't really have that much to compare it to. But now that I've had a chance to play both games, I thought it might be interesting to pit them against each other and see who comes out on top.
The first thing that gives SingStar an early lead is the fact that it has band and genre specific discs. Which meant that I was able to go out and buy SingStar ABBA instead of the generic SingStar game. This way I was able to get a disc full of songs I know I'll love as opposed to a disc where I'll like maybe half, if I'm lucky. Also, because SingStar's been out longer, it has a massive head start in the DLC arena. Plus, SingStar has a lot more BritPop than Lips, which meant I could sing proper Kylie tunes, and even found some Westlife! Although I haven't really joined in, I enjoyed exploring the online community where you can post photos and videos of yourself singing along to the game, and it's a lot of fun. Lastly, I appreciate SingStar's scoreboards. Keeping track of your and your friends' high scores helps make it more of a game. Having Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty levels also adds some gameplay, but I have to admit that I'm already having trouble on Medium!
Unfortunately, one area where Lips takes an early lead over SingStar is the basic gameplay. Not being musically-inclined, I'm not sure what the technical terms are, but the pitch indicators work better in Lips. In SingStar, the rhythm of them changes constantly, so sometimes the indicator whips along a long note in an instant, and other times it crawls along. It kind of throws you off. With Lips, the rhythm stays even, and I also appreciate you can see the beginning of the next line off to the right so you can prepare. Lips also has a much better system in place for rapping where you can see the words on the screen, spaced out to the beat. The SingStar rap meter is just a box that sits off to the side of the screen, and appears to be seriously broken. At the end of each line, it tells you how you did, but with no real indicator of how you're doing as you go, there's no way of telling what you're doing wrong.
Lips also wins for having wireless microphones from the start. If you're going to force me to buy even more annoying peripherals that are required to play the game, at least you don't have to deal with storing long wires along with the mics. Plus, the motion control gives you something to do when you're not singing. Sometimes during an instrumental part in SingStar, I start to instinctively shake the mic until I realize it's not doing anything! There's no difficulty levels, but trying to string together as many perfect measures as you can to rank up a huge combo still provides quite the challenge! And while Lips doesn't have an online community as such, it's nice to see how you rank on the online leaderboards, although I would prefer it kept a personal scoreboard of all your best plays like SingStar, instead of just your one highest score. While being able to challenge your friends online can't compare to an in-person sing-off, it's still a nice addition. I also like creating personal playlists in Lips. In SingStar, you can only sort by artist, song title or genre. But in Lips, you can sort your songs by whatever whim strikes your fancy, even awarding star ratings along the way.
I don't want to be all wishy-washy and come down to "oh, they're both equally fun for different reasons and I'm going to play them both." I really want to pick one over the other and take a stand here. So as much as I like the song selection and DLC of SingStar, I have to give the win here to Lips, just because the on-screen singing interface works better and the wireless motion controlled mics make the game easier and more fun to play. I'll probably still enjoy both for a while, but I have the suspicion that in the end, Lips is going to get more play.