SingStar Rocks! is the fifth instalment of Sony's SingStar franchise It features thirty new songs to appeal to party crowds, where you can sing solo, duets, with your friends or battle it out against them. SingStar measures your rhythm and pitch, scoring you for each. The lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen as you watch the music video for the song play in the background. Even with the upcoming release of SingStar on the PlayStation 3, SingStar Rocks! is a worthwhile pickup for fans of the genre.
New this time around is the addition of music videos to add to the experience. These videos play in the background with lyrics and meters overlaying them, and are quite a nice addition. While the game measures the pitch, tone, and rhythm of your performance; unfortunately it does not differentiate between actually singing or simply humming the tune. At the end of each line, the game will score your performance (awful, good, cool, etc) and at the end of the song the game will rate your overall performance (wannabe, rising star, etc).
This game is an excellent choice for a party crowd, especially after your guests have had a few drinks. You can create your own contests to see who can get the best or worst score, sing a duet with that special someone, or play pass the mic to get the whole crowd involved. There are varying modes of difficulty; as you move further up, your accuracy on slides and eighth note runs is tested. But beware of scooping your notes - the software doesn't quite allow for that, even though the artists do it themselves.
While SingStar Rocks! boasts 30 new songs to add to their repertoire, the song list leaves something to be desired. Sony tries to cater to all audiences, and by doing so leaves some out in the cold. They advertise having rock/alternative, pop, hip hop/R&B, and classic hits, but there are few who have such eclectic tastes in music that they would know most of these songs. There are several classics, such as Elton John's "Rocket Man" and Aretha Franklin's "Respect", but "Respect", "I Will Survive", and "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" are arguably difficult songs to master for a high score in a karaoke setting. I would also recommend listening to some of the faster songs before playing, such as Blur's "Song 2" and Fall Out Boy's "Dance, Dance", so as not to fall to far behind or get confused. There has been some controversy regarding the North American song list, as many of the songs would hardly be considered "rock", a large oversight to say the least.
As an added bonus SingStar Rocks! ships with two microphones and a USB adapter, so worst case you've got some hardware to play with. It integrates with the EyeToy USB camera, and while the song list could use some improvement, SingStar Rocks! makes for a very entertaining party game. If you're a fan of either the SingStar or Karaoke Revolution franchises, then Rocks! is definitely worth a look.