HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewBaby Shark: Sing & Swim Party Review

Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party Review

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Baby Shark is the most watched Youtube video of all time, which probably makes it the most watched anything of all time. It’s well into the BILLIONS of views. As we speak, millions of children are finding it for the first time, subjecting their parents to another generation of doo-do-de-doodedoos. 

With that much global awareness, an Xbox game was probably inevitable. But in our house, that gets a complicated reaction, as I’m sure it does in a lot of houses. As parents, our hearts sink. We’ve gone through the obsessive replaying phase (thank the lord), but it does still occasionally burp out of the speakers on their tablet. For our kids, it’s not top-tier telly like Bluey or Hey Duggee, but it’s a comfort-watch. Sometimes you just need some brightly coloured sharks singing songs that you know. 

Which, as it happens, is precisely what you’re getting with Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party. Brightly coloured sharks singing songs that your kids will know. Thirty songs, no less, as this is a generous compendium of Baby Shark songs, with the ability to both sing and swim over the top of them. 

baby shark sing and swim party review 1
Ah, hello Baby Shark…

Most families will immediately jump into the story mode. It’s here that you encounter one of  Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party’s big successes. Everything is playable with up to four players simultaneously. You will need four gamepads to do it, but it’s a surprisingly inclusive addition that will make it a bit of a win for a lot of families. Parents can take Mummy and Daddy shark, if they want, while the kids can fight over Baby Shark. Honestly, things would have been a lot easier in our house if the Baby Shark franchise had more kids to pick from. There are costumes, too, so a spot of customisation is on offer. 

Outright Games have a knack for making games that look like living episodes of their associated IP, and it’s no different here. RecoTechnology have done a brilliant job of capturing the excessively bright world of Baby Shark, including all their mannerisms and 2D cutout identities. We’re not 100% sure if these are the original voice actors – we’re not hardcore Baby Sharkers, we’re afraid – but they certainly sound like they are, which will likely be enough for the age-ranges that are being aimed at. And, of course, the songs are directly ported from the Youtube videos and Spotify playlists that you know and love. 

The story mode has a rigid format that never gets deviated from. You travel along a path to the Fintastic Festival (a story objective that’s as flimsy as tracing paper), and encounter an area. That area has a song, and you interact with it in two ways: first, you do the ‘sing’ part of the game’s title, and then you do the ‘swim’ part. These are two minigames that alternate, once per song, and completing them both will move you to the next.

‘Sing’ will be familiar to any parent who has played a spot of Guitar Hero. These are rhythm action segments where you match the beat of the song with button-presses on the controller. It’s purely A, B, X and Y with no other buttons, but Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party gets a lot of mileage from these limitations. By the game’s end, you will be introduced to ‘Hold’ buttons that require you to hold the button-press; ‘Tap’ buttons that require you to pump the button for long periods; hidden buttons that only get revealed once they get close to the target zone; and explosive urchins that punish you if you press anything at all. On very rare occasions, there are double button-presses at once. 

baby shark sing and swim party review 3
There’s plenty of singing to be had

It’s the ‘sing’ bits that confuse us most about Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party. Having played with our four-year old (the target demographic, we would guess) and our eight-year old, who reluctantly picked up the controller, it seems to skew towards the older child. It’s not easy at all. It’s forgiving, certainly: you don’t have to hit many, if any of the notes. But there are a combination of factors that make it reasonably frenzied, particularly in the second half of the story mode. Notes move fast, changing from A to B, X and Y quickly, and they all look very, very similar. We’re not sure why the developers decided to make all of the buttons the same colour, as our kids got confused about which one was which, particularly at speed. The same goes for ‘Tap’ sequences and ‘Hold’: they are easy to confuse. 

The ‘sing’ sections are well constructed and calibrated well, but our four-year old bounced off them like an inflatable castle. They’re just too hard for her. We’d suggest that they are aimed at six-year olds and up, and we’re going to guess that’s precisely when kids age out of Baby Shark. 

Now, the ‘swim’ sections of Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party have no such problems. They’re fine and dandy. The characters swim towards the backdrop, while obstacles and stars move towards the front of the screen. It gives the illusion of an endless swimmer, and you and your family can glide from side to side, picking up collectible stars. To mix things up, spiky obstacles like pufferfish and urchins also appear, so you have to avoid them or jump over them with a quick tap of the A button.

This got a big thumbs up from the whole household. The only complaint was that the path undulates, which made our eldest a bit sick. Otherwise, this was great fun, as our youngest children marched to the front of the path, collecting all the stars before we could get to them. Hitting an obstacle is no problem at all, as you get stunned for milliseconds, and that stun doesn’t stop you from picking up stars. 

As adults, we found that it could have done more to welcome four players. Once a star is picked up, it’s gone, which meant that our kids were fighting over them. Our littlest couldn’t compete with the speed of our eldest and a couple of arguments ensued. There’s a similar issue with the ‘sing’ sections, as everyone’s button presses are tracked on the same horizontal lane. If one person presses a ‘Hold’ early, then everyone presses it early, and that confused us more than it should.

baby shark sing and swim party review 2
Chase down those stars in Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party

For all our minor niggles with the games, particularly within ‘sing’, we can’t complain much about the songs. Thirty of them is far more than we expected, and they multiply to become sixty levels thanks to both ‘sing’ and ‘swim’. That’s a whole chunk of content, and you can play them all independently of the story mode in a quick mode, accessible from the main menu. We would gripe about the sheer number of ‘Baby Shark’ variants – do we really need opera, robot and pirate versions? – but we knew that going in. You only have to be subjected to their channel for thirty minutes to know there are a bazillion different takes on the song. 

There is nothing wrong with the content and presentation of Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party. This is a stupendously generous bundle of Pinkfong tunes, all with the patented neon colours and cutesy voices. It really feels like an extension of the Youtube videos, all for four players at once, which is again generous. 

Our one lingering concern, though, is that it’s on the difficult side for the target demographic. If your Baby Shark fan is less than six-years old, we worry that they might come unstuck, particularly with the ‘sing’ sections of the game. Ours certainly did. Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party is one for a willing parent to stick a tentative toe in and test, then.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Looks exactly like a Pinkfong cartoon
  • Thirty songs and sixty levels is more than we expected
  • ‘Swim’ games got a big thumbs up
Cons:
  • Sing’ games are surprisingly challenging
  • Too many Baby Shark variants
  • Can feel like a long slog through the campaign
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Outright Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Switch
  • Release date and price - 15 September 2023 | £34.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Looks exactly like a Pinkfong cartoon</li> <li>Thirty songs and sixty levels is more than we expected</li> <li>‘Swim’ games got a big thumbs up</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Sing’ games are surprisingly challenging</li> <li>Too many Baby Shark variants</li> <li>Can feel like a long slog through the campaign</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Outright Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Switch <li>Release date and price - 15 September 2023 | £34.99</li> </ul>Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party Review
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