Christmas must be coming. We don’t need to look at our calendars, we just need to look at the game releases. November is the time that Ubisoft unleashes a Just Dance, and it’s always quickly followed by a Let’s Sing. They’re an annual reminder that we should get off our arses and be sociable. Or, at least, buy a few presents.
So, we begin the annual ritual of scanning the setlist of Let’s Sing. It’s an embarrassing ritual, if we’re being honest. There are some oohs and aahs as we spot winners that we recognise, but mostly it’s an indictment of our terrible knowledge of current music. Jax Jones who? Ofenbach what? We look at the songlist a bit like an incorrectly filled-in Times crossword.
But, my gosh, not this time. If we gave the score purely on songlist, then Let’s Sing 2022 would be hitting the highs. This is Ravenscourt’s best yet. Let’s start with the oldies (although, it hurts to call some of these oldies): Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse, Last Christmas by Wham! and Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) by The Offspring. Those are just our favourites. Cruelly, Ravenscourt has ring fenced further oldies within their new DLC packs, at £3.99 each. When there’s Zombie by The Cranberries and How Bizarre? by OMC, we had to double-dip.
On the newer front, there’s plenty we recognise and more that work well when sung. Previous iterations of Let’s Sing have chosen popularity over their singability, but that changes here. Highlights include the feisty Kings & Queens by Ava Max, Stupid Love by Lady Gaga, Let’s Love by David Guetta and Sia, and Leave the Door Open by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and Silk Sonic.
So, songlist is on point. What about the rest of the package? Let’s Sing 2022 has barely a single change that we could pinpoint. To some, this will be reassuring – it is, after all, the same interface (give or take a new colour palette) and packaging, so players will be able to jump right in. You can also make the argument that the songlist is everything. If the songs are good, what does the rest matter?
But let’s be consistent here: if this was a FIFA, we’d be frothing at the mouth. It’s not only the lack of new features and modes that rankles, it’s the resurfacing of issues we spotted in Let’s Sing 2021. That last one is hard to justify.
Not everyone has played a Let’s Sing, so what are you getting here? Foremostly, you’re getting a hugely accessible karaoke machine. You can play with up to two USB microphones attached, or you can opt to use your smartphone, by accessing a Jackbox-style room code. Both work fine, and there’s very little difference between the two.
Then there are eight ways to play. Let’s Sing has always been good at catering for different group sizes and moods. If you’re on the solo end and just want to bash through some favourites, then you will probably opt for Classic, which gives you the full setlist; or you might go for Legend, which acts as a campaign with challenges to complete and new outfits to unlock. There’s also Jukebox, which strips away all of the game stuff and purely presents the video and words. It’s a karaoke machine at its purest.
If you’re on the multiplayer end, then you have even more options, layering on all sorts of funky modes and power ups. There’s Feat., which is a duet mode, with you and your partner passing control of the song, back and forth, before harmonising on the chorus. Let’s Party is probably the most fully featured of the lot, with a roulette of minigames to play, including TV Madness, which blurs the words making them hard to read, and Piggy Bank, which is a chase to collect the most coins.
Rounding out the modes is LS World Contest, which is an opportunity to take on some global highscores and beat other players’ singing, and Mixtape, which smooshes together similarly themed songs, mostly so you don’t have to create them yourselves. But, if you did want to create them yourself, there’s a Playlists mode.
These are all present and correct from previous versions, and they do their job well. As a personal taste thing, we tend not to enjoy the more fractured modes, where songs are presented as small clips. Mixtape and Let’s Party in particular suffer from giving you no prep, and expecting you to recognise the song, where you are in the song, and what flipping pitch you are meant to be singing in, all within a few seconds. Call us fuddy duddies, but we like to know what we’re singing.
The issues with Let’s Sing 2022 are the same as they’ve always been. We still experience a few tech problems: there’s a juddering, drilling sound before the start of several songs, and our microphone often won’t pick up the first few seconds of singing. The videos themselves can feel grainy and sub-4K, when this felt like an opportunity to up-rez for the Xbox Series X|S. And it can all be frustratingly slow, as you see your XP increase, level up and gain rewards after each song, when all you want to do is listen to some Depeche Mode, please.
It amounts to a game that is hard to score. On the one hand, we have a stellar songlist. Everyone is catered for, and we’d make no hesitation in crowning Let’s Sing 2022 as the best of any Let’s Sing. It’s beautifully presented and fully featured, with capability for microphone and smartphones alike, as well as room for up to eight players.
On the other hand, barely a whisker has moved out of place since the last Let’s Sing. That includes some minor tech and audio issues, which should have been the first area of attention. While it doesn’t quite feel like the bare minimum has been done here, it‘s canoodling closer than it should have.
So, come for the tunes. They’re better than any Now! album that you’ll get this year. But wrinkle your nose up at Ravenscourt. Next year, we’re putting new features on our Christmas list.
You can buy Let’s Sing 2022 from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S