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Let’s Sing Presents ABBA Review


Nil points!

As tempting as it might be, Let’s Sing Presents ABBA doesn’t quite deserve that ignominy. While it’s a reheat of Let’s Sing Queen, which was itself a reheat of the mainline Let’s Sing series, it’s still carried along by the easy-going charm and disco-lite bangers of the Swedish band. It is, then, exactly what you’d expect from a Let’s Sing dedicated to ABBA. It will either get you donning your flares, screaming “Mamma Mia!”, or it will have you jabbing the mute button. 

As it turns out, our household has a violent reaction to ABBA. It’s the band my wife likes least, and she gave me an angry “did you have to?” look when it arrived for review. Apparently, plenty of other reviewers could have taken it. But my daughters and I were happy to wait till she left the room and do some sequenced dance moves. Bah humbug to you, wife.

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There is nothing surprising, not even remotely, in this package. It’s the Let’s Sing dashboard, without a single change, but the radio is playing ABBA hits. That means the traditional seven game modes – Legend, Classic, Mix Tape 2.0, Jukebox, Feat., World Contest and Let’s Party – as any Let’s Sing fan would remember them.

Of course, if you’ve been drawn here by the wistful tones of ABBA, then you might not know what those mean. Legend is the closest you’ll get to a campaign, with bitesize challenges to complete in return for progress, XP and the odd unlock for your avatar. These are mostly scraps of songs, and it’s not the mode to beeline to if you want to play an ABBA song in full.

Classic is more suitable for that. This is all of the ABBA hits, all thirty-one included in this package, available for you to sing at your leisure. As with all of the other Let’s Sing releases, this is where we spend most of our time, as most of the time we just wanted to sing without being interrupted with power-ups and sudden stops mid-song. Jukebox mode is faintly similar, but you have to unlock the songs first, and Mix Tape 2.0 brings the songs together into thematically similar packages. You could make an argument that these three are remixes of the same game mode, and could be labeled as such. 

Feat. is a duetting mode, where the focus on the song is passed between players, with the odd coming together of voices (Let’s Sing Presents ABBA, more than any other Let’s Sing game, would have benefitted from harmonisation layers, but alas you are all singing the same notes here). World Contest has you playing against other players and global leaderboards, although being competitive about ABBA seems to be counter to their embracing, love-each-other vibes. Finally, Let’s Party has two teams competing on challenges, with mistakes causing bombs to explode and other mishaps. 

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As usual, it’s a fully featured suite and contains more than you would possibly need. We should be happy with that, and new players absolutely will. But we’re the grumpy guy in the corner, arms folded across our chest, grumbling about the missed opportunity and aroma of laziness. 

ABBA have very recently come back into the public eye thanks to their Voyage tour, a multimedia experience that is getting rave reviews for its mix of songs and holograms. We can’t help but notice the mismatch of a pioneering, pyrotechnic lightshow, and this bland digestive biscuit of a music game. One song from their latest album is here, but otherwise everything is stale. The same goes for any Beatles Rock Band-style curation or passion. There’s no VH1-style pop-up information, no museum details or commentary from the band. It’s the songs in all their naked glory.

We also feel a tad mean saying it, but ABBA bring some flaws with them too. Their videos, let’s be honest, are almost entirely arse. Can you recall a classic ABBA video? Dancing Queen, perhaps. But mostly ABBA like their videos to contain the band, walking around in furskins, singing into the camera and attempting the odd furtive smile. Queen knock them into a cocked hat for quality of videos. But, yet, the videos are all you get to watch as the songs tootle along, and they’re both as grainy and exciting as watching Eurovision repeats from the 1970s alone. 

The songs, though, are the real winners, and will likely be enough for 90% of people who perked up at the phrase ‘Let’s Sing ABBA’. We couldn’t name you a single song that should be here but isn’t. Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Fernando, Gimme Gimme Gimme… they’re all here. There are arguments that the tracklisting is too exhaustive. We’ve sung along to songs that we’ve never heard and never want to hear again. Eagle and I Still Have Faith in You are the opposite of earworms. Buttsnakes?

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A benefit of sellotaping an ABBA Greatest Hits to the Let’s Sing template is the sheer accessibility. Four mics and four smartphones can be used in any permutation, and we employed both with barely a snag. There’s an odd pneumatic drill sound whenever a song is about to start that makes us jump (something that has been a problem since we first started reviewing these games), but otherwise the quality and latency is perfect. We never felt like we were missing notes because of Let’s Sing Presents ABBA. We were missing notes because we have the caterwaul of a dying fox.

To ABBA, thank you for the music. Nothing wrong with Let’s Sing Presents ABBA comes from their songs, and anyone who was drawn, moth-like, to the simple promise of singing ABBA with friends will be enamored with what’s on offer here. This game does everything you want, and then some, filling lounges with dancing queens. 

If you’ve come here as fans of Let’s Sing, however, expect disappointment. Let’s Sing Presents ABBA is the identical template from the past two iterations of Let’s Sing, and while ABBA’s music will have you strutting, the videos absolutely won’t. The four band members don’t half like walking into the sunset on snowy mornings.

You can buy Let’s Sing Presents ABBA from the Xbox Store

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