Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Review

Karaoke Revolution: American Idol is not the first American Idol game to hit consoles, but it’s the first game that actually makes you feel like a contestant on the show. You select a song and sing for the judges using the microphone included with the game and then stand there and take Simon’s abuse. Fans of the show will undoubtedly enjoy trying to sing their way to Hollywood and then on to the American Idol crown, but even those who’ve never watched it will find the game’s various free and party modes enjoyable. So take a deep breath and grab the mic…

First let’s look at the basics. Whether you’re singing for the judges or just having fun on your own, the game uses the same basic gameplay to score your performance. As your song plays, the words scroll along the bottom karaoke style. However you’ll also notice a series of bars on the screen placed above the words scrolling by. The length of each bar tells you how long you should hold the note, its vertical position on the screen indicates the note’s relative pitch, and if the height of a bar varies it indicates that you should vary your pitch while holding the note. An arrow on the left side of the screen indicates your current pitch and your goal is to make this arrow move down the center of each bar by using your voice. It’s a pretty simple system and pitch is king. You don’t need to get the words quite right, and as a matter of fact you can hum your way through the songs, just as long as you’re at the right pitch. You’ll find this to be a big help when singing a song that you don’t happen to have memorized, because the lyrics scroll by too quickly to read for the first time.

Taking center stage in the game is the American Idol contest. You create a character to represent yourself on stage and choose his or her outfit, pick a song, and then you’re off to the audition room to face the judges for the first time. One note of warning here; there are a lot of clothing options in the game, but if you don’t dress smartly the judges will ding you on your look. After you sing your song you’ll listen to the judges’ feedback and that’s where you’ll really feel like you’re a part of the show. Randy Jackson’s and Simon Cowell’s comments are pretty much inline with the types of things they say in real life, and if you think that Simon sometimes comes across as cruel on the show wait until he cuts into your performance as you stand there and take it. Paula Abdul is completely absent from the game, though, replaced by look-alike named Laura. Laura comes across as a very subdued sibling of Paula, and Paula’s peppy comments are replaced by some pretty dry technical analysis of your performance. One thing that is noticeably absent from the judging is the banter between the judges. They give their comments in turn without any interaction or reaction to each other’s comments, which takes some of the life out of the judging.

The game comes with 40 tracks that provide a good range of music, so odds are that you’ll be familiar with the lyrics on at least a few of the songs right off of the bat. Traditional karaoke favorites such as “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and “Proud Mary” appear along with 80s hits such as “Don’t You Want Me Baby?” and “Hungry Like The Wolf” as well as recent releases such as “Sugar, We’re Going Down”. Before you sing a song you’ll have the option of using some handy sliders to control the volume of different parts of the music such as the original vocal track. Turn off the vocals if you’re confident in your ability to sing the song, and turn them up a bit when you think you’ll need a little help with the lyrics.

Outside of the American Idol mode the game has a basic free singing mode that you can enjoy without the pressures of the infamous trio of judges, but when not trying to sing your way to the top the game is best enjoyed as a party game with a group of friends. You can sing duets cooperatively or compete in elimination rounds which all makes for some great party fun, but keep in mind that you’ll need to pick up an extra mic for the duets.

Karaoke Revolution: American Idol does a great job of capturing the spirit of the show and is a fun karaoke game to boot. If you’ve ever wondered how you’d perform on American Idol but you just don’t have the stomach to face public humiliation, here’s the perfect chance for you to see how you’d do.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 82%. Here's your chance to see if you have the stuff to be the next American Idol.


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