There are so many different karaoke games on the market that it can become rather difficult to decide exactly which one would ideally suit your needs. However, in this particular case, you definitely know what is in store for budding vocalists, since Disney Sing It: Family Hits is focused on serving up a wide selection of classic songs from various family favourite movies - nothing more, nothing less.
Disney Sing It: Family Hits’s developer, British team Zoë Mode (which brought the world Singstar, Rock Revolution, Grease: The Official Video Game, and Dancing with the Stars, to name a few), and publisher Disney Interactive Studios have purely aimed this latest karaoke effort at family groups, hoping to capture the wider audience en masse, rather than targeting any one particular sector, as previous Sing It titles have done. On the whole it has to be said that the main objective has been carried out extremely successfully, since in all honesty, who does not like classic Disney music, humming the likes of You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story, A Whole New World from Aladdin, Can You Feel the Love Tonight from The Lion King, or even Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins whenever their respective movies are brought up in conversation?
In terms of how to transfer your vocal talent onto the big screen, players must go through the now familiar process of matching their tone of voice to that of their song of choice in the hope of gaining the highest possible score as the music fades away. For those foreign to the formula of console karaoke games, however, each time a song is chosen in Disney Sing It: Family Hits, a video clip will start playing (or, in this case, at times a random snippet of movie footage for those songs that were only ever heard whilst playing over the end credits), along with the lyrical subtitles for aiding with actually being able to 'sing it.' When singing into the Logitech microphone either purchased separately or with the game itself, the tone of your voice is carried through and causes the on-screen pulse to fluctuate up and down as it moves along the scrolling musical scale, responding appropriately to the pitch being sung.
As the song plays, guidance bubbles appear on the scale to highlight when high, low or stretched out notes are required, with different levels of points being attributed when targets are hit to various degrees of successfulness. To help ensure those all important notes are indeed hit, there are two key features included. First up is the microphone calibration process, where the volume of the television set must be turned up to a reasonable level and then the microphone held up to the left speaker, remembering to make sure there is as little background noise as possible at the time. More essential, however, is the voice coaching aspect of Disney Sing It: Family Hits, which comes courtesy of Anika Noni Rose, star of The Princess and the Frog. She guides players through various lessons, giving advice on how to perform in the best possible way, as well as going over the intricacies of the point scoring and bonus system. Not only does this prove to be highly useful for karaoke virgins, but even veterans may learn a trick or two!
Unfortunately there are a few drawbacks to be found in Disney Sing It: Family Hits, such as not being able to alter the master volume in order to adjust how loud your own voice is when being played back through the speakers in real-time when compared to the original vocals that are being sung in tandem, or having trouble reading some of the lyrics because of their placement too far down the screen and current words being replaced immediately by upcoming ones, thus leading to more mistakes creeping into performances. Also, having thirty tracks to choose from may sound like a pleasing selection, yet when considering how Just Dance 2 has more than forty songs straight out of the box, with additional download support for extra music, it makes you wonder why Disney held Zoë Mode back from introducing an online download shop feature to greatly increase the longevity of Disney Sing It: Family Hits. Also, whilst games such as We Sing Encore and We Sing Robbie Williams have the option of a four-player sing-fest, this does not even allow for two players to get in on the act, which for such a ‘wide audience’ product is certainly not promoting inclusivity. Therefore, even though Family Hits is enjoyable, sadly its limitations prevent it from becoming a must-have release.
Take part in the various lessons on offer, sing along to the variety of songs available, follow the notes to reach perfection - Family Hits delivers the console karaoke experience exactly as it should.
Wonderful video clips from Disney and Disney Pixar favourites from across the ages, along with extremely clean, crisp presentation all-round.
All the songs from Disney’s films are present and correct, with performances by the original artists. The only minor drawback is that controlling the level between your voice and the in-game songs is not possible.
The thirty songs on offer will definitely keep parents and children entertained for a while, but the lack of two- or four-player modes, and the missing download content definitely shortens Sing It’s overall lifespan.
Zoë Mode has taken the Disney magic and sprinkled it successfully over the Sing It franchise, making Disney Sing It: Family Hits a thoroughly entertaining karaoke experience with a great selection of popular songs available from a wide range of classic movies. However, there are a few limitations that really hold it back from being an essential purchase, most prominently the lack of any download content.