We were not kind to Just Sing 2022 (our review) or Just Sing 2023 (our review), but sure as the sun rises, developer Voxler and publisher PLAION are back with this year’s installment of the karaoke sim, offering up 35 new tracks, but this time around they’ve got a few new tricks up their sleeve. Could this breathe some much needed fresh air into this franchise? Time to make a disembodied head and find out!
As I just mentioned, one of the first things you’ll do this time around is make a character. Why? Well, there’s an entirely new career mode to tackle. Choosing from a solid list of character archetypes and accessories, you’ll build out an avatar that represents your style. Since it’s the big lure, let’s start with the new career mode.
The game starts with your character as a complete unknown. You’ll work through the process of being discovered, recording your demo, and getting found. Betrayal, intrigue, and other musician drama ensues as you climb your way to the top singing along with some of your favorites.
If you’ve played a singing game anytime recently, then you know how this works – the line appears, you sing and try to match pitch with it. Some portions are color coded gold, and these are the song portions you likely sing along with in the shower – the chorus. The rest of the colors, despite being colored before you sing them, indicate how well you sang them. The color will change on the bottom of the notechart once you have sung them, but I find the whole color system to be rather odd.
Singing will get you fans, and you’ll be presented with a mostly non-interactive window “Your feed” where you can monitor your progress. Much of your forward progress however is actually mapped to the chapter marker in the corner and conversations with some of the people in your life. Or more accurately their disembodied head – we’ll get back to that.
Finishing a track gives you notes completed, number of combos, how many of them were perfect, and some XP towards each of your various levels. Some songs span genres (aaaand more on that in a second as well), so you might move the classic category and rock at the same time. Doing well in songs unlocks additional cosmetics like gloves, hats, rings, neckwear, and more. You can even get new titles like Virtuoso, Shower Singer, Rap God, RnB Icon, Dreamer, Showstopper, Diva, and Headbanger.
Surprisingly, the Career Mode actually tries to teach you how to sing. No, I don’t mean it just throws a bunch of songs at you, I mean it actually teaches a few proper techniques. Lip trills, tongue twisters, breathing, consistency, relaxing, and then yes – some song snippets. Oddly, it doesn’t lean into this in any meaningful way, though. The option always hovers below your song selections in career, but when your coach says “Hey, to sharpen up your singing voice before you record your debut album, let’s have you do a vocal exercise”, what she actually means is “let’s sing a few bars from a random Christmas song”. Sure, some folks won’t want to practice their craft, but a simple skip button would solve that. Voxler put the time into having actual vocal training in the game, but it’s mostly lost in the shuffle.
Throughout your career you’ll meet a variety of characters (again, via disembodied head), picking from a handful of dialogue options to interact with them between song performances. There’s even some social media banter with fans, though frankly I’d rather put my entire face in a running garbage disposal than pretend to use Twitter in a video game. So many of the choices are just awful and only a complete sociopath would choose any of them, and in that way it’s completely accurate to the real thing.
The emphasis is 100% on the music here, and that shows in the graphics. Backgrounds are neon-painted rounded bezels with what can only be described as clipart level artwork. Little more than primitive textureless shapes (the “audience” heads are just little globes), there’s just no detail to anything for folks waiting their turn to sing to watch. Aesthetically the whole UI could be improved dramatically if they were just 3D. So much of what is displayed is just flat. Oddly, during duets, the song progress bar is removed. Avicii’s “Wake me up” demonstrates this cleanly when you have no idea how long the long interludes in the song are.
There’s some odd choices when it comes to where the team sourced their music as it seems to be directly sampled from movies in several cases. Again, the end of Avicii’s “Wake me up” has a long outro with people…walking? I don’t know. “Colors of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas is pulled from the film as well. Odd choices were made here.
It’s nice to see the character heads in Just Sing 2024, and they are a nice addition. The mouth movements, however, are just gibberish. I’m not expecting perfect phonemes, but now that you’ve added voicework I’ve gotta point out just how strange it can look at times, or how occasionally my singer’s mouth is jabbering away when nothing is being sung in the track. Still – it’s a step in the right direction, though clearly that’s at the cost of so much else. Additionally, the song notechart is presented at an odd 20 degree tilt, and nobody singing while we were playing could explain it or particularly liked it. The two things combined, as crazy as it is to say, made me miss the flat note panel and full-screen videos of the previous two entries. In fact, if you do want to watch the music videos, you will have to do so through the disembodied head of your character and outside of career mode. The career takes place in front of the same clipart basic backdrops with nothing to spruce them up. It makes for a less than wonderful viewing experience for those not doing the singing. More odd choices and tradeoffs were made once again.
It’s not completely foolproof, but I commend Just Sing 2024 for trying to solve for folks who grab the mic only to just hum along rather than sing. The game does its level best to detect if you are humming, and will even pop that up in red if it finds that they aren’t singing for a long portion of time. It’s not trying to punish you when you don’t know the lyrics, but does try to push back if you are just going to hum the whole thing.
We did run into more oddities, as well as a serious instability issue. There’s no way to listen to a track before you agree to sing it in career mode (but bafflingly it is present everywhere else), so we always had YouTube up on a laptop to just hear a song prior to jumping in. Additionally, during the career mode there’s no way to refresh the five songs that it selects for your goals, so the review crew took to force-closing the game to refresh the career tracks. Again, so many odd choices.
We ran into two hard crashes during the runtime of the career. Voice dropped out entirely, (first right after I won my finale battle, and again in Chapter 5 as I worked on my first single) where all of the voices stopped. We continued, but in both cases we had full game lockups a minute or two later.
Career aside, Voxler needs some education on what the word “Rock” is in reference to music. For example, Fool’s Garden “Lemon Tree” is in no way Rock, and I’ll fight anyone who suggests otherwise. Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” is also not Rock. David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”, as awesome as he is, is not Rock. Neither is Eagle-Eye Cherry’s Save Tonight. Silversun Pickups heavy guitars for Panic Switch belong in the Rock sorting. The sorting hiccups continue when you look at other genres. Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” belongs in Electro, not Pop. Lady Gaga’s Million Reasons should be in Ballad. Lukas Graham’s 7 Years is in Pop, but there’s no way that’s not a Ballad. Just fire up Spotify and look at the genres, guys – do those.
Career aside, there’s a section called LSMA Season 1. Clearly the team intends for multiple seasons, but I wasn’t sure how that’d work till I opened it. It’s effectively the Season system from Halo Infinite. You’ll earn special color unlocks for your hair, a new headband, hats, eyewear, gloves, microphones and more – the more you play, the more you earn.
If you are curious, there is a section entitled “Your Progress”. Here you can see a recap of your favorite artists, most played songs, favorite modes, and the top three songs by score, as well as any achievements you’ve received – though this doesn’t seem to be working as you can see below. Masteries Recap shows your XP level, how far you’ve gotten in the LSMA, and your overall masteries broken down multiple ways. This is handy if you want to see where your tendencies lie, or where you might practice to improve. Leaderboards is exactly what you imagine it to be – the top global singers by points. It’s nice to see these sub-sorted by genre, so you can nail your favorite genre, even if you can’t win the overall crown.
LSFest, or Local Stage gives you the chance to jump online and play with complete strangers. It’s set up like stages at a music festival. For instance, when we dove in, on the main stage was hip hop, but at the bottom was a time frame where you can join and sing together. At that time, we might have a genre that might fit better. It will drop you in mid-song, so be ready to sing whatever from the music catalog – a better name would be karaoke roulette.
Some of the genres aren’t fleshed out very well (how is there one song in RnB and one song in Hip Hop? Oh right, bad sorting), but with DLC being added every year, hopefully that’ll solve itself over time. I won’t pretend to know your musical tastes, dear reader, so I’ll instead give you the list to make your own call – here’s what’s in the base game:
BTS – Dynamite
Lady Gaga – Hold My Hand
Billie Eilish – Your Power
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Imagine Dragons – Bones
Shawn Mendes – When You’re Gone
JVKE – Golden Hour
SHAED – Trampoline
Ace of Base – The Sign
Lost Frequencies ft. Calum Scott – Where Are You Now
Marshmello & Jonas Brothers – Leave Before You Love Me
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
John Newman – Love Me Again
David Bowie – Life On Mars?
LSD (Labrinth, Sia & Diplo) – Thunderclouds
Ava Max – Million Dollar Baby
Rosa Linn – SNAP
Ed Sheeran & Elton John – Merry Christmas
Tom Odell – Another Love
GAYLE – abc (nicer)
But that’s not all. Additional songs are available to download for free through the voucher included in the box in the physical editions of Let’s Sing 2024. For digital purchases, these songs will automatically be included in your download.
Lizzo – About Damn Time
Meghan Trainor – Made You Look (Again)
Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA
Linkin Park – Lost
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
Anne-Marie – Ciao Adios
Bebe Rexha – Heart Wants What It Wants
P!nk – Never Gonna Not Dance Again
Bailey Zimmerman – Rock And A Hard Place
Luke Combs – The Kind Of Love We Make
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
David Guetta & Becky Hill & Ella Henderson – Crazy What Love Can Do
Pocahontas – Colors Of The Wind
Anne-Marie & Niall Horan – Our Song
Ed Sheeran – Eyes Closed
What’s missing most, however, is that these songs aren’t tagged. If you are a VIP subscriber, you get access to everything. If you let that expire, there’s no way to easily see what you’ll drop, instead having to head into the VIP Store, navigate to a list, and then memorize it. A simple icon fixes this. Here’s the pricing on that VIP system, which is broken down in tiers based on how long you’d like to keep it.
Karaoke is where you’ll probably spend your time once you’ve beaten the career mode. This mode has a “Classic” and “Feat” mode. Feat is set up for 2-4 players, where you sing cooperatively through a song. This is done whether there’s a duet part or not, so be ready to sing at any time as the song will simply alternate bars. At least the heads are pushed out of the way to the sides so the audience can watch the video. Classic mode is the karaoke mode you’ve played in prior installments.
I do want to commend Voxler for fixing the scoring system for Just Sing. The audio capture worked flawlessly, detecting our voices precisely where they landed – good or bad. It made the scoring feel fair, resulting in a better overall game experience than either previous games. Nice work!
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Let's Sing 2024
While the UI takes a huge step backwards, new ways to play are a step forward, making Just Sing 2024 is a marked improvement over both predecessors.