It barely feels like a month passes without another SingStar release, which is the way it should be of course. For fans of the most popular success story from the fringes of gaming, the general school of thought is 'the more the merrier'.
If SingStar could reach the point where there could be hundreds of editions sharing the market space together, covering every genre from the popular to the niche via novelties like cinema scores, then it would have exceeded expectations a dozen times over. More than that, it would have surpassed its inspiration, outgrowing Karaoke and moving steadily towards counting as a new format for music.
To do that of course, there would need to be a SingStar of extraordinary daring that not only moved away from mainstream genres, but from commercial pop music towards something very different indeed. But surely Sony wouldn't have the bravado to go as far as releasing a foreign language SingStar on English speaking shores?
Well, surprisingly they have done just that, and it is a credit to the electronics giant that they have the confidence in their sing-along series to pull off such a counterintuitive move when the general rule in the games industry is to farm out identikit releases. Of course the game in question is SingStar Bollywood, which lifts its contents from world famous Asian musicals and films.
Of course Bollywood is massively commercially popular despite a certain cult status, and in recent years, like SingStar it has burst into mainstream culture, from Hollywood Cinema to Big Brother. There is clearly a huge market for the game on these shores and abroad. However, this a release for dedicated Bollywood fans only, as it contains only a morsel of English language content, and most tracks are from artists and movies firmly established deep in the scene's core.
'Most of the music on offer comes from movie scores, with an emphasis on recent releases...'
If you are an old hand when it comes to Bollywood, but completely new to SingStar, the formula is simple. Described most directly, it is Karaoke with scoring. There are solo modes, though the best fun comes from the two-player modes, which let you sing duets as a pair, or compete in battles.
Most of the music on offer comes from movie scores, with an emphasis on recent releases like Kaal, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Don: The Chase Begins Again, but on the whole the range of tracks on offer, within the confines of the genre, provide a diverse range of music.
From modern, dance music-influenced disco with computerised beats through to more traditional, gentle tracks from the likes of Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham and Aashiqul, the diversity deserves some praise - though many PlayStation 2 owners may prefer at least some music from outside of cinema and more of the outstanding pop-music from the same culture.
Still, this is a Bollywood themed game, which means cinematic music. It is great fun to play if you speak the language, and is hopefully a sign for the bright future of SingStar. It brings to light the fact that an English language SingStar Musicals would be superb, but for now Sony's latest is brilliant, and could tempt a whole new kind of non-gamer to the wonderful world of video games.
VideoGamer.com Score8 Score out of 10
- A great piece of niche gaming
- An informed track selection
- Maintains the classic SingStar Formula
- Too many tracks from the same movie