Right now Lips looks like just another karaoke game. The main difference during the singing mode is players tilt the microphone upwards to activate a “Star Stream” for bonus points. Players not singing can mash buttons on one of the four wireless controllers to play sound effects. I switched between clapping, banging drums, and roaring applause during “Young Folk" from Peter, Bjorn & John. In the demo of "Bust a Move”, a rap song from Young MC rhythm doesn’t matter as much. As long as you keep to the beat you score points and unlock medals, mini-achievements just for Lips.
Keiichi Yano, the Chief Creative Officer at iNiS, was around to answer questions, but his lips were sealed about how music from an MP3 player would work in Lips. Since iNiS probably already thought of Japanese songs, I asked if Korean songs would be compatible with Lips. Yano said they would, but didn’t explain if the lyrics would be in Hangul or Romanized text. At the end of the presentation Yano and a representative from Microsoft Game Studios mentioned they would announce how Lips works with MP3 players, other than music steaming, and reveal the “iNiS stuff” at a later date. The top secret “iNiS stuff” is the most tantalizing part of Lips since iNiS is known for making cheerful games like Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man.
Lips will be localized for multiple regions this year with region specific songs. Yano couldn’t answer if downloadable content would be cross region compatible (i.e. you can get European songs in North America or vice versa) and confirmed Lips is currently not coming out in Japan. A strange choice considering iNiS is located in Japan, but who needs Lips when you can go to Big Echo and have a similar experience.
Images courtesy of Microsoft.