Wii Karaoke U Review
Is Iwata a closet Pantera fan? Does Miyamoto unwind with Freak On A Leash? Does Reggie post on Static-X’s Facebook page when bored in Nintendo meetings, asking them play in Redmond on their next tour?
It’s unlikely but possible if Wii Karaoke U is to be believed, because this has the most eclectic, bonkers song selection we’ve seen in any karaoke game to date.
It has Static-X on the song library.
The track selection in Wii Karaoke U covers the same staples you’ll see on any cocktail-stained songbook in karaoke bars, ranging from the standard soul classics to the Eighties power ballads to roughly 3,000 Oasis songs.
You’ll notice big gaps in the song choice when you start to poke about a bit – no Eminem, no Katy Perry, no Justin Timberlake, no Um-berrrr-ella (perhaps a good thing) – but Wii Karaoke U covers the basics well.
But what elevates this tracklist beyond the usual karaoke fare is that it has covered some really niche ground – Korn (what), Deftones (wait, what), Godsmack, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Dragonforce, Static-X, Judas Priest, Bad Religion and Megadeth (wait, hang on, WHAT).
So it sort of balances out, because who was honestly expecting Static-X to be on a Wii U karaoke game? Besides Reggie.
Wii Karaoke U has options. More than you’ll know what to do with.
You can change the tempo of the song, the key, you can even customise the background elements. There are different modes available, which range from a simple ‘choose songs and sing’ to a karaoke room to a score attack mode. There’s nothing remarkable or innovative here but it’s hard to picture any scenario where you want to sing that Wii Karaoke U doesn’t cater for.
The price scheme is also interesting. The game is free to download but you have to buy a ticket to use it – you can get tickets that are valid for an hour, a day or a month. It’s a little pricey though, which relegates Wii Karaoke U to parties rather than regular play, such as practicing on your own.
There are two problems with Wii Karaoke U.
If you don’t have a USB microphone, you have to use the Gamepad’s built-in microphone.
That in itself isn’t a problem but the Gamepad’s microphone really struggles to pick up your voice unless you hold it so close to your mouth that you’re in danger of accidentally eating it. “Like a real microphone!” you might be thinking, excusing the Gamepad’s need to be so close to your mouth, but then you won’t scrape your teeth on a touchscreen when using a real microphone.
The other problem is that the songs tend to be covers, and bad ones at that. They sound a little too cruise-ship-backing-band, even more so than you’d expect in a rundown karaoke bar. If we had to guess (and we don’t), this is the inevitable downside of having such a large song library without having to spend an obscene amount of money to get the licenses.
Confusingly, some tracks also have vocals in place where others don’t – if there’s an option to disable vocals, we didn’t find one.
But even so, we like Wii Karaoke U. A lot.
We like that it makes us picture Iwata freaking out to metal tracks. We like watching Miis do twee spins along to Pantera. We like that it’s listed Phil Collins under Children’s Music. We like that it has a million options that we’ll never use. We like that we can just pay for it when we want to use it.
But most of all, we like that we can sing Wuthering Heights and Symphony Of Destruction in the same evening.
Version Tested: Wii U