With some games, as soon as you turn them on you just know they're going to be awesome. There's something about the splash screen or the music or the introduction that just hits you and makes you aware that you're about to be in for a whole lot of fun. When I first loaded Karaoke Revolution, my Nintendo Wii crashed. It sat there, pretended as though it were loading something (but with no progress bar), and after 10 minutes of watching the same hints/tricks/info about the game pop up over and over again I shut the Wii off. Upon rebooting, I was in fact, finally, able to access the game… and with virtually no load time.
The first stop in Karaoke Revolution is creating one's own personal character (because what fun would the game be if you didn't create a character to pretend was you), and things didn't get any better there. The menus in the game are a mess. It is difficult to find the options you're looking for and things don't act as you think they should – as a normal person would suggest they ought to be. In starting to create my avatar I opted to do the face and body before the clothes – that way I'd get a better idea of what I would look like in the outfits.
Accessing the menu to alter one's face and body, I opted to start with my hair as the short yellow hair completely threw me off, but oddly their was no way to change either hair length or color (eyebrows were changeable there however). Weird, but I pressed on, creating a very cartoony version of myself – with short yellow hair. Next up was the outfit menu, and there I found the option to change hair. Very weird. I then opted to change the hair color to a more appropriate brown, and with that done went to change the hairstyle, and doing that reset the hair color – style has to be chosen before color can be (something to do with rockers wanting funky hair cuts and odd colors, I gather). However, with facial hair, color can be chosen wholly independently of style.
In short, after first causing my Wii to crash, once I was able to access the game itself I was in no way more impressed. Karaoke Revolution just doesn't have the feel of a well-organized, well-structured, well-presented game.
While playing the game didn't change the above opinion, Karaoke Revolution – and the 50 songs it contains – did prove to be incredibly fun and almost entirely made up for the early deficits of the game. It plays out much like one would expect – plug in the included microphone (which one certainly wishes was wireless, but wireless is only available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions); choose a mode, Career and Party being the ones you'll most frequently choose from; if playing in Party mode select the various options you want to employ (if you can find them in the menus); and sing until your throat gets sore.
As with singing/rhythm games, the closer you perform a song to the way it ought to be performed, the more points you score and, in career mode, the more stuff you unlock. There is no maximum score multiplier, so if you hit the right notes throughout in a long song, scores can go exceedingly high.
The graphics, as stated above, remain cartoony throughout – cartoony being the default Wii graphical choice as it allows for an overly broad, none-too-detailed approach. Additionally, you'll find that your avatar doesn't always mimic your singing (or the song as it should be sung) quite as well as it should. The lips often seem slightly out of time, and the dancing is stiff. The audio is good, and background and lead singer volumes can be adjusted independently and in the middle of a song.
Karaoke Revolution has a lot of good things going for it – there are tons of venues (which are customizable) to choose from, lots of ways to alter matches between two people, acceptably customizable avatars, and 50 songs (and on the PS3 and Xbox 360 version one can download 200 songs from earlier installments in the franchise). It is, however, badly laid out with none-too-pretty menus. Additionally, it should be noted that it is almost essential to go out and purchase a second microphone so that two players can perform at once.
The long-running franchise has probably done the right thing by dropping the American Idol theme from the game, but still seems to have some kinks to work out before it's really ready for the spotlight.
Karaoke Revolution is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Lyrics, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.