Preview: SingSpace – No need to sing in the shower, just warble your heart out in VR

It could be a hit - if you like karaoke.

Karaoke is one of those past times that people either love or loath. It’s one of those great unifiers no matter who you are, young or old, where people gather round a karaoke machine at home, or head out to the local karaoke bar for a sing song. At Oculus Connect 3, Harmonix unveiled its take on the past time with SingSpace, a virtual reality (VR) offering for Samsung’s Gear VR that not only allows players to sing popular tunes, they can also sing with friends whilst adding some inherently social videogame mechanics.

Firstly you have to ask yourself, do you like singing – regardless if you can carry a tune – and do you like singing in public. If that’s a yes to both then read on, as SingSpace is all about letting your vocal chords do the work.

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When starting the videogame you’ll be taking into a colourful cartoon world where you can pick an avatar and then dress them in a range garish garments to suit your tastes. Then its onto the mode you wish to sing in. For the demo Harmonix ran at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2017 there were two choices available, either sing on your own or head into multiplayer. The latter was the obvious choice, as previously mentioned karaoke’s all about the social element, singing with friends – or in this case the developer – and the general banter that ensues depending on how well you sang.

For the demo only five songs were available, but this being Harmonix there’s going to be plenty available when SingSpace launches this year. For this particular multiplayer demo you take it interns, singing whatever song you like – it doesn’t need to be the same. To build social interaction into the title the studio gives the person not singing a range of emoji style images to choose from, they can then select these however they like as they listen to the other person sing. These range from stars, and pizza’s, to bags of money and loads more. At the end of the song all of the selected icons are then tallied up as a form of score, allowing the singer to see how well the other person thought they’d done. Or you could simply congratulate them – or heckle if you so wished – using the mic.

It’s a reasonably fun solution for keeping a group of friends entertained whilst awaiting their turn to sing. Whether its novelty value will keep players interested enough for any length of time is another matter.

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Unlike Harmonix’s more renowned VR title Rock Band VR, SingSpace doesn’t have the pedigree to rely on to attract users. It’ll be down to the selection of songs that will really gain it some attention so hopefully the studio has some killer tracks planned for release.

On the face of it SingSpace is a quirky videogame that has its own charm and appeal. It’s certainly basic, both in the design and the mechanics, there’s not a great deal you need for a karaoke title. It just begs the question, do you want to sing your heart out in VR?

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