Video games allow us to live out our wildest fantasies. Want to move to a deserted island and rehabilitate it? You've got Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Want to save the world and become a national hero? Play Dragon Age: Origins.
Some folks' wildest fantasy involves becoming a musical sensation. Karaoke games allow these players to do just that. They come in a variety of forms, from band performances to competitive styles. These games are the best that the karaoke genre has had to offer.
Updated on October 12, 2021 by Gabrielle Huston: Karaoke games have lots to offer the players, and different titles focus on different things, but the important thing is that everyone and anyone can enjoy them. This article has been updated to provide more details about when these games were released and to add a few new titles to the collection!
12 Karaoke Revolution (No Judgement)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, GameCube, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
- Genre: Karaoke
- Release Dates: 2003-2009
Karaoke Revolution is actually a series of games that were developed by the well-known Japanese game studio, Konami. It received high praise in its time: the 2003 edition made it into IGN's top 100 PlayStation 2 games and the Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 was the runner-up for GameSpot's award for Best Puzzle/Rythm Game in 2004.
Unlike some other titles, it was solely intended to be a karaoke game like you might find in a bar, but for your home. There were no other aspects of dancing, playing instruments, etc., and no judgement for how well you did.
11 SingStar (You're The Star)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
- Genres: Party and Music/Rhythm
- Release Dates: 2004-2017
SingStar was published by Sony to be exclusive for PlayStation consoles. The last game in the series was released for the PlayStation 3 and featured some of the biggest hits of the time, including "Clocks" by Coldplay, "Toxic" by Britney Spears, "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis, and "Mr" Brightside" by The Killers.
It was unique because the player could choose to lose the vocal track - there would be no one singing with them if they were singing.
10 UltraStar Deluxe (It's Karaoke For Your PC)
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
- Genres: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: May 2012
UltraStar Deluxe is a Karaoke game for your PC that's fairly well-received by players - the same can't be said for many other PC-based karaoke titles. It's built up from SingStar (the previous entry) but has been changed significantly. The main difference is that players can create their own songs and sing them in the game!
So, whether you're honing your skills, playing with friends, or singing solos for fun, UltraStar Deluxe is the game for you. As a bonus, it's completely free and open-source!
9 Lips (That's The Real Game Name)
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: 18 November 2008
Lips was a game from 2008, developed by Microsoft. The game came with a number of songs but was also designed to connect to the player's Zune or iPod so that they could sing any songs they owned on those services.
This feature was one of the things that brought down reviews of the game by a star or two, though, since this process didn't work well. Regardless, Lips was well received and spawned several spin-off titles.
8 Jam With The Band (Finding A Use For The DS Mic)
- Platform: Nintendo DS
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: 26 June 2008
The Nintendo DS gave game developers a lot of different tools to work with - it had two screens, one touch-sensitive and one that wasn't, as well as a mic, a stylus, and, in later versions, a camera. Some games ignored the possibilities, while others - like Jam with the Band - took up the mantle.
In this game, you play songs with over 60 instruments. Unlike other games with instruments, you can actually play chords rather than just notes. There also wasn't a "health bar" like in Rock Band or other such titles, so you always got to finish your song. And it used the DS' microphone to allow you to do karaoke in an alternative mode!
7 Sleeping Dogs (RIP)
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, macOS, Microsoft Windows
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- Release Date: 14 August 2012
Sleeping Dogs is an open-world title staring Wei Shen, an undercover police officer in the big city. The game opens on Shen being arrested during a drug deal, so it's not exactly the game that one would expect to feature karaoke - but it does!
Of course, the player needs to unlock all the songs to enjoy. Four are unlocked just by progressing through the main story while others require favours and other tricks to discover them. All-in-all, there are 8 songs to collect and an achievement for singing them all perfectly!
6 The Yakuza Series (Never Stop Never Stopping)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PlayStation Portable, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Stadia, Amazon Luna
- Genres: Action-Adventure, Beat 'em up, and Roleplaying
- Release Dates: 2005-2020
The Yakuza franchise might be a crime drama, but they have some surprisingly fun mini-games featured throughout the series. One of these is the Karaoke rhythm game that first appeared in Yakuza 3 and has been spotted in nearly every Yakuza entry since then.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon, the recent entry into the series from November 2020, featured an entirely new protagonist: Ichiban. However, they didn't abandon their karaoke roots: he and his party still get to jam out to some awesome songs like "The Future I Dream Of," "Spring Breeze," "Machine Gun Kiss, and "Bakamitai."
5 Guitar Hero 5 (Controversial)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: 1 September 2009
Guitar Hero 5 was a welcome addition to a long legacy of Guitar Hero titles. While it didn't receive as many rave reviews as Rock Band 3, Guitar Hero 5 received an 8 1/2 or better from many publications including GameSpot, IGN, Eurogamer, and more.
There was a significant controversy when the game was released that darkened some people's perspective - Kurt Cobain was included as a playable character. This rockstar had died from suicide in 1994 and was only one of two posthumous characters to appear in the series until this point (the other being Jimi Hendrix). Some people found Cobain's inclusion tasteless while others argued that one video game couldn't possibly hurt the star's legacy.
4 Kingdom Hearts 2 (Your Voice Still Carries Under The Sea)
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
- Genre: Action Roleplaying
- Release Date: 22 December 2005
The Kingdom Hearts games are infamous for their complex plotline spanning a long series of games, each of which was released on a different console. Though collections of the games have been created, now, so that players can experience all of them on one console, it's a lot of content to slog through.
If you manage to do it, however, you'll be treated to the singing quests whenever you visit Ariel in Kingdom Hearts 2! The music in The Little Mermaid is beloved by Disney fans, managing to be upbeat and charismatic in one moment while being quiet and contemplative the next. It only made sense to feature Ariel's beautiful voice (while she still owns it) singing alongside Sora.
3 Just Sing (The Real Mic Was The Smartphones We Met Along The Way)
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: 6 September 2016
Just Sing is a more recent example of a Karaoke title made by Ubisoft and released in September 2016. As a result, many more recent titles were included such as "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons, "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon, and "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic, alongside older hits.
It came with a USB microphone, like so many others, but was unique for allowing players to connect their smartphones to the game. That way, the smartphone mic could be used to play the game, rather than having to buy new ones just to play whenever guests came over!
2 Disco Elysium (Shine On-Stage)
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, Microsoft Windows, macOS
- Genre: Roleplaying
- Release Date: 15 October 2019
Disco Elysium isn't a dedicated karaoke game or dedicated musical title, but it still comes with a karaoke mini-game. Though the process can be a little long and arduous, it's worth it to earn the right from Garte to sing karaoke in the Disco.
You'll only be able to do it in the evening, so choose your night wisely. We also recommend a few points in Drama and a groovy outfit before you step onstage, just to make sure you don't bomb your performance.
1 Rock Band 3 (True Wish Fulfillment)
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Release Date: 26 October 2010
The Rock Band franchise was a smashing success from its first entry and Rock Band 3 is arguably where that excitement peaked. Journalists at Game Informer, Eurogamer, GameSpot, IGN, and more gave it 8-, 9- or 10-out-of-10-star ratings.
It featured a number of instruments: the traditional guitar, bass, and drums, a microphone for singing, and a keyboard. Fans adored the style and passion that went into creating this masterpiece and it undoubtedly has gone down as one of the best music games in video game history.
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