Developers of SongPop Sing a Victory Tune
Here's my review of why they deserve to.
If you haven't heard of SongPop yet, I wouldn't be very surprised. The game only started in May of this year, making it just barely over half a year old. Nevertheless, for 2012, SongPop has reached the top of Facebook's charts for most popular game of the year. And while I'm usually weary of games featured on Facebook being critically praised, this time I'm in agreement with the verdict. SongPop is actually a very good, fun game to play!
Let me start with the basics of the basics: how the game is played. The way that things work in SongPop is that a song is played for two different players to hear. Then, they are shown 4 choices of either song names or artists who sing the tune heard, and each player must choose the correct one as fast as they can. If they guess the song faster than the person they are playing against, they win the match! Sounds simple, and it is. It makes the game pretty easy to just pick up and play.
Each match will have 5 "rounds," so you'll have 5 chances to guess a song. Guessing them in a row will give you a combo bonus, so the best way to win is naturally to try to guess all 5. The amount of time it takes to guess the song also affects the score. So, even if your opponent gets every one, if you can do so faster, you will win!
But the game is much more in depth than just a simple multiple-choice guessing match. The amount of songs to choose from is staggering. The way the songs are divided are into playlists. Each playlist has a theme, such as the 80's collection, Metal, Modern Rap, or even Video Games. There are also rather...specific playlists including Glee (all of the songs from the television show), Classic Christmas, Bon Jovi, or Summer 2012. As I look at the game's Facebook application page right now, there are 99 playlists to choose from. Each of them has hundreds of songs that can be used to try to stump the players, and they are updated very regularly.
There is some strategy involved in choosing what playlists to acquire, because before each matchup, you are given a choice between 3 playlists you currently possess. It is random, so choosing popular playlists may make things easier for you. However, choosing obscure playlists (Indie or Progressive, anyone?) might give you an edge over some opponents. Obviously, those with more diverse musical tastes have a big advantage here!
But it isn't just about the songs. What else does the game have to offer that makes it so attractive to new users? Well, for starters the way the scoring system works is pretty nifty. So, your friend challenges you to Modern Rap and you're a rocker. Or maybe they came at you swinging with J-pop and you've never heard Asian music in your life. Well, the scores are divided in tournament style, so you can just counter them with your own playlist of choice. Basically, every time your opponent beats you, they get one point. If you win, you get a point. At the end of the week, it is your wins--that is, the games you played where your points are higher-- that win you powerups.
Powerups are another cool thing about SongPop. They allow you to do one of two things: either you can eliminate two of the four of any song choices during a round (thus making it much easier to make your choice, or guess), or you can shuffle your playlists before the match starts. The only way to gain these (for free) is through the weekly results, so there is a lot of incentive to do well!
Who in the world doesn't like music?
Whether you win or lose, you still stand to gain in SongPop. No matter if you come out on top or not in your friendly battles of musical wits, you'll be rewarded with coins. Coins are used for-you guessed it-to buy the playlists. They can also be used to buy more powerups, but at a pretty steep price. The number of coins is based on whether you win a match or not. If you win the duel, and thus receive your +1 score against your opponent for the week, you'll get 3 coins. If you lose, you'll still gain 1. So, as long as you keep facing off against people, you'll always come out with something to show for it.
It's not all about just playing to gain coins and playlists, though. What makes SongPop more than a simple Facebook time-waster yo me is that it can actually expand your musical tastes. At the end of a match is a screen like this:
This screen shows you which songs you guessed correctly, as well has how fast you were able to guess them. But when you hover over a certain song, as I did above with "I'll Kill You" from the game Silent Hill, a set of buttons pops up that each link to the song on a media sharing site. These include iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, and Spotify, which all allow you to explore the full song and/or purchase it. Since the clips used for the game only last about 10 seconds, this gives you a chance to learn about new music that tickles your fancy while playing. There's definitely been some music I've looked into after hearing bits of them in this game, especially to see the music videos of some awesome songs on YouTube.
At its core, SongPop is still a game on Facebook though. That means it will occasionally post things to your friends' walls, letting them know when you pass high scores, or show random songs you guessed correctly along with the time it took you. You also have the option to share on your friends' walls whenever you beat them, if you're one to boast : P
Ultimately, the best way to really see why SongPop is on top is to just play it for yourself. If you're looking for someone to challenge, look me up on it. My account name on SongPop is brandon22190. Better bring your A-game, though. I've gotten pretty good at remembering songs from the game, and I can point and click with the best of 'em!
The game is worth the hype it's generating; and definitely worth trying out at least once.