Lips -- Microsoft Game Studios' competitor to the somewhat popular SingStar, and the potential target of more jokes than the Wii -- has been given the hands-on treatment by IGN's Nate Ahearn. Nate manages to pack quite a bit of useful info into a single-page article.
Unfortunately, the article doesn't touch on co-op, but some cursory investigation reveals that Lips will allow two players to sing together, and up to four additional players can connect via standard controllers in order to add percussion to the mix. The game appropriately calls these extras "Noisemakers", and there's even an achievement for staying in synch.
Click the "Read More" link to read some excerpts of the article, or click the "Source" link to see the entire write-up.
P.S. - You thought our nifty Live Feed was cool for Fable II? Wait until we make good on this mock-up banner...
Lips comes with two microphones out of the box for a ten dollar increase on the standard $59.99 price tag for games. The mics feel very solid and of a high build quality which translates into you being able to drunkenly drop them without fear of them shattering into thirty pieces. They also have some stylish LED lights that flash in accordance to the song and the mic's orientation. We were told they'd last in excess of twelve hours, and even longer if you flip off the LEDs in the option menu. The microphones have the ability to judge pitch, rhythm and vibrato and you can earn different rewards and multipliers for each.
UPDATE: We've learned via the MTV Multiplayer blog that these mics will NOT be cross-compatible with any other games at launch. Most likely, you already have a mic for Rock Band or Guitar Hero World Tour, but the Lips mics being wireless and reportedly very sturdy means that perfectionists may be interested in a post-release patch to include Lips mic support in other games.
Other people can play a small part in the fun as well. Up to four other controllers can join up (making for six players total) with the microphones and can hit different face buttons to add specialized sound effects to songs. Sync up the sound effects with the singers' performances and you'll earn the Party medal. Singers can also add their own effects in the form of echoes and other changes. One is even called "Bathroom" and is supposed to mimic the sound of someone singing in the shower.
You can stream music from your iPod, Zune, PC, Xbox 360 hard drive and they'll stream right through the game. While Lips can't pick out specific lyrics and put them up on the screen, it can detect pitch changes. Thus when you sing along to your own songs you will indeed be judged and scored accordingly, though without the worry of hitting the words just right.
Any song that is DRM free can be played and songs bought from the Zune Marketplace that do have DRM can also be streamed.
There's no doubt that Lips will be a fun game to whip out at a party to impress your friends with your vocal stylings, but it's still too early to tell if the developers nailed the "entirely new experience" goal that they set for the game.