System Requirements
1.4GHz CPU
Windows Vista/XP/2000
32MB DX9 Video
DX 9 Sound
USB Microphone included!

Heavenly Harmony just got better! Heavenly Harmony Gold is an updated version that has new songs, new venues, a recording studio, and best of all, guitar and drum support. If you currently have Heavenly Harmony, you can get all of these features with a free downloadable upgrade. The instrument support is added with free jampaks that you can get from cloud9games.com. Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Guitar Praise guitars are all supported. Rock Band and Guitar Hero drums work too. The microphone is proprietary and has to be obtained through Cloud 9 Games for $30. If you are upgrading your existing Heavenly Harmony, you NEED to have the USB microphone beforehand.

For those of you who are not familiar with Heavenly Harmony, it’s a karaoke/American Idol style singing game. As you sing a song, there is a meter that has three different levels you fit into. You can be a shower singer, in the choir, or on tour. After each song you get to see if you qualified for a CD to be made and how popular it is. I’m typically a choir rated singer and my CD’s go out to family and friends. If you’re like me skill wise, there are some mini games you can play to help improve your singing accuracy. There’s a pitch detection tool called Range Finder which you can use to see what your vocal range is. Tune-A-Tuna is a mini game where you have to catch tuna into a basket. You move the basket left and right by singing one of two notes. Early on in that game, you can press example keys to get the right pitch until you learn it. Pitch-N-Pass is a racing game where you have to sing a note to get your car to move. In that mini-game you don’t get example keys. Lastly there is Do-Re-Mi where you have to hit each note consistently and it will display your accuracy at the end.

There are a couple of new additions to Heavenly Harmony Gold. There’s a free singing mode where you will not get any note guidance whatsoever. Another new feature is after you sing a song you can alter and produce it in the recording studio. You can add special effects like an echo or a chorus to your voice. You can even change the volume of your voice and music behind it. Once you’re happy with it, you can easily share it with friends and family and even send it right from the game. I wish there was a delete button to hide the evidence that I attempted to sing a song and failed miserably.

The interface has been revamped and finding what songs to sing has gotten a lot easier! The songs are now sorted by categories such as Gospel, Rock, Contemporary, and Christmas. Four new venues have been added, though you have to sing well to unlock them.

Thirty new songs have been added to Heavenly Harmony Gold. Here is the complete song list: http://www.cloud9games.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HHG01

Some of the new songs include hits like “Big House”, “Cinderella”, “In Christ Alone”, Blessed Be Your Name”, “Take You At Your Word”, “Holy is the Lord” and more. Ten of the songs come from the original Heavenly Harmony. If you want the other fifteen you have to buy the song pack for $15.

The songs themselves sound great. Some tweaks may have to be made to make the microphone sound good. I experienced lag and static feedback coming from the microphone. To fix those issues, you have to go into the options area and adjust the microphone buffer to a level that sounds the best. There are three levels (slow, medium, fast). On the fastest setting you won’t hear yourself singing through your speakers.

The game’s interface is easy to navigate and it can detect what model instruments are plugged in. It also checks to see if your sound settings are set incorrectly. If they are wrong, it will tell you the steps necessary to correct any problems it finds. It’s pretty much “dummy-proof”.

The graphics are the same quality as the previous version. The new venues look nice and the singer models are the same. When you’re playing instruments, the notes look the same as Guitar Hero. The notes themselves are pretty challenging even on the medium difficulty. Many Christian Games are easier than their secular counterparts and this is not the case here. Not every song currently has guitar or drum notes, but jampaks are continually being released to add instrument support for other songs, so there’s plenty of replayability here.

If you’re looking for an alternative to the other music games out there, this is definitely a game worth considering. You will always have to have a singer in your band, but the added instrument support takes this game to a whole new level. The song selection is great; there’s a song for every music taste and every style. The expansion packs are a must have as well.  My only disappointment is that the microphone is now proprietary for technical and compatibility reasons*.  Rock Band or the original Heavenly Harmony microphones will no longer work.  Don\'t let the microphone stop you from checking this game out.  :)

Game Play 18/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 9/10
Stability 4/5
Interface 4/5
Appropriateness 50/50

Overall 92%
*Here\'s is Cloud9Games\' explanation behind the new microphone standard: "We tested all the different USB microphones and since USB microphones all have their sound chip built into the mic, they are all different.  In other words, it was technically not feasible to allow multiple brands of microphones because of this issue;  Each chipset actually records your voice at a slightly different sample rate.  44.25, 44.31, 44.16 etc... Because of this, when you record a song and then play it back, the timing would be right on at the beginning of the song, but by the end of the song, your voice would be either behind or in front of the music track depending on which mic you are using.  Imagine the mess if someone had 3 or 4 different microphones connected.  They would be very unhappy with the result."

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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