Hum-a-Song pits you against 1-3 players per game, as you take turns humming portions of songs that your opponents will need to identify. You're forced to connect to your Facebook account, and can then access Party Ensemble Mode that will allow you to invite up to three of your Facebook friends into a single game with you. Unfortunately, this Party mode isn't available for strangers in this early version of the game, so you'll need to manually invite your friends to play with you to try it out or ignore the mode entirely. What's more, the game doesn't sort your Facebook friends list alphabetically, so if you're looking for a particular friend, you might need to scroll through dozens or hundreds of friends (depending on how many friends you personally have on Facebook) to find just the right one.
If you'd rather play with strangers, you'll be able to do so via one-on-one battles. At the beginning of a turn, a player is able to choose from a variety of musical genres, ranging from today's hits to 1970's classics (and a whole slew of categories in between). To celebrate the launch of the game, all of these categories are unlocked and are available to choose from, although future versions of the game will lock these song lists to coin prices. You can earn coins by accurately guessing songs that your opponents hum, or you can of course purchase them with real world cash.
Once you've chosen a song, you'll be able to listen to a short preview of the song straight from iTunes. It's then up to you to decide which portion of the song to literally hum while the game records you. This is the overall "hook" to the game, as music clues come in the form of hums from each player, rather than just listening to iTunes samples, but it's also what ultimately hurts the game the worst. That is, the game is far too susceptible to human error or trickery.
Whether it's a player that decides to sing a song's lyrics rather than hum it, or simply speak the title to you, there are plenty of chances to cheat or ruin the fun of the game, and we've experienced that first hand. Furthermore, if your opponent is playing in a crowded environment, you might struggle to identify the song due to background noises. This works both ways, as your own gameplay opportunities will be incredibly limited, if you tend to only play iOS games during breaks at work or school or when commuting. That is, you'd look rather silly humming into your iPhone on the middle of a crowded bus or train.
Thankfully, you're not forced to guess a song's title "out of thin air," and will have an assortment of words to choose from when it's your turn to guess. The title of the song is broken into individual words and it's located somewhere within that assortment, so it's then up to you to seek them out. You can purchase and use power-ups that will eliminate some unnecessary word options, and you can thankfully replay a player's "hum" multiple times if you're struggling.
Ultimately, Hum-a-Song feels like an experience that will be either loved or hated by players. If you're comfortable with your ability to hold pitch and rhythm, you might be lucky enough to find another player that can do the same (or will be greeted with hilarity when you find someone that can't), but the experience is nowhere near as fun as Song Pop, which the game is obviously looking to overtake. While Hum-a-Song's free price definitely makes it worth downloading and testing, I'm afraid it may not have what it takes to compete in the long run.
Click here to download Hum-a-Song on iTunes ---->
Have you tried Hum-a-Song or Song Pop? Which game is better at the "music game" genre? Sound off in the comments!