This review was kindly written by Sophia, the daughter of one of our reviewers.
- Developer: SEGA
- Publisher: SEGA
- Genre: Rhythm Games
- Release Date: 15th May 2020
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Vocaloid killed the radio star
Finally, Hatsune Miku, the world’s most popular Vocaloid star, has made her way to the Nintendo Switch. It’s been a long wait, but it has most certainly been worth it. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is not only filled with 100 toe-tapping songs and a multitude of customisation options, but a new T-shirt editor has been added to let you design clothes for your favourite stars to wear in their music videos.
Get with the beat
The gameplay is simple enough; press the buttons that appear on the screen to the rhythm of the wide range of songs. Depending on how close to the target you are, you can get a score of cool, good, safe, bad or miss. You must hit a certain amount of targets to pass the song. With so much visual energy on the screen, it’s sometimes very distracting, making it difficult to hit the button presses at the right time. With the beat and rhythms changing in frequency throughout each song, the game can at times be challenging, but still a lot of fun.
There are two modes: Arcade mode and Mix mode. Arcade mode is the mode used in all of the previous Hatsune Miku music rhythm games, and are played by pressing the buttons that appear on screen. Mix mode is exclusive to the Switch, where, holding a Joy-Con in each hand, you have to turn your wrist to align with the sausage-like shapes moving down the screen. Not only do you have to time your button presses but you also have to move your icon left and right with the motion of the controller, to line up with the falling beats.
Move with the music
One of the advantages the Switch has through its unique hardware design is that with two people holding one Joy-Con each, you can now have something never before seen in a Hatsune Miku game, co-op gameplay!
With two people, and one Joy-Con in their hands, suddenly the game fans have known and loved for years has taken on a new gameplay twist. It’s thrilling to work as a team to get the highest scores together, but also stressful trying not to be the one to lose a combo mid-song!
Both modes were very fun and enjoyable. Should you find these modes too hard, or if you want an additional challenge, you can change the difficulty level for each song. You can choose from Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme and, on some songs, Extra Extreme. Not all the songs are available on Easy, though, and have to be unlocked by completing other songs at certain difficulty levels.
The graphics are very clean and smooth, from the title screen to the music videos themselves. Some songs have 3D animation with well-designed characters dancing around the screen, while a few have stunning 2D art to accompany each melody. You can customise and change the design of each Vocaloid in the customization menu, although this won’t work for the 2D songs.
There is lots of colour in each and every song, accompanied by a massive amount of energy in the character’s movements. The backgrounds and animation are all unique and fit whatever song they’re for perfectly. A melancholy sombre background for a soulful song or a packed stadium for more upbeat records all adds to the visual and overall experience.
The audio is by far the most important part of any rhythm game. Project Diva acknowledges that and gives you a massive amount of songs to choose from. However, even though the game comes with over 100 songs, there are still many popular tunes not present from the back catalogue that will be missed by many Miku fans.
However, the main game still has fan favourites such as, “Freely Tomorrow”, and “Black Rock Shooter” and there are many genres of music to suit the mood of the player.
From bubbly pop songs to more serious and dark melodies, most are fun to listen to, with two of my favourites being ‘Roki’; by an artist called Daisan Wave, and ‘Dreamin Chuchu’ by emon, but there are a few that won’t appeal to all.
The song list may seem quite intimidating at first, but it’s only if you have played some of the previous Hatsune Miku games you would notice which of your favourites are missing. However, new or old, and with such a great mixture of styles, it was a very calming experience listening to different songs from different artists.
There are many extra options in the menu, such as your own playlists and other customization. The playlists are pretty self-explanatory; you can add songs to your own list and listen to them whenever you want. There’s also a T-shirt Creator, where you can design your own shirts for the Vocaloids to wear. It’s relatively easy to understand, although it is a little difficult to actually draw with it. It was very fun making my own designs and seeing the characters wear them in songs was a rewarding experience.
You can also change the appearance and character for each song with the massive variety of modules. (Modules are closets filled with an amazing array of costumes for each character).
Some songs have six characters singing in them and appearing in the video, all of them being interchangeable, and also customizable. Additionally not only can you change a character’s clothes but you can also add items like headgear, eye patches, and to be bang up to date in the current climate of social distancing, facemasks!
Some costumes are designed to fit certain songs, but you don’t have to use that design if you don’t want to.There are six main Vocaloids with four extras that all have a wide range of outfits and accessories to wear in whatever song you choose to put them in. I spent just as long customizing each Vocaloid for each song as I did actually playing the game!
In conclusion, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is a fun game that is worth both your time and money. Apart from the lack of a number of some of the enjoyable old songs, It’s very hard to find any fault with it. I hope that more people are able to enjoy this game as much as I did. From the customization to the different modes, I had a lot of fun with it, and via the Switch, learnt to play the game in a whole new way which was very exciting.