A few weeks or days ago (I have no idea what day it is anymore) I released my Master List of 2017 and talked about my gaming adventures for the calendar year.
In that list, I mentioned one of my favorites of 2017: Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd for the PSVita. While I had a great time with it, eventually I burned through all of my favorite songs until they wore me down, so I completed the game and retired it.
A few months into 2017, I also picked up a used copy of a game for the 3DS: Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX! I played it for maybe 20 minutes and then shelved it for a while, figuring I could return to it whenever and jump in for a few songs. Well, fast forward to the other day and I had completely forgotten that I owned it. That is, until a conversation in the comments with fellow blogger Fed that made me realize that I’m not alone in the world for being a grown man who loves the rhythm series featuring SEGA’s blue-haired diva. It also made me realize that I had a barely played copy of a new (to me) Hatsune Miku game!
Well, it’s been about 7 hours now, and I’ve made quite a dent in Project Mirai DX. It’s gotten to the point where I must wonder.. is this a better game that Project Diva F 2nd on the Vita? With the tremendous differences in hardware and gameplay, this was going to be hard to figure out. Then again, one doesn’t need to necessarily be better than the other, right? So, here are some thoughts on Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX for the Nintendo 3DS!
One of the things that immediately separates this game is the overall vibe that you get when you start a new game. The presentation is far different that Diva, wherein you are shown a main menu which lets you choose your gameplay mode of choice – buy outfits and decorate the rooms of your various divas, view extras, or simply jump into the rhythm game. In Mirai, you are essentially hanging out in a little screen that lets you pick where you would like to go. In fact, there is also a “Hangout Mode,” but I’ll talk about that a little later. Right off the bat, seasoned veterans and new players alike are most likely after Rhythm Game mode.
In Rhythm Game mode, it’s pretty self-explanatory – you pick a song and start playing. But wait! Two glaring difference s between Diva and Mirai immediately show themselves. With Mirai, the Hatsune Miku series has introduced a new mode of play: Tap. With each new song, you can choose how you’d like to play it, with the touch screen or with the buttons and D-pad, and the difficulty, of which you can play Easy or Normal before Hard is unlocked on a per-song basis.
Now I’m not normally a fan of touch screen rhythm games, particularly after playing Superbeat Xonic on the Vita and just not enjoying the touch-centric gameplay. However, the 3DS prides itself in its touch screen, and for good reason. You play with a stylus, and the controls are tight. I’m talking so precise that it makes the gestures in Superbeat look like a bad joke.
And this precision is exactly how Project Mirai DX steals the show when it comes to controls. It’s so satisfying to tap along with the stylus, that it was soon after that I abandoned traditional button mode altogether, much to my surprise. Really, I was expecting to be 100% button-based, coming from the Vita.
Speaking of the button efficiency, I will say that the D-pad on the 3DS is a lot less tight on the Vita, and so the precision isn’t all there, particularly if you are a two-handed-tapper (that is, using both hands to play, rather than double-timing your dominant hand.
Now’s probably a good time to explain how Hatsune Miku tapping works – as the buttons to press show up on-screen, represented by ABXY, you can also press the D-Pad in the direction for that letter button. So if the song goes AAAA, you can hit those notes with “A-A-A-A”, or “A-Right-A-Right” or “Right-Right-Right-Right” – any combination will work. This affords left-handed folks the same playability and ease of hitting notes.
The precision to button tapping is there, but it definitely takes longer to get used to, unlike Diva where it clicked with me immediately and I was getting “COOL” on every note.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with the perfect feedback in this game. The 3DS is still a slightly aged piece of hardware and not once did I feel like it was reacting sluggishly. It seems like I’m trying to give the thing acupuncture, but it still does a terrific job!
What’s a Hatsune Miku game without strangely addicting music? That’s right – I’m an old metal head from back in the day and something about the heart-pumping dance music coming from Hatsune Miku just does it for me. The music is, naturally, absolutely fantastic and gets the knees bouncing.
At one point, my wife glanced into the office while I was playing and thought I was having some kind of episode.
One of the things about Project Diva F 2nd that I adored was how the genres were all over the place. For the uninitiated, the music in Hatsune Miku games are written by many different artists and producers, and naturally, you’re going to have all different styles of music. Nothing sounds quite like anything else.
There’s a huge range of BPM (listed next to each song) and they range from melodic, slow jams, all the way to downright cramp-inducing fast swing music. In the middle is where you find yourself most of the time with nice pumpin’ jams that keep the head bouncing and the focus laser sharp.
All in all, there are 48 songs in this deluxe game, and they will keep you entertained for hours.
Oh, and did I mention there’s a jukebox?
I discovered this features as of the day of this writing. And boy, don’t I feel foolish – it’s accessible from practically the very beginning of the game!
From the main menu, you can open up the jukebox that lets you play any of the completed tracks from the game. The kicker? It lets you listen with the 3DS lid closed! I’m aware that the 3DS itself can be used in this manner through the built-in media player, but I had no idea that there were games that did this. I spent the whole day boppin’ around to my custom playlist, because naturally you can create two playlists of all your favorite tracks. They really thought of everything here.
Charm and Personality
I mentioned “Hangout Mode” earlier. In hang out mode, you start off by calling whichever diva currently is occupying the top screen. Just to clarify – I literally mean that you “call” them, as in, you yell something at the 3DS microphone to get their attention. It’s nearly.. dare I say.. adorable. I don’t use that word lightly, you guys.
Once you have the attention of your chibi diva, you can give them snacks, where you, surprise – watch them eat the snacks that you have purchased, you can play a rousing game of Mikuversi, which is essentially Reversi, and you can also give them MP (Miku Points) to spend on clothes, snacks, etc. There’s even a whole log of their financial expenditures. It’s ridiculous and hilarious reading through some of them. For example:
Went to the zoo and got to pet a rabbit. Everything is right in the world.
Hit my alarm clock a little bit too hard. Had to buy a new one.
Went to one of those conveyor belt sushi places. Ate 20 plates in one sitting!
This goes on from present day all the way back to the day I bought the game and started a new file, and it gets even more ridiculous.
All of this equates to a huge degree of charm. What separates Hatsune Miku from being just another rhythm game is that there are actually personalities behind all the button-mashing (and in Project Mirai DX’s case, screen-stabbing).
There’s so much charm and fun to this game, it would be impossible to cover everything in a simple Thoughts On write-up. If you’re considering trying a Hatsune Miku game for the first time, or you’re a long-time veteran of the series wanting to expand your collection, there’s a ton of content to keep you entertained here. From going shopping and decorating all your diva rooms, to renting high-class luxury apartments and actually having to pay rent, from recording your own songs to setting up your own AR dance shows, this series continues to be over the top with things to do when your fingers need a break. It’s a great introduction to the series, that’s for sure.
Highly recommended, A++, buy the thing, it’s amazing, etc. I ain’t ashamed to say it. I love Hatsune Miku, and so should you.
Thanks for reading! Looking to get into an awesome game series and interest level currently piqued? Have any questions for me about the game? Hit me up in the comments down there below and I’d love to get another player reeled in.