Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX Review (3DS)

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Developer: Crypton Future Media
Publisher: Sega

Main Review

Review Context: I love playing rhythm games since I love using music to keep up my eye hand coordination. I became a fan of the genre with Dance Dance Revolution games before Guitar Hero changed it up. I discovered the demo for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F on the PSN Store and loved it. I have played Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F and Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd.
Date of Playthrough: August 7, 2016

What started as software for creating vocaloid (sound generator) from Crypton Future Media, to becoming the company to create a cute blue-haired diva and help resurrect rhythm games (though the popularity in the US died with Guitar Hero and Rock Band), the Project Diva games have become a hit on PlayStation 3, Playstation Vita, and arcades. Only one platform is missing out on the fun; Nintendo. While the boom hit when the Nintendo Wii U was being released, its little brother, the Nintendo 3DS, has been selling well after the price drop. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai was released, but only in Japan and thanks to region locking, importing the game was out of the question. Its sequel Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (which is mostly an update) would be released the following year, but this time the game would get a worldwide release…two years later. Does Hatsune Miku and company still have what it takes on the 3DS, or does their new look have you go back to the PlayStation version?

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Graphics

Due to the limits of the Nintendo 3DS, they decided to change the style of the characters to a Nendoroid style (big head, little body). This style may freak out some, but if you watch anime this style is normally used for comedy. The opening CG is done well, and the 3D during gameplay is stunning but distracting, as stated in my Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd review. There is a lot of variety with each song to keep you guessing of what colorful scheme they will go for in the next song. With the characters showing emotion and personality as they sing and chill in their pad, you can’t help but feel that you don’t want to see them sad by failing a song. If you do fail, it’s presented in a cute way to not get you frustrated.

Controls

With it being on a handheld, with touch screen support, the game gives you two ways to play the game; you can use the classic button scheme where you press the face buttons when prompted or use the touch screen. The touch screen works differently when you unlock hard difficulty because you have to tap three buttons. This becomes challenging because of the small screen. The main button is on the middle, while the other buttons are shrunk and moved to the top left and right portion of the screen. During intense moments, you may find yourself hitting the wrong button because of this. The hard difficulty for the button scheme has all the face buttons being used, but if you have the button layout memorized (as you should), the challenge is almost nonexistent. If you want, you are able to use the touch screen with the button scheme as the face buttons are displayed. The game does support the built-in mic so you can talk to your diva in Hang out mode.

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Design

A single player game like this being put on a handheld made me assume that the content would be light for the play for five to ten minutes and a ‘return to it later’ type game. I was wrong, as the content is packed with the same amount of content found on the PlayStation 3 games.

There’s the main game that consists of over forty songs for you to pass with a C rating or higher (S+). Once you complete a song, you unlock hard difficulty, which adds more button and directional inputs. You also unlock money that you can use for abilities and customizing your diva. Abilities can be used before a song to help you out on getting a higher ranking. You can also customize how the game looks before you start by changing the button icons and moving them around to your liking. You can also change who performs.

Once you take a break from the main game, you can ‘hang out’ in the pad with your diva. All the customization is present here, as you can change the room by going to the store and spending your hard-earned cash on clothes, house décor, and food. You can give your diva an allowance for their troubles. There is support for in-game achievements known as Stamps, and a feature that I feel is useless but cool, is the alarm clock. Yes, you can have the game be your alarm clock to wake you up to tunes from the game or your own music you create. About as interesting as the playlist feature on Super Smash Bros for 3DS.

The Dance Studio is where you go to create music and dance moves. There is an option for beginners and pros when it comes to editing your tunes and moves. You can also add effects to premade songs for extra flair (Wooo). Once you’re done, you can upload your content via StreetPass and/or SpotPass through your Profile card.

The movie theater is where you can watch unlocked music videos, which is nice since you’ll be able to appreciate the quality of the video without having overlays obscure the scene.

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Does it stop there? Nope. There are two additional games included. One is the underrated classic Puyo Puyo 39. If you played Kirby’s Avalanche or Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine then you’ll be familiar with the gameplay. The others is a Tetris-like game that relies on combos to remove blocks, which look like gummies, while creating unbreakable blocks for your opponent. The other is Mikuversi, which is a take on the board game Reversi that has players taking turns to fill the board with your color (black or white). You can only play against the A.I.

If you just want to chill with your singer, go to Hang out mode. There, you will see your character going about their business unless you call them by mic or button press. You can see their reaction to food, giving them money, or playing Mikuversi. When you give your character money they will spend it on items when you turn the game off.

Not sure if this is included in all versions, but my copy came with AR Cards. So, if you want to show off how much you love this game, it will have the character appear in a photo with the 3DS camera. Since the photos are saved to an SD card (microSD for New 3DS), you’ll be able to share these photos with friends. As an added bonus, the AR cards will play a live song through the 3DS camera.

Sound

All the songs are performed in Japanese with subtitles shrunk on the top of the touch screen, but you’ll be busy pressing or touching buttons to look. Each voice is sung well and the beats of the music is well, despite mostly being repeats to previous games. There are new songs added, but I appreciate the soundtrack. The sound clarity on the 3DS is nice and loud, but I recommend playing with headphones to get the full experience.

Similar Games Liked:
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3)
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd (PS3)

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