The rhythm game genre has a solid niche in the video game industry, though the release of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ on Steam is looking to challenge that idea by giving PC players a chance to try out the series.
The game celebrates the history of the Hatsune Miku franchise with over 170 songs by popular Vocaloid singers including Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, KAITO, and MEIKO. With eye-catching 3D music videos that can be personalized by the player, the game brings both new and veteran fans together in this updated rerelease of Project DIVA Mega Mix.
▍Time Your Inputs to Match the Beat
The gameplay of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ will be no stranger to rhythm gamers. To begin, players must select a song that is available through the Rhythm Game mode, the difficulty they wish to play, and any potential modifiers that take effect during gameplay.
But the best thing about having a PC port is that you can use either a controller or a mouse and keyboard, to take on the rhythm. Between using a keyboard and mouse and a controller, the latter proved to be easier to play with on harder difficulties.
The complexity of the note and score in Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ definitely challenges your dexterity, as it requires you to utilize both the D-Pad and the buttons to keep up the quick beat. Being able to switch between keyboard and mouse to a controller without needing to restart the game is a plus, though the settings had to be reconfigured to adjust to the new playstyle.
The game also offers a set of ABXY, Playstation Buttons, or arrows to represent the notes or even a mix of each set, so it’s important to check that the symbols match up with your button configurations!
▍Gorgeous 3D Music Video with Famous Vocaloid Tracks
The 3D music videos during each play are a mainstay of the Project DIVA series, acting as a core feature for players since the release of its first title on the Playstation Portable. Given how much of the game’s content revolves around these videos, it’s clear that this feature is well-loved. The growing number of customization options accessible to players over the course of the Project DIVA series only further cements this feature’s place in the hearts of its fans.
These videos act as a double-edged sword, captivating your attention and making you consider how to change the models in subsequent playthroughs. On the other hand, the music videos could be distracting and make it difficult to concentrate. In some cases, the background videos even lowered the FPS of the game, preventing some of my button inputs from registering and causing the combo to break.
This issue still persists even when the settings were set to the bare minimum. I wish that the ability to toggle the music video display is given as an option when playing songs, given that Practice Mode disables the music video by default and could act as an accessibility option.
Another graphical problem was encountered when changing the dimensions of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ from the window to full screen in the options menu. Doing so altered the way colors were displayed on the screen, and could only be fixed by restarting the game.
▍Relax to Your Own Playlist
One impressive thing about Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ is that it allows players to configure their own playlist with the Custom Playlist mode. Each song can be played without the gameplay, letting the player enjoy purely gorgeous music videos, with romaji lyrics attached.
The animation in each music video is simply stunning, and it was clear that a lot of work was put into each one, regardless of whether it was 2D or 3D. Even when you switch the music video between the “Mega Mix” anime style or the “Future Tone” CG style, a feature that is exclusive to the PC version, the animations remained intact without any noticeable clipping.
▍Dress Your Singer to Your Tastes Before Sending on Stage
Playing songs in Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ will earn you VP, which can be used to purchase cosmetics that can alter the appearance of the models that appear in the music videos. Don’t worry, this cosmetics grind can be skipped by purchasing the Item Unlock Key DLC, which unlocks all modules, hairstyles, and accessories in the game.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ also lets you save several sets of model customizations, including a set of modules that apply to a custom playlist. Customization extends to allow the player to modify the models for each song by selecting the base module, and then further selecting the model’s hairstyle and any desired accessories. It wasn’t limited by character, either; for example, KAITO’s modules could be selected for a song sung by Megurine Luka.
Additionally, there is also a simple system to create your own custom t-shirts that the different modules can wear. This is a super unique system that allows your imagination to fly, as well as satisfies your wishes to create an outfit for the singer, though it may be hard to create a design that champs the gorgeous outfits in-game.
▍Is Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ Worth a Try?
Graphical issues aside, the gameplay of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ is smooth and provides options for when players want to take a break from the full-combo grind. Even with a relatively low-end computer, the game functions without issue, though its release on the Steam platform may help the genre gain the traction it needs to grow in the gaming community.
However, I don’t believe the game provides anything innovative to the genre, such as ways to create your own beat maps or the ability to customize some of the game’s UI to make it easier to view the music video in each song. Providing accessibility options like colorblind visuals and being able to adjust the size of the symbols would be a step in the right direction.
As the latest entry in the Project DIVA series, players should definitely give Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ a try. Regardless of if the person is a fan of Vocaloid or a competitive player, the game provides a simple-to-learn yet hard-to-master gameplay, and the ability to fully customize the cosmetic and gameplay visuals is a positive aspect of a game.
Though most of this game’s functionality remains similar to Project DIVA Future Tone, it contains many more songs than the former game and its predecessor, Project DIVA Mega Mix. With a plethora of songs to choose from, casual and veteran players alike who have yet to acquire Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ can keep an eye out if they are looking for a new rhythm game to delve into.