I’ve always loved rhythm games, they’re casual enough to pick up and play yet they also provide a lot of challenge once you crank up the difficulty, enough to keep you occupied for hours. As such, I own almost every popular game in the genre you can think of, from the countless Rock Band games and expansions to the rather niche Final Fantasy Theatrhythm games, not to mention every Hatsune Miku title that’s released on the PS4, PS Vita, and PSVR. So, when I saw that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I had to check it out and see if it lives up to the brilliance of its bigger counterpart on the PS4 (Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone).
Developed by SEGA AM2 and published by SEGA, this latest musical experience from the Hatsune Miku series is more than a simple port of the PS4 version, it offers new content, new songs, new anime visuals, and even some new gameplay mechanics. So, although the game itself contains less than half the number of songs we saw on the PS4 (approx 220), there’s still a multitude of songs included in the base game as well as a few DLC packs you can pick up to further add to your library.
I’ve spent the last week playing this and the PS4 version, but which did I prefer? Let’s find out…
First things first, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix isn’t like the Project Diva X series, there’s no story or narrative within this series – just like on the PlayStation 4 edition – it’s simply a list of songs which you can play as much as you want. As such, this particular series within the franchise is more suited for fans of Hatsune Miku more than newbies, in my opinion, as it allows you to play the songs you love without any restrictions or unlocks required – providing the songs you like are included! I’m personally not the biggest fan of fully pre-unlocked games, as I like the feeling of progression, but I know a lot of the fans love having everything at their fingertips as soon as they turn on the game.
If you’ve not realised already, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is a rhythm game in which you tap the buttons as they line up on the screen, think Dance Dance Revolution for your fingers or musical QTEs (if you’ve never dabbled in the genre before). The general mechanics are very similar to Cytus Alpha and the Persona Dancing games, which I’ve reviewed previously, but Hatsune Miku has its own feel to it, it’s like OSU and the old Elite Beat Agents game (who remembers that?). Notes fly in from the side and you have to tap the corresponding button in time to the music whilst trying to not get distracted by the dancing in the background!
In order to spice things up a little, there are four difficulties to work through for almost every song and a fifth ‘Extra Extreme’ difficulty for 37 of them. In total, if you count the difficulties as ‘new songs’, there are 413 versions of the songs to play though – that’s a lot – although that’s made up of 101 unique songs. As I said previously though, all songs and modes are unlocked from the start, but in order to play a song in it’s Extreme and Extra Extreme mode, you need to have ‘cleared’ it on Hard first – so there is a little progression included for those who have fast fingers!
There are three Switch-exclusive features which I could see when comparing to the PS4 edition, presented in the form of Controls, Design, and Content.
Just like most Switch ports these days – the developers have taken advantage of the motion controls found within the Joy-cons. When choosing a song to play, you’re presented with either the Arcade Mode (standard) or the new Mix Mode. Mix mode is a new way to play the game, requiring you to hold the Joy-Con as if it’s an old-styled joystick (with your thumb on the ZL/ZR triggers) and then rotate your hand left or right to move an Arkanoid-like paddle on the screen in order to line up the falling notes. There are only three difficulty settings in this mode but all 101 games are included (only 99 at Normal for some reason).
Also, if like me, you constantly get confused by the layout of the Switch buttons (due to it being the reverse of the Xbox layout and you mainly play on the PS4), you can actually change the on-screen button prompts to either directional arrows, the Switch buttons, or PlayStation icons. That’s right, in a game on the Switch, you can have it prompt you with the official PlayStation shapes! I can’t tell you how much it helped me by switching to the PS format.
You can design your own T-Shirt! If you have very small fingers, a steady hand on the Thumb Stick, or an official Nintendo Stylus, you can draw yourself a unique design which can be worn by all of the characters in the game – fully customised on both the front and back. This feature wasn’t part of the previous version of the game, making this edition much more customisable and unique to you. As per usual, I created a GamePitt shirt for Hatsune Miku, it’s not the greatest but its free promotion to all of her male Japanese fans!
Although the setlist is much smaller than the combined FutureTone and ColourfulTone collection on the PS4, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix has a bunch of new songs which haven’t been included in the Project DIVA series before. For a full list of all the songs which are included within this game, click here: https://miku.sega.com/megamix/#song – There’s far too many for me to put them all here in this review, see if you’re favourites from the series have made an appearance! Unfortunately, Humorous Dream of Mrs. Pumpkin isn’t in the list 🙁
**I’ve just noticed that SEGA has announced that they are releasing a 10-track DLC pack for the PlayStation 4 edition which contains the new songs. So, for now, they’re exclusive but they are coming to the PS4 soon*
If you thought the only customisation was the custom T-shirts, you’d be very wrong. Just like previous games, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is bursting at the seams with appearance-changing accessories and costumes for you to mix-and-match with. In total there are 204 accessories for your head, face, chest, and back, bringing a lot of designs over from previous games as well as a few new ones. Sadly, I couldn’t see any Nintendo-specific options such as the Master Sword or a Bowser Shell (so you could make Hatsune into Bowsette) – this would have been a nice touch seeing as this version is setting itself aside from the PS4 version with some new features.
In terms of the costumes, or Modules as they’re known, you have 537 in total for the six main characters and a few extra characters. That’s a lot of options! But, seeing as the game wants to make me look silly, the vast majority of these aren’t automatically unlocked from the start (despite what I said previously). Instead, you must pay to unlock them with coins which you earn in-game by playing the songs. The higher your grade (based on you successfully clearing a song), the more money you get.
Again, there are no Nintendo specifics here – where’s our Mario, Prince Zelda, Prince Peach, and Yoshi outfits! – but there were a number of SEGA franchise cameos. I saw Space Channel 5 (which is cool as Space Channel 5 VR is actually getting a Hatsune Miku DLC soon), Sonic, and a number of Phantom Thieves from a small game you may have heard of called Persona 5… What I’ve done is simply bought a few modules for each character and set them all on random, that way each song they appear in they will dress differently.
Slide the below for an image comparison (wiggle it if the image doesn’t appear):
Although the game is very much a single-player experience, it does include the ability to upload your high scores so that you can see how you compare to the rest of the world. This leaderboard is also only for the Switch edition as it doesn’t pull in any of the results from the PS4 players. The only issue with this is, as far as I can tell, you have to manually upload your scores via the ‘Rankings’ menu which is within the ‘Gallery’ menu, then wait for your scores to register. It may perform this automatically once the game is live, but as of today, it doesn’t appear to.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix isn’t only a game in which you tap away to the incredible music, it’s also your own portable private concert. You can either watch each song on a per-song basis (by choosing to watch rather than play whilst picking a song), or you can line up a bunch of songs in a playlist then sit back and enjoy your private performance. The one downside with this is the much lower quality than the PS4 edition. I’ve put a sliding comparison image above (you may have to wiggle the slider if you can’t see it above ‘Additional Features’) showing you how the two compare. I personally think the visuals are perfectly acceptable but you can see a clear compromise in order to keep the animations running as smooth as they do.
There are four modifiers you can swap between in order to make your game more difficult or easier. First, you can enable ‘no-fail mode’. So, if you’re having trouble with a song, or you’re new to the game and just want to have fun without the risk of failing the song before it’s finished, turning this on will stop the game booting you out. The next three all make the game much harder – you can speed up the notes which fly in, make the notes vanish before passing the markers on the screen (so you have to guess or match the music with your button presses), and you can make the notes appear just before you have to tap them.
I personally thought this was a very small number of modifiers, but it’s the same as the PS4 version. I was thinking about the Project DIVA X series as that one has a bunch of other options which affects the gameplay.
Additional content (DLC)
I’ve mentioned a few times about how the PlayStation 4 version has more songs, well, that’s because the game is made up of three parts. On the PlayStation, you can get the Free-to-Play edition which contains a few songs which is expanded once you purchase the FutureTone and/or ColourfulTone expansion packs, each adding over 100 songs to the catalogue. So, I think Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is going in a similar direction, only scrapping the Free-to-Play version due to there being a demo out instead.
The base game contains 101 songs but day-one, there are a bunch of DLC packs out for you to buy – six-packs with six songs in each (I believe there’s a bundle as well,
a bundle costing more than the actual game The bundle is £29.99 and the game is £34.99). I would be angry and complain about the amount of DLC and the price of it, but SEGA did the same thing recently with the very expensive Persona 5 Royal DLC and the launch Catherine: Full Body DLC – so I presume it’s their new model, sell a game and release a bunch of DLC to boost the price day-one, content which should really have been in the base game… But let’s not go there today…
Click the ‘spoiler’ tabs below to see what songs are within each pack you can buy, as well as the contents of the FREE DLC pack
which is going live tomorrow as well (the Free DLC is going live on the 12th June 2020):
– Close and Open, Demons and The Dead
– Electro Saturator
– Roshin Yukai
– Double Lariat
– Ashes to Ashes
– Break It, Break It!
– When First Love Ends
– Mousou Sketch
– Solitude’s End -extend edition-
– Butterfly on Your Right Shoulder
– No Logic
– Hm? Ah, Yes.
– Gigantic Girl
– Summer Idol
– Thousand Year Solo (DIVA edit)
– Lover’s Suicide Oblivion
– World’s End Umbrella
– VOC@LOID in Love
– God-Tier Tune
– Though My Song Has No Form
– What Do You Mean!?
– Deep Sea City Underground
– Rin-chan Now!
– Two Breaths Walking
– Systematic Love
– Dream-Eating Monochrome Baku
– The secret garden
– Look This Way, Baby
– Sekiranun Graffiti
Although I don’t agree with the pricing, I do like that each pack is basically £1 per song and you can simply pick up the ones you want. However, I’d love for the game to operate like Rock Band and actually have a sample of the songs within the game itself, so you know what they sound like before you buy them. Fans of the series will spot their favourites immediately but those new to the franchise won’t know what to expect unless they look up the songs online first.
**Update: I’ve just looked on the store and seen a FREE T-shirt design pack, a DLC which unlocks four individual T-shirt packs – available NOW. Also, there’s an £8.75 ‘unlock’ DLC which unlocks all the items, modules, hairstyles and accessories within the game – removing the need to earn coins to buy them.**
After sinking numerous hours into the game in both handheld and docked mode, I can honestly say that the compromises in the visuals are obvious but they help the game remain stable and at a solid framerate throughout. I never found anything too offputting and even when watching the songs instead of playing them, it still looked very good on the hybrid console. Obviously, if you’re yearning for the best visual quality then I’d strongly recommend the original game on the PS4, but then you’re missing out on the new motion controls and T-shirt designing.
The music all sounded great, no obvious compression issues or ‘tinny’ sounds – which is great for a musical game. Obviously, the choice of music and the tracks on offer will vary, in regards to how much you like them, based on your tastes.
Now, there are two downsides to the Switch edition, for me. The first is the lack of touch screen support. After playing the incredible Cytus Alpha a while back, I’d expect any games which utilise an ‘OSU’ format to allow touch support within the portable mode. Now, I know it’ll be hard for this game, due to the gameplay requiring you to tap a certain button as it crosses the marker on the screen, but an additional mode would have been nice. They added a whole new motion control mode for the TV, why not a touch mode for portable as well?
Secondly, the loading times are quite long. I was playing via a Samsung SD card and the loading takes around 2-3 times as long as the PS4 (so about 10-15 seconds at times). It’s not that long, but it did start to get a little annoying after a few hours of play.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is crammed with unlimited fun and awesome music, optimised for both playing at home and on the go. Despite the fewer number of songs in comparison to the PS4 counterpart, the Switch edition boasts unique features, modes and content, although there is a lot of day-one DLC which I feel should have been included. If you like Hatsune Miku, you’ll love this edition – it’s more of the same but playable on the go and at home – you can even opt to have PS button prompts so you can imagine you’re playing the Vita 2.0. Rhythm game fans and those looking for a private social-distancing concert in their own home should certainly check this out.
If you’re still in doubt, or you’ve not played a rhythm game before and you’re not sure if this game is for you, don’t forget that there’s a demo available on the eShop right now! I’d say give it a try if you’re curious – you never know, you may fall in love!
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix£34.99
- - New Motion Control Mode which changes the gameplay
- - A bunch of new songs and customisable T-shirts
- - Runs really well both portable and docked
- - You can either play or watch all 101 incuded songs
- - You can set the button prompts to the PS icons, making it feel like you're playing it on the PS Vita!
- - No touchscreen support
- - Less than half the songs of the PS4 version, although this one has a few new features
- - Six day-one DLC packs at £5.99 each (I feel these should have been included)
- - Those looking for a story and narrative will be upset as this is purely an arcade title with all songs unlocked from the start