Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (3DS review)

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While only being a computer program designed to sing via a sound modulator and synthesizer, it’s quite amazing to see the success that Hatsune Miku has seen in and out of Japan. She has made appearances on many shows, which include her United States television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman and, most recently, on Lady Gaga’s 2014 tour. 

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX  is the third video game released and developed by Sega featuring a rhythm game based on the music of the popular Vocaloids Hatsune Miku and her friends Meiko, Luka Megurine, Kaito with twins Len and Rin Kagamine and various others. This also marks the debut of Hatsune Miku on a Nintendo platform outside of Japan in a game that offers a satisfying gaming experience without having to be familiar with each character.

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The main emphasis of this game is a rhythm game that features 48 tracks performed by each Vocaloid and some pairings. The game also offers a simulation mode that lets you play and interact with your favorite Vocaloid characters.

One of the cool aspects of this game is the fact that you do not need any knowledge of any of the characters prior to playing. You can simply enjoy the game by exploring the various methods of interaction and the mini-games it has to offer.

As the game begins, you are given the choice to select which Vocaloid you want as your partner. Whether it be a Vocaloid character you are familiar with or simply like the way it looks, the choice is ultimately up to you. It then offers different options of where you want your Vocaloid to live. After making your selection, you can start customizing your Vocaloid’s living space, their appearance, give them gifts, take them shopping, play games with them, or give them allowance before jumping into the rhythm game. There are quite a few modes to enjoy.

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Project Mirai DX plays like any other rhythm-based game where you have to input the correct commands at the right time to score. Sega did a great job by implementing two different modes for inputs. The first is a more familiar layout which has you use the control pad and buttons to enter the correct inputs as the music plays along. The second mode takes advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’s touchscreen as you correctly tap the correct part of the screen in sync with the music, similar to Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatake Ouendan! Each input mode has three different difficulty levels for each song, giving you different ways to enjoy the game as you aim for a perfect grade and earn points to spend on your Vocaloid.

While the Project Diva series is well-known for being difficult when it comes to grading (with a score of 80% or more to actually pass), Project Mirai is much more lax with its scoring and input timing (which isn’t a bad thing).  It makes the game more enjoyable for casual players who just like to relax and have fun. For those looking for a harder challenge, playing each mode and getting perfect scores is another challenge in itself in each mode and difficulty. In the end, everything comes down to the music: Vocaloid music is catchy and covers a wide variety of genres as the characters sing in both Japanese and English, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

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I was quite pleased with Sega’s direction to switch to the chibi versions of the Vocaloid characters for the 3DS version of the game. It appeals more to the general public since who can’t say no to a cute chibi version of Miku while you play and interact with her. It feels like you are playing with the Nendoroid figures of each character who have come to life and can be customized in different outfits and accessories.

Overall, Sega did a great job implementing all the little extra features into the game which, while at the beginning, doesn’t seem like much. It adds plenty of variety on how you can play the game and keeps the game from getting repetitive. Now excuse me while I play more Puyo Pop and create a Mario 8-bit theme with Hatsune Miku.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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