By Jeff Neuenschwander / September 25th, 2015
|Title||Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX|
|Release Date||NA: September 8, 2015
PAL: September 11, 2015
|Age Rating||ESRB: Everyone 10+
In 2004, Crypton Future Media developed a piece of software using the Yamaha Corporation’s Vocaloid technology. The software was developed by taking vocal samples from a singer and specific pitches and tones. It was released in November of that year and was a success.
And that is how the Vocaloid Meiko was created.
Three years later, Crypton used the second generation of Vocaloid technology to create a new Vocaloid. This new software would become the first of a new series called the Character Vocal Series, which welcomed four new Vocaloids to join Meiko and her male counterpart, Kaito.
To some, it is the product of sampling Saki Fujita. To the rest of the world, she is… HATSUNE MIKU!
So, this is the second game in the Project Mirai spin-off series in the larger Hatsune Miku video game franchise. This is also the second game to release on the 3DS, the second in the franchise to feature the Nendoroid-style character models, and the third to be released in the West. It also features a number of songs that were originally new to the video game franchise in Project Mirai 2 (the original version of this game), but were also featured in Project Diva F 2nd, which came out last year in Western regions — which will make arguments interesting when we start voting on Best Song when award season comes around.
Anyway, Project Mirai DX is the updated version of Project Mirai 2, which released in Japan in 2013. The game features 48 different songs, 20 of which are brand new to the series and — since the first Project Mirai didn’t release in the West, and some have been featured in the Project Diva series before this game released here — 36 which are brand new to the West. One song, Nice To Meet You, Mr. Earthling, is a new song to Project Mirai DX (meaning it wasn’t in Project Mirai 2). Other songs in the game include a couple of standards — such as The World is Mine, Finder, and Romeo to Cinderella — as well as several new songs like the Cinderella-inspired Cendrillon, the ballad glow, and two songs from Akuno-P/mothy’s Story of Evil: Aku no Musume (Daughter of Evil) and Aku no Meshitsukai (Servant of Evil).
Okay, so, technically, those last two were Project Mirai songs. But we never got that game, so it counts as an introduction.
Obviously, with this being a rhythm game, it should have great music, which it does. Being someone new to the franchise, I finally got to experience what many contributors on the site (our owner, Steve Baltimore, included) have been raving about for the past two years.
Gameplay during the rhythm games was good, as well, complete with two different styles. There’s the original button mode, which has been a feature in the series since the beginning. And then there’s the new touch screen controls, which I found gave me a better experience. Either way, each mode offers three difficulty settings in every song. There is also a Theater mode where you can merely sit back and watch the music video playing without interference from any lines, buttons, or swipe commands. In here, you can leave comments that can be passed around via StreetPass. You can also “cheer” on the singer with various button presses. But it also allows you to appreciate the great art style in this game.
There is also AR functionality, including 19 two-sided AR cards that come packed with the game. These cards allow for unique picture-taking opportunities when used. The cards are split into two groups: character and live. Character cards feature the character you chose, allowing them to strike specific poses. Live cards feature individual songs, which will have all the Vocaloids involved do a sort of stage performance. It’s a fun little aspect that features all six main characters plus 32 of the 48 songs. And don’t worry if you don’t buy a physical copy or have your cards damaged, you can download them here.
And another interesting musical thing, you can use your 3DS as a Walkman/MP3 player/[Insert Your Generational Portable Music Carrying Device Here]. When you’re in a Vocaloid’s living area, you hit L+X to access a music player. Here, you can either play all the songs in order or arrange your own set list. And if you’re wearing headphones, you can close the 3DS and still listen to the music. Incredible!
And, if you want, you can create your own dance routines to select songs. You can do so by either having the game select a move from a select list at random or go into the nitty-gritty and hand pick which moves you want. These moves can then be shared via StreetPass with other players. It’s certainly a neat mode, particularly if you have the time and patience to craft something from it.
In addition to the rhythm game, Project Mirai DX features a pair of mini-games that you can play with the Vocaloids. The first is PuyoPuyo 39, which is a puzzle game that’s based on the Puyo Puyo series owned by SEGA. You can play single player against the other Vocaloids in a number of difficulty settings or play against others in multiplayer. Or if you want a break from SEGA games, you can play Othello — or as it’s called here, “Mikuversi.” Just call the Vocaloid over and hit mini-game. Both are fun and a nice way to break up any monotony you may get from the rhythm game.
So, yeah, I had a lot of fun with this game. And yet, while going through all ten hours I spent with the game, I had a feeling that I couldn’t shake about it.
It’s something that just isn’t for me.
It’s a similar feeling I had with Animal Crossing: New Leaf. However, while I felt New Leaf was doing many things good at best, I found Project Mirai DX was great in many areas. Ultimately, this is why I’ll be giving it a much higher recommendation than New Leaf.
So, why wasn’t it something I thought was for me? Well, I guess it’s just that I’m a gamer that prefers an end goal that I can push for. It’s not that I haven’t played or enjoyed games that are like this — I enjoyed this game, I put in well over 100 hours in New Leaf, Bokujō Monogatari is one of my favorite franchises, and The Sims (the original game) not only is one of my favorite games but played a profound and enlightening part in my childhood. But it’s easier for me to get into a game and even come back to it when there’s a clear-cut goal I can reach.
As for PuyoPuyo 39 and Mikuversi, while they were fun distractions from the game, it felt like there could have been more. After all, SEGA has a library full of old arcade games and franchises. Why not pull out some others? For instance, if they wanted a puzzle game, why not also include Columns? How about having the Vocaloids race in Hang-On or Out Run? Or maybe having the Vocaloids play a game inspired by Nights Into Dreams? Or giving us a taste of mech-fighting game Border Break with a Miku-inspired version where we can buy parts for our mechs by playing the rhythm game? Or a “remix” where you give some love to Master System classics by having the Vocaloids star in Alex Kidd or Wonder Boy? Or if you’re feeling extra feisty, have the gamers play out the Story of Evil in an adventure game?
But those aren’t really negatives against the game; they’re just my opinion of what I would like to see in the future. Here are some actual negatives.
First and foremost, I would’ve liked to see English subtitles for the songs. They don’t need to sing it in English, I just wanted to see what they were singing. I’m not sure why they didn’t get included with or as an option in place of the Japanese subtitles. While these may be new to us in video game form, they aren’t exactly new songs. So, why not have the translated subs?
Another issue I had with the game comes from the PuyoPuyo 39 mini-game. I think it is broken. When playing it on Normal, I can get past three Vocaloids before losing. When playing it on Easy, I can get past all of them. But when I’m playing on Very Easy, I have just as hard a time as if I were playing on Normal. Did somebody miss something in QA?
Overall, it’s not my thing, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting it. This is a fine game; one of the best rhythm games I’ve played. So, if this is your cup of tea, go and pick this up immediately. And if you’re not a rhythm game fan, I still recommend checking it out. You just might have as much fun as the rest of us.
This copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX is available on the eShop and at select retailers for $39.99 USD.
Crypton Future MediaHatsune MikuNintendo 3DSProject Mirai DXSega