If you’ve ever been curious about Hatsune Miku, I’ve found the perfect entry point.
You probably know a little about the Vocaloid, a computer created pop singer that skyrocketed to fame in Japan in 2008, and has since spread across the world. But it’s less likely you know the specifics, because despite the global fandom, Miku hasn’t always been easy to enjoy in the US.
When I was a teen, an early Miku game, Project Diva, came out for the PlayStation Portable, but it never made its way stateside. Determined to play it, my friend and I were hell-bent on making a pandora battery for my PSP, so I could … root my PSP, allowing it to play whatever games I downloaded from the internet. Eventually our efforts were thwarted by my strict parents, who didn’t want me to mess with electronics. My dream of owning a Miku game was crushed.
These days, anybody can enjoy Miku games without potentially breaking expensive video game hardware. The pop star has had multiple games come stateside. I’ve dabbled in a few of them, but none are as welcoming as Project Diva: Megamix for Nintendo Switch.
The game is pretty much a simplified port of the PlayStation 4 and arcade game, Project Diva: Future Tone. The graphics are simplified a bit and a couple of new songs have been added, such as one of her more recent bangers, “Sand Planet.”
The controls are simple enough. Icons fly across the screen and you have to press their corresponding buttons in time with the music. The controls work well with the Joy-Cons in handheld mode, but oddly when using a Pro Controller — the buttons feel clunky. My scores in handheld remain way higher than my scores from my TV, even after fiddling with delay and timing settings.
The “Mix Mode,” which was made specifically for the Nintendo Switch, has potential. While holding the Joy-Cons upright with your thumb on the shoulder triggers, you have to rotate the controllers and press the triggers at the right time to hit the incoming notes. The motion-based controls remind me of the fun and unique rhythm games that involve movement that I’d find in a specialty arcade, but the controls aren’t implemented well enough, making it feel a little unreliable. I’m sure in time I could figure out the best way to hold the controllers to excel, but I’d rather stick to the classic gameplay anyway.
Megamix has become a personal staple for me to play when I have moments of downtime. While I wait for my Final Fantasy 14 dungeon queues to pop, I’ll boot up and play a song or two. I could easily see this as something I do while I wait for my friends to meet me at a restaurant or as I’m chilling in line at an anime convention. It’s the perfect game to have downloaded on your Switch for bites of Vocaloid jams here and there.
Most Vocaloid fans have probably already picked up Megamix, but if you want to understand the hype surrounding the music synthesizer program, you should grab it. After you hear the catchy songs and see all the cute designs, then you can dive into the concerts, the art shows, and the iconic imagery.