Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix Review – Switching up the playlist

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Hatsune Miku has brought her next big project with her and this time, she’s switching it up with the Nintendo Switch for one of her biggest and most astonishing performances yet. Let’s talk about why in our review of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix.


Pros:
+One of the biggest and most enjoyable line-up’s of Hatsune Miku songs yet
+Plays extremely well in both docked and handheld modes
+Even more responsive than ever with a Pro Controller.
+Switch exclusive mode is actually rather fun but does require a lot of practice to enjoy

Cons:
-Mix mode is not available for Switch Lite users
-Some tracks are available only via DLC options such as season pass or song packs


I’m not gonna lie or sugarcoat it. My review was supposed to be out when Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix dropped on Nintendo Switch back on May 15th, 2020. Instead, here I am just now taking the time to type up my review. Why? I’ve spent more time than I probably should admit to having done so with the game in its various modes.

In a way, this probably isn’t a bad thing. I’ve spent a lot of time with both Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone as well as Project DIVA Mega Mix in order to really get a feel for the franchise once again. I even went far enough to spend time on the PlayStation Vita release of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F in order to really reacquaint myself with the long-run series that has been capturing the hearts of fans since her days on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable.

Now, here we are, 11 years and 16 games later, each carrying their own themes, some titles being spin-off’s while some remaining as part of the core series itself. Each of them has always been light-hearted, funny, and truly entertaining, helping distract fans from the world about them and giving them something to feel at peace with.

With the Nintendo Switch release, we get that same essence, gameplay for all skill levels, each song offering their own unique uses of button presses and what way your notes will go. To say the least, this virtual Vocaloid pop idol has given us something to enjoy in some of our world’s darkest days in modern times.

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Switching on with Hatsune Miku and friends

If you’re a series veteran, you know what to expect when it comes to each and every release. Many songs don’t change from their past releases, if at all, which makes them great titles to experience once again, but on a different platform. Except, it’s not the same in this one thanks to the new optional Mix-Mode, which steps away from traditional Arcade Mode mode to something entirely different, which is where this game shines: Replayability.

The new Switch-exclusive mode and art style are where the game begins to shine, each one giving the game an overall different appeal from the others on the market. The new motion-control Mix Mode and touchscreen options are what gives Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix an advantage over the others, allowing fans to enjoy all 111 (140 or so with DLC) songs – 11 are new – in a way that is actually an ideal experience.

Just like before, you’ll still aim to get the best scores you can by getting the best rating per button press, aiming to get “cool” or “good” rather than “bad” or “miss”. This will help you feel the progression bar on the bottom of the screen, which in turn, will determine just how good you do throughout your entire experience. For the Mix-mode, you will find that this bar is on the right side of the screen, which is quite different as the UI (as pictured in the section below) has been overhauled for this release in order to bring an entirely new experience.

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Regardless of your skill level, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix offers gameplay for all skill tiers

In order to ensure that fans of all skill levels could enjoy the game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is a HEAVILY optimized game, allowing players to enjoy the game across a wide array of different difficulties, each one catered to the beginner or the expert, or even the veteran who wants to push themselves to the limit with the insanely and almost unbeatable Extreme difficulty option.

Having not played in quite some time (since I reviewed Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone), I decided to start out with the new Mix mode, which makes it quite a bit easier as an entirely new experience. It’s a nice way to experience some of my favorite tracks including DYE, Cat Food, and Akatsuki Arrival.

Instead of the traditional circles and letting each and every note hit them, you end up moving the Joy-Con’s up or down, using them to line up the notes and tapping the triggers for specific notes while some will require you to hold the trigger, moving the Joy-Con’s in order to properly trigger the held notes themselves. It’s not near as hard as it sounds, but it does take some getting used to, especially since some of the music does get a bit on the zany side.

Like any Hatsune Miku game, however, don’t expect too much change in how you’ll progress compared to past experiences. You won’t find much change in the fact that no new songs will be unlocked, but rather, just minor items including singer appearances and harder difficulties for each and every song. It’s quite the experience once you think about it as there is the original mode as well, which gives you, in a way, two completely separate games.

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Hatsune Miku shines even brighter on the Nintendo Switch than it has on other platforms

One of the things that makes this title a stand-out one is the fact that you get a two for one deal, over 100 songs and a top-notch experience whether you are on the go or sitting on your couch enjoying the game to its fullest. You can even take full advantage of a Pro Wireless Controller, giving you a ful-fledged console like experience for the Arcade Mode itself.

This is when the game really begins to shine, making it a completely immersive experience while tapping away to songs like Senbonzakura, World’s End Dance Hall, Pair of Wintry Winds, and Ashes to Ashes (DLC). Each song offers their own scale of difficulty, each being rated in a scale of a .5 approach. You’ll find that while some songs are say, 5.5, they can come off as something much higher due to the execution of notes as well as the timing needed to get a perfect note, which is a nice change and allows for players to have a different experience when moving from song to song.

To be honest, it’s just fun and the fact that there are countless customizations you can unlock with your points earned during your performances really adds to the depth of the game, which veterans will be quite familiar with. Due to just how hefty this song list is, I can’t tell you how long it will take you to master as I, myself, am still working my way through the Hard difficulty of most of the songs.

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What about that touch screen option and Switch Lite experiences for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix?

Well, that’s one of the modes that gets quite interesting to be fairly honest. To enable this mode, which is not enabled by default, you will need to jump into the game’s customisation settings, enabling the touchscreen mode and then going from there. This will allow you to tap away at the prompts on the screen, making the difficulty climb just slightly, but those of you who have played Cytus before, shouldn’t really have any issues here.

The only drawback to this version is that it is NOT a Switch Lite friendly game. Unfortunately, Switch Lite users won’t find the ability to enjoy the Mix Mode due to the fact that you can’t really dock/kick-stand your console by default, which really, really is a drawback to the game, but it does mean you can still play the games default mode, making Arcade an exemplary experience for beat rhythm fans.

Even if you do play the game on a Switch Lite, don’t feel bad, you’ll find that the Arcade mode itself is a worth-while experience and will still offer you the same experience, for the most part, that a normal Switch console would. There are a few changes made to both however, which is something we do need to discuss, as this is a full in-depth review.

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Some changes were made to Hatsune Miku in order to ensure that the game would work on the Switch

One of the big changes here is that you’ll take notice of an all-new graphics style, departing the title of its 3D character models with an anime-style artform, which takes it into a 2D appearance. The change was very likely due to the fact that the Nintendo Switch couldn’t handle the 3D models used int he Playstation 4 and PC predecessors, which regardless, are still rather beautiful.

There are some moments, however, when playing in portable mode that you will find that some of the image quality does get blurred, likely to ensure that performance remains key in order to let players get the most out of their experience. Regardless, the game is an absolute marvel and it’s one of the best of its kind despite the many contendors on the market.

Just keep your charger nearby, this game will chomp through a full charge in a 2-3 hours if you decide to go in for the long haul, that is. Another issue is that, at times, the handheld mode isn’t near as responsive as it is when docked and with a Pro Wireless Controller, which could be caused by a number of things, but whatever it is, it’s a small drawback and can leave you frustrated when doing rather well on a song while docked and then struggling while in handheld mode.

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The curtains draw – The Conclusion

One of the nice things about seeing Hatsune Miku and friends on the Nintendo Switch is that they get a chance to reach a much broader crowd, one that can and should be around for quite some time, even if some have been around for quite some time. That’s the fun part though, revisiting songs in a new fashion thanks to the Mix mode that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix offers.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: SEGA AM2
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $39.99

Whether or not you play Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix on a Nintendo Switch or a Switch Lite, there’s a lot to offer in such a small package regardless if you buy the DLC bundle or not. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone from pop to rock and even electronic music, each song varies in challenge and it’s just the perfect balance to say that this package is the best offering of Hatsune Miku and is an absolute must-own for Nintendo Switch fans.


Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


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About the Writer(s):

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Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable.  You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!

 

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