With how many games she’s starred in, it’s almost hard to believe that Hatsune Miku was ever just a character used for voice synthesizing software. With the character’s popularity and a seemingly endless amount of music made using her voice along with those of her digital companions, a rhythm game using some of the more popular tracks seemed like a no-brainer. After seven titles, Hatsune Miku’s Project DIVA series has now landed on the Nintendo Switch in the form of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix. It isn’t the best debut the virtual idol has made, but it’s still a solid entry for rhythm game fans.
Like the previous titles, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is a rhythm-based game where players press the corresponding buttons as they appear on screen in time with a selected song. Each song comes with its own music video, featuring Miku and some of the other Vocaloid performers. As far as music games go, Mega Mix is a very straightforward title, allowing players to jump straight into the game’s free play arcade mode as soon as the game starts. Each stage also has five difficulties to choose from, with easier difficulties using fewer buttons. This really adds to Mega Mix’s accessibility, regardless of skill level.
Hatsune Miku’s debut on the Switch can seem more than a little rough around the edges at times. While the game is absolutely bursting with colour and energetic music during menu navigation, Mega Mix’s load times can get lengthy. Players can find themselves waiting at least thirty seconds before the selected stage actually starts. Smaller things like changing a character’s costume takes a good five to ten seconds as well, making the process a bit of chore when customizing multiple characters. To top things off, having more than three character models on screen at once does create some noticeable slowdown issues. Thankfully, this only applied to the game’s customization screens and not during actual stages so there was no impact on real gameplay. The videos played during stages are a bit of a tossup in terms of visuals, with some running at 60fps while others run at 30fps. I have no idea as to why these vary, but the difference can be quite jarring at times.
To a newcomer, Mega Mix features a wealth of content. Featuring just over one hundred songs, there’s a ton of variety from rock to jazz and plenty of J-pop, all featuring those classic digitized vocals. Project DIVA veterans will find little that they’re not already familiar with, as all but ten of the tracks included in Mega Mix are taken from previous Project DIVA titles.
Using in-game currency earned by completing songs, players can unlock tons of different outfits for the characters to wear during stages. While I’m certain a lot of these design could be found in other Project DIVA titles as well, it still felt cool unlocking crossover costumes such as Ulala’s outfit from Sega’s Space Channel 5 series or Hatsune Miku’s Persona 4 Dancing All Night collaboration costume. New to Mega Mix is the ability to freely design t-shirts for Miku and the others to wear. While this feature is relatively basic and designs can’t be shared, creative players can at least get the satisfaction of be able see Miku model their own creations.
Mega Mix’s other unique feature is its exclusive game mode, Motion Mix Mode. This mode has players hold their left and right Joy-Con controllers separately, moving them left and right to match up with the incoming notes. This novelty game type does make for a light and casual change of pace, but it never comes close the addictive feeling of Project DIVA’s default gameplay.
Switch owners looking to own their first Hatsune Miku title will likely get exactly what they need out of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix. With that in mind however, I would be hard pressed to recommend this entry to any hardcore Miku fans for any reason other than the simple benefit of being able to play Miku on the go. As a casual fan of the series, I cannot say I was disappointed by Mega Mix, but I was underwhelmed by how little Mega Mix offers in comparison to its predecessors.