That's right; VOEZ is played exclusively in handheld mode using only the touch screen. Buttons don't work here, so even removing the Joy-Con entirely is perfectly fine, placing the system flat on a table. Finding the comfiest position to play is perhaps one of the biggest obstacles, though, and leaving the two detachable controllers locked in might even be preferred if resting the Switch on your laps whilst cross legged so that it rests in place safely enough.
Unlike the mobile version, which required microtransactions to purchase additional songs, everything is unlocked from the get-go, meaning well over 100 tracks are available to play, each with three levels of difficulty and adjustable note speeds to provide personal optimisation and ensuring weaker rhythm players can enjoy the music on offer.
Translating extremely well to the large Switch screen, fingers are used to tap, hold, slide and swipe over notes that fall down from the top of the screen to the horizontal line at the bottom. This line can shift and slide, particularly on higher difficulties, requiring a quick eye and reflexes to hit the notes that move from one side to another.
Input is responsive, and there seems to be no inconsistencies on that front. What can be cause for annoyance, though, is sometimes figuring out which hand should be used when holding long notes that are more or less in the middle of the screen and can end up sliding across, forcing hands to be crossed over and rendering other notes almost impossible to hit.
There are even occasions where hands can hide what notes are coming down, so a certain style and hand movement has to be adopted in order to keep fingers as close to the bottom of the screen as possible. One other minor issue that might not affect everyone is hitting notes that require a quick swipe either left or right, which might just nudge the Switch system itself an inch across the table.
Aside from the complaint that VOEZ isn't really suited for long periods of play due to that comfort factor, these other problems come few and far between. Where it matters most - the music - is where it wins its plaudits. The variety of tracks on offer is top draw, ranging from electronic, trance, dubstep and pop, some with vocals and some without, and many with a Hatsune Miku vibe that will be sure to appeal to fans of the Vocaloid.
It is notable that VOEZ can be pretty forgiving to players. Okay, the hardest difficulty, certainly when upping the speed, is tough, but there is no punishment for tapping constantly on the screen in order to hit notes that fly by. A Miku game, for example, would punish anyone going nuts and mashing the buttons to hit quick successions of notes, but that isn't the case here. At worst, tapping too quickly results in only getting an 'OK' and lower score for that note, instead of more accurate timings presenting perfects and more points. Misses only occur if simply not hitting or getting anywhere near to the timing of the note at all.
There is no bar that depletes to stage failure if performing terribly, so it really seems that Flyhigh Works has taken a much more casual-friendly approach. Skill and super-fast fingers are still required to nail the hardest difficulty - in fact, VOEZ can get incredibly hard to the point that it seems impossible to even move your fingers that quick - but this is certainly a far more lenient rhythm game compared to most in the genre.
A minor visual novel is unlockable in bits and pieces on the side, with each page providing challenges in order to view it. It's nothing special, but the incentives help to guide players along through the tracks with some sort of goal if feeling a little overwhelmed at the breadth of them available.
If anything, VOEZ shows the potential the Switch has for touch-based games. Whilst nobody wants any of the random trash that has plagued the mobile stores over the years, VOEZ is a good example that the quality titles can carve out a second home for themselves, since this makes a great transition over to the Switch, taking advantage of its portability, large screen and responsiveness in the process.