Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 15.05.2020 3

Review for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix on Nintendo Switch

It is fair to say Hatsune Miku has become a bit of a phenomenon. The synthesised vocal songs crafted by fans that contribute to the addictiveness and success of the Project Diva arcade and console games means the twin ponytailed Vocaloid is as popular as ever. Such is her fandom, the character stages concerts around the world with her virtual appearance, performing intense shows to sell-out crowds. With the franchise's tenth anniversary, SEGA debuts Miku on Nintendo Switch in Project Diva Mega Mix, potentially giving fans the best handheld rhythm experience thus far.

Portable Project Diva. It started out for Hatsune Miku in this format with the original PSP release, and has only gone on from there. Subsequent PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS editions have come and gone, but the success of the Nintendo Switch gives a great opportunity to create the biggest and best handheld rhythm game. The arcade experience was brilliantly converted to PS4 and received huge praise from Cubed3 when reviewed three years ago - and it is Project Diva Future Tone that is used as the base for the Switch edition. With over 220 songs playable there, it surely bodes well for the conversion here…

Unfortunately, less than half of the songs in Future Tone make their way over to Mega Mix. Not much of a mega mix, huh? The franchise relies a lot on its past songs, and that is fair enough when there are so many brilliant tracks that fans cannot stop coming back to in each iteration. As a tenth birthday celebration, though, it really feels like SEGA copped out to get a game out quicker than usual. Just ten brand new tracks are included, and even these will be available to Future Tone players as DLC, instantly rendering this Switch title almost worthless for PS4 owners, unless they want to play portable Miku - which is what the main appeal is going to be for many.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix on Nintendo Switch

Just over 100 songs is no pushover, of course, and the high quality rhythmic gameplay is still here as it was before. It should be noted that, like Future Tone, this does feature the arcade style gameplay, whereby "hold" notes cross over with pressing other buttons whilst keeping the holds held down. This style was built for the arcade controller in mind and can be fiddly on a traditional controller setup. Just as on the PS4, though, practice makes perfect. The added difficulty here comes in the form of the Switch's Joy-Con layout rendering it tough to quickly hit notes, especially with the tiny buttons and analogue sticks getting in the way. Even the Pro Controller causes problems with its unreliable d-pad at times. That is no fault of the game itself, however, and Mega Mix can be mastered despite this. The Hori Grip Controller (for handheld play) and a USB adapter for another controller (for TV play) can be potential workarounds if the official methods prove too bothersome.

What is new for Mega Mix, though? Well, many of the previous features return, including lots of unlockable costumes and hairstyles, as well as the ability to create custom song playlists to watch the videos of, but a neat little t-shirt editor has been added to the Switch game, which characters can wear during their performances. Using standard image colouring tools like those found in Animal Crossing, players can design tops to show off, however bad or good they look. An almost passable inclusion, but neat nonetheless.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix on Nintendo Switch

The Mega Mix mode is the main new feature introduced, featuring motion controls that replace the standard button gameplay almost completely. Holding the separated Joy-Con in each hand in a thumbs-up position, blue and pink notes will fly down from the top of the screen in time with the music, with players needing to motion their wrists left and right, lining their movable bars up with the notes, then tapping the shoulder buttons at the right moment.

It can be a fun distraction to the usual gameplay at first, and the easier difficulties might make it a good choice for inexperienced rhythm players, but it does not suffice for the traditional buttons. It gets tough on higher difficulties to get those wrists moving quickly and in time, too, and cramps start to creep in after a while - but maybe that's age beginning to take effect!

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix on Nintendo Switch

Mega Mix brings a slightly new graphical style over the very plasticy looking appearance of the 3D models in Future Tone. There is more of an anime toon effect here that looks really good for Miku and her pals, with performances lighting up beautifully with lots of colour and effects on the TV, in particular. Whilst 60fps is employed, things do seem to slightly drop a bit in handheld play, and this format looks remarkably worse in many songs. Background videos can be blurry and grainy affairs, dragging things down a notch.

One of the big kickers that cannot be ignored is the vast amount of DLC SEGA has portioned off for day one. Keeping in mind this celebration title doesn't have half of the music in Future Tone, SEGA has had the gall to sell a total of 36 songs separately in packs of six on top of this. Why should fans have to settle for an inferior product that is cut up into chunks and sold in pieces? All of this is ready on release date with the game. Arguments can be made to support companies that create brand-new content post-release of a game, but these are old songs that have been ready to go for months, then put up day one to rake in even more from customers. It is extremely frustrating to see this practice continue, but that is the sad state of the industry today.

Screenshot for Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A great rhythm game doesn't necessarily mean a great Hatsune Miku game. Yes, the songs are brilliant and varied, and the gameplay is unbeatable in the genre. A hundred songs sounds amazing on paper, too, but it's just a fraction of the game Mega Mix is ported from, and the conversion hasn't fared too well when looking at handheld visual quality. The number of tracks cut out and sold back as DLC is unforgivable, too - just because it is the norm doesn't mean it shouldn't be called out. Future Tone players can pass on this, but this still comes highly recommended to Switch owners and anyone desperate for portable Miku. Just be sure to wait and buy at a discount.

Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Rhythm

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

The last rhythm gave I played was Amplitude on the PS2, and I promise you the hand cramps aren't just age! The PS controller is honestly one of the most comfortable controllers (IMO), and after hours of playing those rhythm games, my hands were just done. 

I really haven't played a good rhythm game in years (obviously with Amplitude being the last), and it seems this game might be a good start to get back into it. Shame though with the missed opportunities and lack of songs from other versions. Really nice review! ;D

I never played Amplitude!

I'd really like to see Miku games transition back to the console style gameplay over the arcade type we have now, because that can be a bit easier to get to grips with. It's not a massive difference, but maybe to have the option to switch which type we want to play would be the next great feature of the series (as well as introducing a lot more original material).

I'd say Future Tone on PS4 is the best in the series right now, given the huge range of tracks available there. F 2nd on PS3 is also great, but maybe not as readily available to you. This Switch version is definitely recommended for its portable factor, and it's essentially Future Tone, just with much less songs. The asking price is too steep for what it is, however.

I'm sad many of my faves didn't get included in this version, and seeing some thrown up as DLC is a pain.

Only if I could invest in stuff before it goes huge.  I came across vocaloids like 10 years ago, around the same time as Touhou...both were very small and now fairly big.

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