It’s time to take a look at Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Mega Mix for the Nintendo Switch, Sega’s return to their long-running franchise and their first release on the Switch.
I mostly remember Hatsune Miku from all the releases that came out on the various Sony PlayStation formats (going all the way back to the PSP), but it always felt like a good fit for Nintendo’s consoles and handhelds for some reason. While I think of Xbox and PlayStation when I think about franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there have been some great rhythm games on my various Nintendo handhelds that I fondly remember – and Hatsune Miku fits right in.
I’m referring to games like Elite Beat Agents and Theatrhythm, as well as games like Superbeat Xonic. None of them featured real life instruments that you and a few friends could play, but they all had solid gameplay that made me stick with them much longer than I did with those “bigger” franchises – although that could also be because I wasn’t too good with the aforementioned instruments.
Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Mega Mix is an expanded re-release of earlier content from the franchise, which started on the PSP over ten years ago. You’ll find that 90 percent of the songs in the game are existing songs that are familiar to fans of the franchise, but with a large roster of 100 songs that means you’re still looking at 10 new tracks. That’s well beyond what most rhythm games offer, so as long as the genre clicks with you there’s a wealth of content to explore here.
In addition, the Switch version also offers motion control support thanks to the JoyCons, although I found these to be woefully underused – taking me back to the crude motion controls that the Wii offered. I suppose there’s only so much that the JoyCons hardware can do, but it’s a fairly forgettable experience after you try it out for a few songs. As a fan service gesture, this new release also gives you a wide range of options when it comes to cosmetically changing the on-screen appearance of Miku.
Closer to the core of the game, however, this is still a very familiar game to anyone who’s played a previous entry. The main mode in the game is the rhythm-based gameplay we’re all familiar with, with button-shaped notes that appear on screen and scroll down until you need to hit them in sync with the music. There are visual indicators when you need to hold a button down for longer, and sometimes you’ll have to press two buttons at once. It’s a formula I first discovered when playing Elite Beat Agents, and although I miss physically tapping on the screen I still like the system a whole lot.
The soundtrack is a diverse mix of mostly upbeat, happy anime-inspired pop music, covering several subgenres from slower vocal tracks to upbeat electronic dance music. Nothing you’ll hear on the radio, but there’s a cheerful charm to it all that’s hard not to fall in love with. It might not be to your taste, but if you look up a few youtube videos of previous games you’ll know enough to decide if this soundtrack will resonate with you.
Songs can be played at a range of difficulty levels, which alongside the huge tracklist means you’re getting quite a bit of replay value as you replay songs and start to improve your scores. The higher levels (there are two beyond ‘hard’, going up to ‘extra extreme’) still kick my ass, so I have some work to do. Luckily, this is a game that transfers well to the Switch’s handheld mode, so whenever I’m traveling or have a short break I can get a song or two in. It might be a tough sell if you already have one of the recent games in the franchise (some of which had even more song content), but if you’re a Switch player these days then this is a great new entry to pick up.