I’ve never played a Hatsune Miku game before, but it didn’t take me long to see why her games have become so popular. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X is the next entry in the series of rhythm games starring the vocaloid pop idol, published and developed by SEGA for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Though the world of digital Japanese pop idols is foreign to me, the rhythm based gameplay and flashy visuals grabbed my attention. It might not be for everybody, but Project DIVA X has something special going for it.
A lot of the appeal for Hatsune Miku lies in her cutesy persona and the wide array of pop music she is associated with. Much of the music that was created for the game was made by tons of different artists, so you have all kinds of different pop songs you can play through. The gameplay involves you timing button presses to the beat of the music, which like other musical games varies in difficulty depending on the song.
The challenge can be a bit steep for some who may have not played a Hatsune Miku game before, even if you’re familiar with the music game genre. Things started off simple for me when I started playing, but the songs got faster and had more notes appearing on screen as I got further into it. A few times I had to restart a song because of how terrible I did my first time playing, but this is part of the genre and becomes easier the more familiar you become with a song and its timing.
Project DIVA X does have a simple story that ties everything together, which focuses on Miku and her vocaloid friends restoring their broken world through music. It’s a little bit silly, but the focus of everything remains on the music more than anything else. The cutscenes in between each musical piece do showcase Miku interacting with the other vocaloids, which is fine if you’re already a fan of the character. There’s nothing deep or engaging here in terms of story, but it doesn’t detract from the rhythm based gameplay.
Miku has a variety of outfits that you can customize her with before each song, but you can also choose to have one of her friends take center stage while playing. Playing with the different options allowed me to not only change up the visuals, but also influence the points I gained while playing a song.
Going with one outfit or vocaloid over another can sometimes impact how well you perform at the end of a song, as well as what dance moves happen on screen. It’s nice having so many options for the look of performances you might see multiple times. Though you don’t always have to, it’s nice having the options there for when you want to mix things up.
Hatsune Miku games aren’t for everybody, but if you have an open mind and want to play a new music game, then you should give Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X a chance. The music sounds great and the visuals, while probably too cutesy for some, look good on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. As an outsider, I can understand why Hatsune Miku has the fan base that she does. Once you get pass the small difficulty spikes between songs, you’ll have a fun time.
This review was based on a digital review code for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X for the PlayStation 4, provided by SEGA.