In the world of pop idols who become outlandish stereotypes of themselves after being chewed up and reformed by the music industry machine, why not have one that starts out a cartoon? Hatsune Miku, the teal haired, twin tailed anime mascot of a singing synthesizer application by Crypton Future Media has really taken on a life of her own, headlining concerts worldwide. Miku also has not been a stranger to the video game world appearing in a ton of games in both the Project DIVA and Project Mirai series– both of which are rhythm games, but Mirai gives Miku and friends a look based on their Nendoroid figures and is typically for the 3DS. So in the vast sea of existing Hatsune Miku-based rhythm game experiences all over Sony platforms, what makes this Project DIVA game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone, stand out?
Well, to sum it all up in one word, content. This game has more songs in it than I’ve ever seen in a rhythm game– so many that they’ve split them into two separate packs, Future Sound, which has all the rock and dance songs, and Colorful Tone, where all the upbeat, happy, and cute songs reside. Each pack will set you back $29.99 (or save cash with the $53.99 bundle) getting you a tremendous amount of songs for your money and allowing you to pick one group of songs if there’s more you like there. Although perhaps a Rock Band style song store that lets you pick your Miku songs a la-cart would be the most consumer friendly approach, this way isn’t bad either. The cost of one video game nets you enough songs for like 3 separate games– all pulled from previous Miku games both Project DIVA, Mirai, and Arcade titles. All-in-all you end up with 100+ songs to play of all different types and difficulties. There are seriously just piles and piles of Hatsune Miku songs (and other vocaloids for that matter) waiting for you to tap buttons along with them.
Speaking of tapping buttons to songs, that’s the entirety of gameplay on offer from Project DIVA Future Tone. There’s no real surprises here and if you’ve played a Hatsune Miku game in the past, or any rhythm game really, you’ll know what to expect. Button prompts slide on screen and you press them in time with the music. Sometimes you just press the button, sometimes you tap it rapidly, sometimes you hold it for a bit. Sometimes the game wants a flick of the analog stick in a certain direction. It’s obviously nothing groundbreaking, but it’s fun, and you can’t fault the game for doing what it says on the tin. All throughout the song, Miku or one of the other vocaloids performs an animated routine in the background, unique to every song. Considering how many songs there are in this game, that’s a pretty impressive feat, especially when you consider the amount of customization options you have. When you complete a song, you unlock currency you can use to dress the different vocaloids up with a considerably large amount of outfits and accessories from glasses to street clothes to bathing suits, to SEGA themed gear (which was my personal favorite– of course I want to dress Miku up in a Sonic hoodie and sweatpants that say “Sonic” on the butt!). Speaking of SEGA themed gear, there’s also a handful of songs based on SEGA arcade classics like Afterburner and Outrun’s Magical Sound Shower which was a delight for me, someone who enjoys SEGA arcade throwbacks.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone‘s downside, though? Well, your mileage may vary depending on how much you like Miku’s music. If you aren’t a fan of Hatsune Miku’s brand of music (as vast genre-wise as it may be) this isn’t going to do anything to change your mind, and I think the mostly generic, on the nose rhythm game gameplay isn’t going to entice anyone over to the Hatsune Miku fandom. In the end, though, if Hatsune Miku is your thing and you love pushing buttons on a game controller in time to music, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone is about as good as it gets.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone was reviewed using a download code provided by SEGA.