Heyo, y’all. You might be looking at the title and wondering why I’m posting something so off-brand. Simply put, I am unhinged. Before we get into the review portions of this article, I would just like to remind everyone that opinions are subjective. What I might like, y’all might despise with a burning passion. I recommend anyone interested in playing any of these games to go out and play these games themselves and form their own opinions. I am not writing this to try and influence your views about any of these games. I am writing this because I love the sound of my own voice and because I may or may not have been swamped with Uni work and had nothing else to post except these reviews I found in the Notes app on my phone. Ignore the weeb-ness I’m begging you.
ANYWAYS, here’s how this is going to go down. I’m going to be reviewing a few of the rhythm games I’ve played and of which I have sunk enough time into to make semi-solid judgments. Don’t worry, I wrote these a few weeks ago, so my judgment in them is not as impaired as it is currently (after 5 hours of German work) <3
The scoring criteria are as shown:
Main gameplay: This includes mechanics, scoring, and other things directly related to how you play and experience the game.
Side Content: This details extra add-ons such as lore or customization options. You didn’t think rhythm games would have lore? Yeah, join the club.
Music: Perhaps the most important part of any rhythm game, this section will talk about the quality and quantity of the songs to which you play the game.
Visuals: This and the “fun” sections are the most subjective I think. Everyone has different standards. “Visuals” includes art quality, quantity, and just simple aesthetic appeal.
Fun: It’s all in the title. This section focuses on enjoyment and re-playability.
Overall: All of the #/10 scores added up for one final comprehensive score out of 100 points. If I messed up any math, please do not tell me because I will cry. 🙂
For y’all’s viewing pleasure, I have also added a “preview” section beneath each game title. These sections will have a Youtube link to either an official trailer for the game or a game-play video I think accurately communicates the mechanics of the game. This way y’all aren’t going off only my word. No, I did not include any of my own videos. I am unaffiliated with any of the video owners. I will self-promote elsewhere.
Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Mega Mix (Nintendo Switch)
Main gameplay: 7/10
I could only play Arcade mode since I didn’t have the moveable joy-cons required for the new Mix game mode, but this score is based on how the arcade mode plays plus the potential the second mode has (as I tried to play it before realizing I needed joycons LOL). The mechanics are easy to pick up, and periods of “challenge mode” (where the L and R buttons and directional buttons are employed) in songs help break up the sometimes monotonous periods of only having to press A/B/X/Y. However, “challenge mode” is sometimes unproportionately difficult to the song’s actual difficulty, dooming your score.
Side Content: 6/10
There’s no story mode, but the ability to play with licensed and recognizable characters such as Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, and other favorites, in addition to an extensive closet of iconic outfits you can purchase with VP (earned from playing songs), definitely buffs your emotional investment in the game.
It’s full of iconic songs from the Hatsune Miku team, including “Alien Alien”, “Melancholic”, “Sadistic.Music∞Factory”, among new original songs for the game. The score for this section is really up to personal music taste, so take this rating with a grain of salt. Main problem I find with the songs is their length which, like I mentioned above, can really make the gameplay feel like a drag.
You play against a moving video background of the song’s associated music video, featuring the character of your choice in the outfit you choose. Some outfits and models work better in certain videos than others, but most of the time you are too focused on the moving notes to pay attention to any flaws. That said, the iconic flashing colors, futuristic neon, and 3D character models can become quickly distracting as you try to follow the notes set against them, and I haven’t found any option to turn off the background videos.
The fast pace, bright colors, and iconic songs make this game a good choice for fans of Hatsune Miku or gamers who are looking for a new challenge.
Main gameplay: 10/10
Made in 2007, not much has changed in gameplay since then aside from the addition of new modes and raising pp (performance point) caps. There are many gameplay modes in osu! (osu!, osu!taiko, osu!catch, and osu!mania) but the most common (and the main focus is this review is standard mode (osu!) which contains the iconic mechanic of clicking and dragging circles. The simplicity of this gameplay is easy to become familiar with, and the various different difficulties make it so even the newest players have a wide variety of maps to play. For veterans of the game, while the concept of just clicking circles may seem like something that would quickly grow tiresome, the ability to play community-created beatmaps (note layouts for a song) allows for unique patterns and speeds that keep the game feeling fresh.
Side Content: 7/10
The other game modes (osu!taiko, osu!catch, and osu!mania) aren’t as recognizable, but many (especially osu!mania) still have a large player base. However, because of the majority of the player base is on the standard osu! mode, it’s harder to find ways to customize the gameplay and visuals of these other modes.
osu! is made up of almost entirely community content, meaning if there’s a song you want to play, nine times out of ten it’s going to be available and with many different versions varying in difficulty. The music is definitely one of the best parts of osu!. How have they avoided copyright for so long? That’s one of the world’s great mysteries.
For the standard mode of osu!, the visuals are whatever you want them to be. “Skins” are easy way to customize the UI with designs either pre-made by community members or by yourself. Only reason this section isn’t a 10/10 is that some skins work better than others, and anyone can make a skin, saturating your skin options with ones that might be… less than perfect.
The thing that keeps me coming back to osu! is the many different ways you can play it. Alone or multiplayer, with a mouse or drawing tablet, there are so many different options, how your game looks and plays is almost completely up to you. However, since this game did come out in 2007, you’re going to have a lot of competition if you decide to start playing with the goal to get good rankings. There are a lot of elitists who may try to put you down for various reasons, but there are also many kind people who are more than happy to help you along your osu! learning journey. I play for fun but be prepared for the large community if you decide to do otherwise.
Muse Dash (PC, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch)
Main gameplay: 6/10
Muse Dash’s gameplay consists of jumping up and down and punching obstacles as they approach you to the beat. It plays similarly to a side scroller, with very limited variation. However, your method of playing is entirely up to you (and the device you play on). The tips that appear at the bottom of loading screenings will frequently recommend new ways to play. I play with mouse and keyboard on PC, but you can easily switch the keys to whatever is most comfortable.
Side Content: 8/10
As you rank up you receive more illustrations for loading screens in addition to character costumes. You’ve probably seen some of the characters wearing their more **ahem** revealing costumes on the internet. Different costumes have different perks, and in addition to the perks you can get from costumes, you can also have a little companion character that flies behind you while adding bonuses. It’s cute.
The music is composed of almost all original songs, with a few exceptions. Unlike some of the other games I mentioned, there isn’t any community content, so what you see is what you get, and they rarely do collaborations with outside artists. The majority of songs are behind a pretty hefty ~$27 paywall, although they do allow you to play a random paid song for free every week. Once every few months, new albums/songs are added to the song library at no additional cost to those who have already paid to unlock the other songs. For fans of electronic music or lo-fi, this game is for you.
The visuals are whimsical and move smoothly throughout the game. It’s clear there was passion behind the character and outfit designs, enemies, and companions, in addition to the backgrounds. The cartoon-like style of the game is a major plus, and designs are frequently being updated with new art. The UI is one of my favorite out of all the games mentioned here. It’s super simple and easy to follow, unlike many other games that overwhelm you.
It’s really weird how something so simple could be so fun, but I suppose its simplicity has something to do with its success. It’s a game you don’t have to sell your soul to the devil to get good at, and it’s fairly relaxing too. The easy to follow, color-coded notes means you don’t have to struggle to understand where to click or press next. It’s extremely easy to level up as well, which is both a pro and con. Pro is that you unlock things quicker, con is that you unlock things quicker, leaving not much to do after unlocking everything except wait for a new set of songs to come out.
BanG!Dream Girls’ Band Party (iOS, Android)
Preview: https://youtu.be/qQpoJXcyWPU (Not the best example but I felt a moral obligation to include it)
Main gameplay: 8/10
The gameplay is very simple, mimicking rhythm game cabinets found in arcades all around Japan and in addition to resembling the layouts of Guitar Hero and osu!mania. Unlike the problem many other rhythm games fall into, the gameplay for GBP isn’t something that becomes monotonous easily. With various different note types and layouts that keep your fingers constantly moving in new ways, it’s hard for the game to become overly familiar, even to veteran players. One of the only problems I have is that your score depends mostly on the levels of the characters you have, and not on your skill. It’s easy to get higher level characters from the gacha (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gacha), but still a shame it weighs character power over player skill.
Side Content: 10/10
GBP itself includes multi-chapter side stories in visual novel style for all the playable bands and characters, in addition to comics and it’s own spin-off anime series. It’s very easy to get emotionally invested in characters as you go about making your own band and learning about each character’s talents and feelings.
Honestly, it’s hard to find anything that’s not an absolute banger in the song list. Frankly, the amount of songs available is overwhelming. You’ve got character songs, band songs, cover songs, and various genres to choose from. They frequently do music collaborations with the likes of Hatsune Miku and franchises like Persona and Re; Zero. It’s always fun playing covers of iconic anime openings and endings such as “Bad Apple!!” (Touhou), “Goya no Machiawase” (Noragami), “Great Escape” (Attack on Titan), “Guren no Yumiya” (Attack on Titan), “Hacking to the Gate” (Steins;Gate), “Life Will Change” (Persona 5), “Melissa” (Full Metal Alchemist), “Namae No Nai Kaibutsu” (Psycho-Pass), “Stay Alive” (Re:Zero)… there are just so many so take this: https://bandori.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Cover_Songs
The Japanese version of the game has more anime songs than the English version due to copyright, but they supplement the difference by doing English covers of original Japanese songs for the world-wide servers… and whatever this is: https://youtu.be/hnLYNu6xxkA
Visuals could be better, but simply due to how overwhelming the UI can seem at times. Thankfully there are many settings that can limit the amount of flashing and other distractions during gameplay, but on the home screen there seem to be thousands of things lining the sides of the screen. As for character designs, they can often suffer from a case of same-face-syndrome, but the character art on cards is almost always downright gorgeous.
I think the major draw to the game is the collaborations they do with franchises where new songs and outfits are introduced. This game is honestly a must-have for any music-loving anime fan. However, I did take off 3 points because it is a gacha game (where you pay in-game currency to draw characters from a lotto, basically). Thankfully, you can get more than enough of the in-game currency needed for the gacha by just playing the game, but it is important to note that what characters you have almost entirely relies on luck, and like I mentioned above, your characters determine most of your score.
Conclusion? Bold of you to assume I’ve thought that far…
I might make a part two for other games I’ve played, and possibly some others if my course load ever gives me enough time to do something at my computer other than cry. Remember, these reviews are all subjective, so go out and experience the games for yourself before forming any opinions.
I’m not a weeb <3