Long time subscribers of the Higher Plain Games YouTube channel will know I love vocaloid games and music. Miku Hatsune and her clan of digital singers are simply a joy to behold and each rhythm game they’ve been involved with has usually been at the very top of the rhythm action genre. For the first truly playable VR title, Miku Hatsune VR changes the gameplay up dramatically and creates an arm breaking wave-fest!
Instead of Project Diva’s button pressing and analogue stick whacking gameplay, Miku Hatsune VR plays like a Nights Into Dreams / Hole in the Wall mash up. You are placed on stage with Miku who simply dances and sings infront of you to the track you have chosen. Behind her are between 6 to 10 speakers arranged in a circle pumping out the music. The music speakers pump out rings that fly towards you for you to collect. With each of the two hand controllers you have, you’ll have either a leek or magic wand and you need to glide your sticks through the rings to rack up the score.
Miku Hatsune VR doesn’t baby you in any way – it throws you straight in. Within moments you’ll be zigzagging and doing semi circles with each arm. The controls track really well and follow your every move quickly and precisely. There are two types of rings. Usual ones and golden ones. Gold rings build up a fever meter that lets you launch fever mode when full. This removes the stage and puts you in space with Miku and adds a score bonus for the rings collected during this time. If you are great at the game, you’ll be triggering this several times per track.
The experience is fantastic as a concept and the execution is too except for just one thing – the high difficulty on entry. Miku Hatsune VR could have been greatly improved with an easy mode to get you up and running. Some of the tracks on normal mode are frantic and you’ll feel overwhelmed if you choose these tracks early on. As all tracks are available from the beginning and there is no way to know which track is harder than another – it feels like a really steep learning curve – one I’m still struggling to master. Repetition here is key, there are about three tracks that keep your arms separate on their respective sides and after that all the other tracks want you crossing over and doing all kinds of acrobatics. You will need to know and spot how to do this yourself but some will be put off at the sheer speed and overwhelm of all these rings flying at you.
Interestingly – the fact it doesn’t hold your hand in how you do succeed is also a strength. I bet my way of getting through a song will have different moves to another and so on. If your way of flinging your arms around works for you – then there is no wrong answer.
My only other complaint is the lack of songs. Miku Hatsune VR ships with 10 songs in the initial pack and as of writing has two 5 track DLC additions. If you don’t buy the DLC, you’ll have about 2 easy to learn tracks and 8 others of high difficulty to replay and master – which feels really stingy when you have that uphill struggle. The DLC packs contain at least one easier track and that is welcome. When you look at how many tracks are in the Project Diva games (ignoring Future Tone’s epic 230+), this feels like its only half full. Fans of Len, Rin, Luka, Meiko and Kaito will be sad to find they aren’t here either.
I feel like I’ve moaned a lot in this written review but I have genuinely enjoyed my experience with the game. It looks and plays excellently but it simply has a high entry bar and lacks a bit of content out of the box. If you don’t mind that and you are prepared to learn, practice and use spaghetti arms – Miku Hatsune VR will be a great addition to your catalogue.
Bought on PS4.
Miku Hatsune VR
Whilst it is a little content light and difficult to start with, Miku Hatsune VR is a rewarding and challenging title that will turn your arms to jelly with joy.
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