Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is the latest entry in the Project Diva series – a rhythm game based around music from the phenomena known as Vocaloids and the music their fans produce for them. In this one, Miku aside, our digital singers have lost the ability to sing. It’s up to you to guide Miku to restore the prisms to give them the strength to sing again. After the first prism everyone will be able to sing again, but that’s just the beginning.
In this series, how the gameplay works is that a video will be playing in the background, while in the foreground targets will show up on screen with a metronome hand counting down on when to hit the corresponding button. Additionally, the game will have a symbol of the target going to the target and once those overlap, you press said button. While that sounds complicated, there are only a few things to remember. First are that most of the targets are just the face-buttons on the controller (triangle, circle, square, cross). These targets can also be hit from using the corresponding direction on the D-Pad (X is down on the D-Pad, triangle is up on the D-Pad, etc). Secondly, there are double targets those are when you press a face-button with it’s corresponding D-Pad direction. You’ll know which buttons to press because the note will be shaped like an arrow and is the color of the face-button, while also pointing in the direction of said face-button. The final singular target is a special note where all you have to do is swipe the touch screen, tilt the left or right analogue sticks, or – if you’re in Free Play mode – use the Left or Right buttons. Lastly, there are targets where you hold the button down until it ends, as well as rush targets where you mash the button until the target pops.
Before actually picking a song, there are a few things to take into consideration if you’re in the Cloud Request mode of the game. In Cloud Request mode (restoring the prisms), the module (outfit) and accessories you wear absolutely matter. You see, when it’s time to fix up a prism, they’re fixed by certain kinds of music. The Cool prism has rock, the Cute one has really poppy music and so on. That said, it would be best to put on a module and accessories that match the current prism you’re in. Doing that will raise the “voltage gauge” which in turn will make the voltage meter much easier to max out. When you finish all of the songs in a prism, a medley will appear. In medleys, three shortened versions of songs play back to back to back in succession. Each of them vary in BPM (Beats Per Minute) with each song tending to be faster than the last as well as increasing in difficulty.
Throughout playing a song there will be at least one “technical zone” and chance time portion. In the Cloud Requests parts of the game, the clear song gauge becomes a voltage gauge. The voltage gauge fills up to a maximum of three times in a song, allowing you to get more gifts to give to the Vocaloids, and in this case, completing a technical zone fills it up a little faster. In the case of Chance Time, unlike a technical zone that must be done without missing a note, you can miss a note here or there and still be okay as long as you fill up the star shaped gauge and hit the special note at the end of it. Completing this will give you either a new module or a new accessory for them to wear. Keep in mind, however, that while accessories are universal, modules are character specific.
Another mode in the game is Free Play. Free Play and Cloud Requests are similar in structure. In Cloud Requests, you pick a song and go through it, as there is no fail state as the song keeps going no matter how bad you mess up. While, in Free Play, the Voltage Gauge and Voltage Meter are replaced. The Voltage Gauge is now a health bar; if you make a mistake, it goes down, and ultimately the song will end if you mess up too many times. The voltage meter, meanwhile, is just an overall progress bar so you can see how much of the song you have left. Also, because you don’t have to worry about the voltage gauge and meter there’s no need to worry about using a specific costume. Unfortunately, beating Chance Time doesn’t grant you a new module or accessory; nevertheless, you can choose what you transform into before the song starts. This mode is really all about beating your high score. If you don’t feel like testing yourself, you can always just select to watch the videos play when you pick the song so you can at least read translated song lyrics or read the romanji of the lyrics so you can (try to) sing along. Note that if you haven’t completed the song the Cloud Requests, you can’t play them in this mode. This applies to event mode.
Another mode, Event mode, is similar to how medley’s work: you have three shortened songs to play back to back to back. But this time, it’s completely customizable. Having three songs to play in this mode means you have three Vocaloids to choose from. For the first Vocaloid you will play the first song you pick, the second Vocaloid, the second song, and of course the last Vocaloid gets the last song. Only the last song will have the chance time portion. Technical zones and chance times appear here as well. Unlike Free Play, though, you actually do unlock something here (albeit it’s fixed). You can also totally just pick what you transform into.
If you would like to, you can gift Vocaloids items you’ve acquired. Doing this will increase your friendship with them. Also depending on the gift a small cut scene will play – for example, giving Miku ‘Birthday Cake (MIKU)’ a small scene will play out with some characters wishing her a Happy Birthday. The game has other features including a photo mode you can choose up to two Vocaloids and pose ’em up for the camera. Sadly, these aren’t rendered backgrounds pre-installed into the game, but use the Vita’s camera. So on one hand it’s cool to pose them and take a selfie with them or something, but at the same time, the main fallback is the Vita’s camera, as it’s just not good enough in comparison to current (or even the time when the Vita was released) camera standards.
In conclusion, Project Diva X is another great entry in the franchise where it’s easy to pick up and play but harder difficulties will certainly test your limits. It’s a fun and cutesy experience that’s just full of energy. It’ll be interesting to see how Project Diva continues to evolve as the producer of the series has left SEGA as of June 30th 2016. But for now, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this game