The phenomenon around Vocaloid-based music and the anime-inspired mascots that personify these synthetic voices is one that brings tremendous joy to many. It’s not just because our beloved blue-haired virtual pop idol has been the face for a subsection of Japanese music that we hold so dear–through the Project DIVA rhythm games, Miku has represented our way of personally connecting with hundreds of songs composed by a number of incredibly talented artists. With Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA MegaMix, we have yet another great collection of genre-defying tunes and all-new bangers that bring the series to Nintendo Switch in familiar, but terrific form.
MegaMix’s rhythm gameplay system follows that of previous Project DIVA games; note patterns fly in from off-screen to form a continuous string of button prompts that sync to the beat of each song. When you choose to ramp up the difficulty, the face buttons or directional inputs (or any combination thereof) and shoulder button prompts begin to layer over one another at a rapid pace and challenge you to keep up. And it’s a gratifying thrill when you’ve mastered your favorite songs, as if you’re playing some role in the performance of the song itself, especially at Hard or Extreme difficulty when the button patterns begin to accentuate every intricate part of the instrumentation.
The Switch’s portable nature makes it convenient to satisfy the impulse to crank out a few songs or get lost in hours of music, much like the desire to jam out for a while on an instrument you play. It’s been quite some time since the PS Vita entries and the heavily modified 3DS versions, so the return to handheld form is a welcome one. Thankfully in MegaMix, you can swap out the Switch’s letter-designated face button prompts to instead show up as either the appropriate directional arrows or as PlayStation’s face button symbols (which is absolutely necessary since rapidly processing Nintendo’s lettered-button prompts can throw you for a loop). Getting the timing right to rack up your score and the highest possible combo is nonetheless fulfilling as a long-time fan even though it very much shares the DNA of the ones I’ve poured hours into on Sony platforms. It’s a tried-and-true foundation, but it’s no less joyous here in MegaMix.