Excluding Sound Shapes, (Which is not a rhythm game), DJ Max Tune will be the second major rhythm game for the PS Vita. Though against a virtual idol, Pentavision releases a game that any music fan will enjoy.
DJ Max isn’t new to the music gaming scene. Their first game, DJ Max Online, was made for Windows computers in 2004. With over 10+ games either for PSP, Windows, or Arcade, the DJ Max series is no newcomer.
Obviously with the title, this new Vita game follows the same format as the arcade version. Essentially, there are two vertical lanes in which a horizontal line goes back and forth between them. When the horizontal line lapses a note, you tap it on the touch screen. There are other kinds of notes that will be thrown in with the music like hold notes, tap notes, slide notes, rear panel notes, etc. Each note goes with the music and each note is key sounded. Not many games key sound their notes so this is a huge plus for music games in general.
The game is separated into 4 sections: Arcade, Option, Album, and Collection. I’ll go into the main game play later. Album mode is a literal OST. Over 1/2 of the songs are already unlocked so you can listen/watch to the music in the game just like a MP3 player. This mode has been a staple and its return is welcomed. Collection mode contains a master score tracking list, your online rankings, and any videos/images you’ve have unlocked. There’s a hefty amount of unlockables making the length of this game quite large. Finally, in Option mode, you can change basic sound functions, difficulty, and even link your Facebook page to auto-post your highscores!. The social integration is a wonderful feature and I hope to see this in more games.
The main game has 4 separate modes also: Star, Pop, Club, and Freestyle. These are translated into Easy, Medium, Hard, and Freeplay. Both Star and Pop mode play similar to the arcade counterpart where you you try to clear 3 songs without failing for the highest cumulative score. Each round has a different set of songs that get progressively harder. In Club mode, you are given a set of 6 songs and you create a 3 song playlist. Dependent on your score, an extra stage song can be played that normally can’t be accessed. Finally anytime you play a song, you unlock the song and the corresponding difficulty in Freestyle mode. The bad thing about such, is to unlock all 3 difficulties, you have to find/play the same song in Star, Pop, and Club.
Besides playing specific songs to unlock them, the game has a level up system where the more you play, the more you level up and unlock new songs, videos, and pictures. There are avatars and note skins which you can customized the game to your liking. The game maxes at lvl. 99 which equates to a fair amount of unlockables.
Technika Tune has the same art style as their second Technika game. (Down to the point that it reuses some of the exact animations). The sleek futurist pop techno art style looks beautiful on the Vita’s OLED screen. Each music video has a custom scripted video that compliments and enhances the music for the player. The art style is something that has to be experienced.
The fact alone that the game has its own OST player is already a win. With the inclusion that each song in this game is custom-made (excluding licensed music) allows the player to hear something totally new. Unfortunately, this game does reuse alot of songs from previous DJ max games. Fans of the series will enjoy the nostalgia but will miss the lack of new music.
The learning curve of this game is amazing. The fact alone that each song has 3 different note charts allows any player to enjoy the song they want. The levels of songs range from super easy to stuff a veteran music gamer struggles to complete.
As for bugs, there are 2 things that really urks me. The first of which is the lack of button usage. The game is completely reliant on touch screen for all menus yet to skip the opening video, you have to hit the start button. I really want either full touch screen support or full button support. The second bug I encountered was a freeze on the song “Trip”. The Vita was still active so I just restarted the app. Other than that, this game has been really solid and I have not seen a single sign of frame drops.
Overall, this game is great. 100+ unlocks, 60+ songs, and a musical/visual trip that makes you want to play over and over again. The game has a curve where everyone can play, but music gamers can excel. Overall a solid music game.
– Brings the arcade experience to a portable console
– Anyone can play
– Tons of unlockables
– Visually beautiful with Great soundtrack
– Slightly irritating interface
– Reuses great sound track
4 of 5