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RELEASE DATE (NA): September 8, 2015 GENRE: Rhythm
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

A peek at Miku, a tip of the Hat. So soon, eh?

The Nintendo 3DS is no stranger to rhythm games, much like its forerunner , the Nintendo DS. Something about playing music games on the go really fits the portability of these systems and the music games available for both these platforms often come with the benefit of containing high replay value. Project Mirai is no exception, with what I could only describe as a landmass of content. This makes Project Mirai pretty cray-cray. (Is that a phrase people use? Editor's Note: Yes, sadly.)

The most amazing thing about Project Mirai's song list is that it spans across 48 songs, each with their own artwork, dance routine and animations. Not shortened songs, but completely full length. Having been brought up on Bemani where the songs were rarely longer than two minutes, I've never been keen of full songs in rhythm games, not even in franchises I hold in really high regard (Guitar Hero, Rock Band). Of course, if I had my way, that'd be 64-or-something non full length songs — but I rarely ever get my way, ever.

Each song has three difficulty levels and two play styles. It is like having two rhythm games that use the same pool of songs, because Tap Mode and Button Mode couldn't be any more different in terms of basic control. Tap has you tap either one, two or three on-screen buttons in time with music, while Button has you pressing up to all four of the face buttons, and directions too. Tap Mode I pretty much enjoy, while Button Mode is nice to have but I feel no fondness towards it whatsoever.

Each song has special sections that must be hit perfectly for extra MP — or Mirai Points — the game's currency. This is spent on your Vocaloid's allowance, snacks, costumes, room items and irrelevant guff like that. You can also use your Nintendo 3DS Play Coins to pay for items that make the game harder in return for a larger crop of MP. I'd have preferred being able to convert my Play Coins into MP but that is something we cannot do, so boo! BOO!

Giving your Vocaloid an allowance comes with a caveat, which is that they buy stuff. Miku has ordered such rubbish, but perhaps the most annoyingly hilarious is when Miku had a telescope arrive in her name. You're not even interested in astrology, Miku. What in the blue-blazes do you need a telescope for? Though even with the telescope placed in the room, Miku still finds herself drawn to the Virtua Fighter machine. Says it all really. Not sure what it says, but it says all of it. If the Rhythm Game mode doesn't sate you, there's also a Puyo Pop mini-game appearing under the original Japanese name of Puyo Puyo, and it has some sweet unlockables such as costumes for each of the Vocaloids.

You can also play Reversi! Reversi, anyone? You know, Reversi? Yeah, I thought so.

This game is so freaking adorable.

Project Mirai DX has a wealth of social options available thanks to StreetPass and SpotPass implementation. Players can transfer custom dances, tunes, comments, and their profile card to other players. The tunes you share are made through the piano-shaped button on the menu, which could easy be confused for a background detail and easily missed. In this screen, you have access to seven instruments, and you can create a simple tune for one single instrument. This tune is then passed off to other players in that disease-like fashion StreetPass operates. Being the monster that I am, anybody who is unlucky enough to StreetPass me will be blasted with Totaka's Song. I was considering Deutschland Uber Alles at first but I managed to talk myself out of using that.

Completing in-game Stamps (akin to the Xbox Achievement system) will reward you with Titles for use on your profile card. At the time of writing I am an Ambiguous Puyo Popper. Sounds about right. To unlock these titles, the game encourages you to play in different ways and to use features you otherwise wouldn't. This means you can organically come to appreciate the entire game as it is just by playing through trying to get those Stamps.

Trying to figure out what some of the cryptic requirements are is half the fun, but if you can't be putting up with that, there are guides online that translate the Miraiglish into English.

A fan of Augmented Reality? You can make Miku appear on your desk!

If the game has all this much content, would could possibly be holding it back? The same problem I have with most rhythm games; there are only a few songs I actually like. At a stretch, there are only 9 songs that I enjoy listening to and only 5 of those I actually like playing. Fans of the series who started from the first Project DIVA know, deep down in their heart whether they choose to admit it or not, that the soundtrack has never been bettered since the first and second Project DIVA games.

What is this, Project Mirabbit DX?

Tricolore Airline, Matryoshka, and Senbonzakura are absolute stand-outs in my opinion. I am especially pleased to see Senbonzakura on the list again after being bundled DLC in Project DIVA F/f. Matryoshka is a fast paced "denpa" hit with enough adrenaline to knock you flat on your arse, and Tricolore Airline has that "muzak" feeling sound (or "muzak" sounding feel?), as though it was ripped straight off of an album by The Divine Comedy.

I might one day mix Tricolore Airline with The National Express and see if anybody notices.

The other songs? The same predictable sounding stuff. Ballads, boring pop songs and copy/paste songs (there are at least two songs that appear twice with different lyrics, or are so very similar that they are practically the same). Ultimately, the same thing that always lets Project DIVA down, has, well, let Project Mirai down. If we'd had shorter songs, we might have had more songs, and therefore more songs I like. That's how I see it.

But to begrudge a game so beautifully and lovingly crafted as Project Mirai DX for a poor selection of songs would be like begrudging a musician for making an album without as many catchy songs as they'd normally make. It's still the same great musician making the same great music, and Project Mirai DX is still the same great companies coming together and making another great game. But now, you can share your love of Miku with every fellow player you brush past in the street.

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