• Megpoid The Music Review Sony PSP

    Hatsune Miku is a character that will be familiar to many of those who follow Japanese media and entertainment on any real level, but of most importance to the majority of us is the games that have featured the all-singing, all-dancing vocaloid. A rival has appeared on the horizon though in the form of Gumi and her vehicle, Megpoid the Music, on PSP. Is she a pretender to the vocaloid crown, or do we have a genuine Miku-beater?


    First off, as should be expected, Megpoid the Music takes the form of a rhythm game. The d-pad and face buttons needing to be pressed as they match up to a note counter. Multiple inputs and notes that need to be held for longer are present too so far, so Project Diva. The similarities continue however, far beyond the quirky, upbeat, synthesised music and vocals and throughout much of the rest of the game.

    The main menu gives access to play each of the songs on offer, enter Gumi's room which can be customised using a variety of items, a shop in which to buy said trinkets, a tutorial and the usual load/save and options. The shop allows not only cosmetic items such as costumes to be bought, but more interestingly, some that are gameplay changing in that they provide the option to speed up songs and so on, once equipped.


    Looking more deeply into the core gameplay reveals the basics of the rhythm game notes appearing on screen that correspond to face and d-pad buttons that must be pressed on time, some single presses and some needing to be held. Although on the lowest difficulty, these inputs are very non-taxing with only two buttons required, once this is increased, things quickly get a lot more challenging. Wanting to get better at each song is essential to the longevity of the game, not just because it provides incentive to beat personal high scores and finish everything available, but perhaps more importantly because each individual song only lasts, on average, ninety seconds or so. The fact that some seem to be cut off prematurely is particularly frustrating when the likes of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai on 3DS, although featuring a relatively low song-count, contains mainly lengthy tunes that require more concentration and feel like they provide better value on the whole. The saving grace here is that there are thirty to choose from, even if they generally aren't long enough to allow favourites to be easily identified.


    The visual style is in keeping with the upbeat music - bright, bold and colourful; Gumi performing her dance moves with an at times busy background is pleasing on the eye, although as is so often the case with the genre, paying too much attention can see notes and background blend together, adding a new dimension of challenge.

    Furthermore, whilst playing on the easy setting allows songs to completed without really trying, this leads to the game feeling very stale and boring. Not everyone will want to play on the highest level of challenge, but even on normal, two more button inputs are introduced, making things at least a little more interesting.


    It's obvious that Megpoid the Music is an attempt to steal away some of the many droves of Hatsune Miku rhythm game devotees, and although the game at times feels like a carbon copy of Miku's PSP and Vita outings especially, the vocaloid hardcore are catered for with a multitude of costumes to dress Gumi up in. Although not changing the core game system, it's another element that has the potential to hook people in, the incentive of unlocking all outfits being a considerable lure for many.


    In the end, although an enjoyable experience in its own right, the more accurate way (although maybe a little harsh) to describe Megpoid the Music is to call it a poor mans Project Diva. The game mirrors those games very closely, although Gumi herself may be enough to allow it to stand on its own amongst genre fans. As a full price PSP release this late into the systems life cycle, those interested in getting into the world of vocaloid rhythm games would be better off spending the same amount of money on Project Diva f on Vita, or buying the two project Diva PSP outings both of which now have budget priced releases.

    Pros:

    - Good selection and variety of songs.
    - Plenty to unlock.

    Cons:

    - A bit too much like Project Diva.
    - Generally short song length.

    Developer: ParaPhray
    Publisher: ParaPhray
    Other Versions: N/A
    Version Reviewed: Japanese

    Score: 5/10
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