ghostmirage: (Vocaloid)
[personal profile] ghostmirage
game cover
 Megpoid the Music♯ is a rhythm-based video game for the PSP featuring - surprise, surpise! - Internet Co. Ltd.'s GUMI. It's very similar to the widely popular Project Diva franchise. Developed by ParaPhray, Megpoid the Music♯ was released on March 28, 2013. Given that it's a fairly recent game, there aren't any English patches for it yet but IDGAF - a Project Diva-esque game with GUMI in it? Count me in.

I've actually done a review of this game several weeks before, but I decided to scrap it and do a new one due to a couple of reasons: 1) I did the review during a particularly stressful week with exams and all, so it wasn't of good quality; and 2) I didn't use my own screenshots, which was pretty damn half-assed of me. So yeah - I figured out how to take screenshots and all that crap and I've played it long enough to get the hang of it, so here's a new and improved review!

Let's get started!

See where she's pointing? Select that to play.

Song selection menu (that PERFECT for Rosetta on Expert was surprisingly easy)
There's a pleasantly varied selection of songs available for play in this game. Project Diva tends to rehash the same songs over and over again for three games - I mean, come on, there's only so much of Luka Luka Night Fever a guy could take, y'know? Megpoid the Music♯ has a lot of interesting songs - they included some of my favourites like Rosetta (which explains why I cleared the Expert mode so quickly), Ama no Jaku, Jyuumensou, Aitai, Cattleya, Carnival/Cannibal (depends on your outlook), and Mozaik Role. The types of songs are pretty varied - you've got the cutesy love song like Noboru↑-P's 恋はきっと急上昇☆ (Love is Surely Soaring); crazy psycho ones like otetsu's  カーニバル (Carnival/Cannival); sexy and oh-so-catchy dance tracks like KiLLER LADY by Hachiouji-P; the obligatory samfree song Megu Megu☆Fire Endless Night; and the pure what-the-fuck-ery that is the last song in the game, 絶唱のカヴァリエーレ (Zesshou no Kavuarieere) by Maiden Knight. Oddly enough, I couldn't find any information about that song; neither on Nico or on YouTube or on Google. Which is pretty freaky weird, since it's a pretty cool song.

SE stands for Sound Effects for when you hit the notes, by the way
I really can't help you with the help items, since I never use them. Never even bought them once, not even in Project Diva, so yeah. Try and explore and see what they do. I also have a habit of using the same default SE for the notes, so I can't recommend anything about that either.

When I first tried these out, I got pissed because every time I chose the left option they'd always give me the Native GUMI costume (the costume you start out with). Over time and with more costumes I collected, the function of that option became clearer. If you don't have the default costume, though, they'll just give you the Native GUMI costume. Also, once you picked a costume for a song, it will remain that way every time you play it. Which is pretty cool, because in Project Diva you have to change costumes every time you play a different song.

The default costume for VERSUS

Gameplay for the song Cattleya. Because I CAN.
The most obvious difference between Megpoid the Music♯ and Project Diva is definitely the way them notes come at you. In Project Diva, they come at you from every which way you could think of, which is pretty damn tricky to nail. A couple of songs in EXTREME mode and you'd go nuts. Haywire, even. As you can see, Megpoid the Music♯ plays in a linear motion - the notes come in straight line. The screenshot above was in Normal mode, which only features two notes. Okay, technically four. Challenge mode gives you three (technically six) notes while Expert mode gives you four (seriously? EIGHT) notes. Getting the timing is the only tricky part of this game - that, and trying not to get dizzy from the MV playing in the background. 

Also, see that orange gauge at the bottom left corner with the cute GUMI icon? That's called the Groove Gauge. That Groove Gauge is SOLE DETERMINANT of whether or not you clear the song. The crazy thing about it? Getting that gauge filled to only 80% is a bad - BAD as in you've failed to clear the song. I'm not kidding. 80% is not a good thing. In fact, it's the equivalent of failing. Keep that in mind next time you get your exam papers back, kids.

What happens when you score a PERFECT -DAMN SHE'S CUTE
There are five scores you can get when hitting notes. Brilliant is obviously a bulls-eye. Great and Good are when you missed by a teeny millimeter. Fine is when your timing slipped a little and you pressed that button a tad too late, and Miss is, well... pretty damn obvious, innit? The different grades you get when clearing a song are BAD (I've mentioned that before), WELL, EXCELLENT, WONDERFUL and PERFECT. BAD when you're terrible at filling that Groove Gauge, WELL when you've filled it enough but you've got so many misses. EXCELLENT is when you don't miss too many notes, but still not a perfect combo. You get a WONDERFUL when you don't have any misses but still not a perfect combo and PERFECT when you get a perfect combo.

Oh, and by the way, getting a Fine note breaks your combo. C-C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

Next on the menu is going to GUMI's room.

Gotta do some stretching exercises before dancing

There are, as always, several options you can choose to do in GUMI's room. Pretty obvious what they are, so I won't elaborate on it too much.

I will, however, elaborate a little bit on the Media Player (that's what I call it - the game just calls it Player).

You can set up your own playlist, just like in Project Diva. The interface is a lot neater though. You can figure it out even if you can't read any Japanese, it just takes a little bit of common sense.

It even loops for forever!
The best part about the Player is the fact that if you choose to just play the songs in your playlist and not the MVs, you get to see GUMI do the song's dance routine! It's helluva convenient if, say, you wanted to learn the dance or something. *coughcough

Look at how hardworking she is!
Trivia: the items you put in her room affect her actions during idle mode. I placed a laptop on her shelf and I came upon her using it, which is pretty neat if you ask me. You don't get this with Project Diva.

Next, we're going to the Shop.

Standard rhythm-based video game items, nothing new about it.

Most of her costumes have colour variations, so even if there are few choices the idea of collecting them in all their different colours is appealing enough for me to play over and over again. That, and my own personal goal to attain PERFECT in all the songs. Oh hey, I have 69200 game points. Better go spend them.

What's in them presents? NOBODY KNOWS
You can give the presents to GUMI and she'll like it (I think?), but like I said, you'll never know what's in those presents. Well, maybe you could if you can read Japanese, but I can't so IDGAF. 

Want to check your all time high-score for a particular song? Time to check your data.

I might have mixed the bottom two up. Oops.
There's only one other person I know who might be interested in this game. His name is Rach - he's pretty much my partner-in-crime for anything Vocaloid. He's a huge GUMI fan, so I gave him a copy of this game to try out. I'll say what his response to this game was later on, but I don't think he's going to be playing it anytime soon anymore, so I have no friends and thus cannot test out how my friends' profiles might look like. Dammit.

You can choose several things for your profile. The first is obviously your name. The second one is your title, I think (like I said, I can't read Japanese so this is all guesswork - MOSTLY accurate guesswork, mind you). The third is your birth date, the fourth is possibly your favourite song out of all the available songs in the game and the last is your comment.

Incidentally, this is how my profile looks like
You've played for several hours and want to take a break? Don't exit the game just yet! Gotta save first.

DLC? What DLC?
The biggest problem I have with this game is the fact that there is NO AUTOSAVE FUNCTION (I'm putting that in capital letters so you know exactly what to fix next time, ParaPhray). You have to save manually every time. Sure, that's not really a big deal, but the game doesn't really emphasize the need to save, y'know? It doesn't even remind you to save. Project Diva has an autosave function; it saves every time it displays a loading screen, so it's pretty convenient. I had no idea Megpoid the Music♯ had no autosave function, so the first time I played it, I exited without saving and all my data disappeared. And I had cleared out all the songs, too. It's a bit of a hassle to be saving every time you want to exit the game, so that's a major down point for this game.

Other stuff
I never bothered much about the last three items on the menu, since they're really not that important. Head to the settings to change the volume of the BGM and SE and all that, go to the tutorial to get the hang of the game if you're really such a noob at this kind of game, and that last one? No idea. I'll try checking it out if I ever feel like it.



So, what did Rach think about this game?

It gave him a migraine. He said the notes coming at him in that linear fashion were too much for him to handle. He gave up after several tries. It's a damn shame, because he really is a big fan of GUMI and I thought this would be a great game for him. I think he prefers Project Diva on a whole, hahah.

On my part, I think this is a pretty decent attempt by ParaPhray to come up with something to compete with Sega and Crypton Future Media's Project Diva, albeit with a few glitches here and there. The loading time can be a tad bit too long, and when I've chosen to play a song there's a terrible static right after GUMI says something. It also lags, which is a pretty fatal error in any rhythm-based video game. What if the glitch is the reason for your missing the timing?! The horror! Well, not that it's ever happened to me, but it's rather worrisome. The lag is a bit obvious, too. The sound and animation quality are stellar, though. It has enough replay value to keep you coming back to tackle the harder songs, and plus - the opportunity to play Carnival/Cannibal in a game? Not something I'd want to miss.

I really want to give more, but the technical issues were too much for me to overlook. It has potential and it's a great game, but fix that lack-of-autosave problem and improve the gameplay quality a bit and you'll have an awesome game worthy of the awesome songs in it. Take note, ParaPhray!
P.S. I looked at the specs for Project Diva: F and it has Eh? Aa, Sou and hachi's World's End Umbrella. Eh, Aa Sou. is my favourite Sinsyakaijin song EVER and I am a huge fan of LOVE hachi's works, so that pisses me off a bit since F is only for the Vita and PS3. I hate you, Sega and Cryptooooooooooooooon.

Ah well, Papiyon's tuning for Miku in Eh? Aa, Sou. was terrible anyway. *sobs

Til next time!

July 2015

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