Hatsune Miku fans with a VIVE or an Oculus rejoiced this March, as Hatsune Miku VR was released on Steam. In this action/rhythm game, players use the controllers to hit musical notes that fly towards them to the rhythm of Miku’s lyrics. It’s a fun game, but fans of Miku will definitely appreciate it more than anyone going in blind.
Let’s dial it back a moment and touch on the basics. Hatsune Miku is a software voicebank created by Crypton Future Media a little over ten years ago. Without diving too deep in to the rich history of what is now known as Vocaloid, the company has released hundreds of these voicebanks, each personified with an anime character. Hatsune Miku was one of the original Vocaloids, and has garnered fame and popularity world-wide with her largest fan-base in Asia. Japan especially has always held a love for the Japanese Vocaloid, with her likeness and songs appearing in a plethora of advertisements all over the country.
What makes Vocaloid so interesting is that anyone can create Vocaloid songs and release full albums. There are literally thousands of Vocaloid albums out there, ranging over every genre imaginable at the hands of very talented independent producers all over the world. I could talk about Vocaloid for hours, so let’s get back to the game.
Hatsune Miku’s first North American foray into VR was on the PSVR in 2016. Titled Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live, it wasn’t very well-received, even among fans. It was basically a concert simulator. Seeing Hatsune Miku perform live is a very interesting experience; (holograms of Vocaloids, a room full of passionate fans wielding glow-sticks, incredibly talented musicians playing the songs live, one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever been to). Be that as it may, perhaps having an awkward pricing model and not including any sort of actual gameplay may have been a bad decision in hindsight.
Luckily, fans finally have a Miku game worth playing. Hatsune Miku VR doesn’t quite play like the PS3 and PS4 titles, but at least there’s substance there, albeit a small amount. Hatsune Miku games usually have around 40 songs to play, with Future Tone clocking in astoundingly around the 250 number. Additional songs are released as DLC packages, which is promised with Hatsune Miku VR. At the moment though, upon release only eight songs are available with only two difficulty levels instead of the usual four. The eight songs chosen are fantastic, and most have been staples in the Vocaloid library for years.
Hastune Miku VR has four icons behind the stage, which music notes emerge from. In the center is Miku herself, dancing to the beat and singing complex lyrical rhythms. The notes will come out towards the player not to the rhythm to the song, but to the rhythm of the lyrics as previously mentioned. The object of the game is to get the highest possible score in each round, which is done by building combos from not missing any notes. It’s not necessarily more difficult than the other Miku titles, but for sure it’s different. I worked up a bit of a sweat playing on a harder difficulty. Even though you only need to hit 4 different areas, the notes come at you fast and furiously making this a moderately physical VR title.
If you’re a Vocaloid fan with a VIVE or an Oculus, you probably have already purchased this game and most likely have played each song several times. It’s an addiction, one that we don’t want a cure for.