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[Review] DJMAX Technika Tune (Vita)

Because this last generation has largely been about consoles, few gamers know about the thrill and offerings of arcades. Aside from featuring some of the most unique games, arcades also have an atmosphere unlike console gaming.  It’s a fear that even survival horror games can’t reproduce – that of embarrassment. For that reason, some key titles like DJMAX Technika hardly get touched by the uninitiated, which will likely change now with the Vita release of DJMAX Technika Tune.

To begin, it was likely not a case of whether the developers wanted to release the title for consoles or portables as much as it was more likely a case of whether the developers could release the title outside of arcades. Nintendo’s own touch screens were simply inadequate, whereas no home consoles had any type of touch screen option. Enter the Vita, which is perfect for the title with both its capacitive and multi-touch enabled touch screen.

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In DJMAX Technika Tune, players must tap circles placed around the screen as the time line passes through them. In addition to these staple notes that are present in other music rhythm games, In addition, there are long notes that require players to drag along the time line until it ends, repeat notes where players tap the same spot on the screen every time it repeats, or holding notes where players have to hold their fingers on a singular spot until the note ends. The screen is split into two, where the time line will constantly cross from one to the other. In the beginning, it may take some practice to get used to, as the opposite portions of the screen will begin playing before the other side is even done at times. With time though, the whole experience becomes entirely seamless.

Easier difficulties will often have players using only one finger as they poke their way through songs, but as players begin to challenge harder difficulties in Pop and Club mixing, they’ll begin utilizing multiple fingers on both hands. The game is extremely frantic and will likely challenge even the most dexterous of gamers.  At times, however, it feels a bit overwhelming. Harder songs in Pop and almost every song in Club will feature eighth and even sixteenth notes that will almost certainly throw players’ rhythm off their first couple of tries, guaranteeing multiple tries before a passing grade can be obtained. It’s all fine in Pop mixing when songs can be easily replayed, but it’s ridiculously frustrating in Club mixing when an entire set rather than a single track would have to be replayed as a result. Though players who are up for the challenge will see themselves on the leaderboards, which constantly track players’ point total.

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Considering this level of involvement, the game’s two control schemes are a godsend. If players are at home, they may choose to use the front screen only, which perfectly mirrors the arcade experience and will prove as good practice, in case they ever feel the courage to play on big monitors at actual arcades. On the other hand, the Vita exclusive control scheme makes the game viable even without an even surface to set the system upon. Though the majority of notes still use the front touch screen, repeating notes and hold notes are hit using the rear touchpad. It feels awkward at first, especially for those who have put in their time in the arcades, but it soon proves superior because of its accessibility and viability.

While the title’s difficulty may prove daunting, its inclusion of only Korean tracks may also be somewhat off-putting. Many of them bear universal appeal, especially electronic tracks, but a noticeable absence of American or recognizable music is disappointing. Regardless, if players can get past playing to unfamiliar and foreign songs, the game is still extremely enjoyable.

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As far as music rhythm and Vita titles go, DJMAX Technika Tune is one of the best on the market. As a combined force, the title is unparalleled with no other games on the market to challenge it. Players who are looking for a challenge will be both satiated and tired from the constant, fast paced rhythms they’ll be following on their Vita screens if they pick this up.

Available on: Vita; Publisher: Pentavision; Developer: Neowiz; Players: 1; Released: December 4, 2012; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $49.99; Official Site

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Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.

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