Title: Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage!
Developer: Colorful Pallette
Release Date: December 7, 2021
Reviewed On: iOS
Genre: Rhythm Gacha
Rhythm gachas can’t seem to go wrong. As long as they can supply memorable tracks and offer some variety in their tapping modes, fans will gather. Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage! doesn’t have a problem with either of these as the game even threw in a Meta-style universe before it was cool.
The story of a rhythm game is typically light-hearted, such as friends getting together to make an awesome band with a few unnecessary obstacles. However, Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage gives us a pretty charming narrative. Each band within Colorful Stage has something they’ve lost within their passion for the stage or are on the cusp of achieving what they want in their performances but can’t quite get over that hump.
I wasn’t expecting something along the lines of a lead composer of an anonymous band who lost both their parents at a young age, which drives her to create compelling music. But sadly, she feels her music will never be good enough as her father’s. It comes to a point where the composer never sleeps and practically kills herself to make good music that she doesn’t even approve of. Deep, I know.
There is also one sort of “joke group” out of the entire cast, but hopefully, they get fleshed out more to fall in line with other stories. Each group is brought to a “Sekai” universe where they figure out what they need in their musical journey with the help of various Vocaloids. The interesting thing is Miku appears in each world but in a different form depending on the style of the band. Miku is a Genki girl hyper mascot with starry eyes in one Sekai. In another, she’s a dark poetic girl who almost looks dead.
What I enjoy most is how almost relatable some of these issues are. The mental fortitude you have to develop to find a breakthrough or fight through a collapse in your music is real. I think Colorful Stage did a great job at not recreating another “friendship saves all” story. A lot less cheerful subjects, but way more heartfelt than a typical gacha.
Gameplay is generally standard to what you’ve seen in other rhythm gachas. Tap the notes and get the highest score possible. Of course, your score ultimately depends on how your team is built out. The tapping during gameplay doesn’t feel bad. But this game is a little more unforgiving because a “Good” note tap breaks your combo, which can be rather frustrating. Further, I found this weird dragging note where you have to follow a curve a bit rough on the thumb. I sometimes fat-fingered it, which threw off the rhythm.
Getting your team to high levels at a relatively quick rate is no easy feat either. The materials required to level up units come at a snail’s pace after each completed song, depending on your grade. To begin with, many units aren’t too strong, so expect a lot of C ratings with minimal growth.
There are costumes you can craft to change up the look of your singers, but even that is a chore to grind all the necessary materials. Thankfully all the songs are pretty catchy. Performances in the background aren’t distracting in the slightest and look amazing. I’m a fan of Nightcore at 25:00. Their music has a somber, mysterious vibe to them, yet still remains to have me bobbing my head.
One of the more unique aspects about the game that I wasn’t aware of until exploring the menus is what I like to call their “metaverse.” You know, that thing Zuckerberg at “Meta” and all these other tech experts are trying to create that end up looking like Habbo Hotel. Meanwhile, things like VR Chat and Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage! have already managed to perfect.
Every few days, you can take your customized virtual avatar and walk around a little stage with other live players to attend a short concert featuring different bands and Vocaloids from the game. I was surprised with the intuitive controls and the great presentation within the concert, allowing me to have a great time. You can even type in a chat that appears overhead in the crowd, throw up stamps to cheer on your favorite performers, and customize your glowsticks to match the color scheme of who you’re cheering for.
Now I don’t know if this is programmed into the game, but when I started typing I LOVE YOU MIKU in chat and throwing up her picture stamps, I noticed she pointed in my direction. I can confidently tell you I had fun at a Hatsune Miku concert with random people in the comfort of my own home. It was a visual spectacle that I didn’t think could be pulled off in a mobile rhythm gacha game. Unfortunately, these concerts are always locked until certain times and days. So be sure to clear your schedule if you actually want to attend.
Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage! exceeds in storytelling and presentation, and gets some points considering I can attend a virtual Vocaloid concert. However, the grind it takes to acquire items and higher scores might be more than some are willing to invest. Still, the music is what we’re here for, and this game definitely brings the best beats to the party.
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