As the most expensive Vita game on PSN, DJMAX Technika Tune has “ballsy” written all over it. While most games try to shimmy story modes and other such things, Technika Tune is a rhythm game that stubbornly stands by an arcade mode and some collectibles. Moreover, while this would be a negative to most other games, the simplicity in this instance is quite admirable.
Technika Tune is played entirely using the front and back touch pads on the Vita. Though unwieldy at first, the controls are incredibly intuitive. Depending on the prompt, you tap and slide various samples (represented by bubbles) on the touch screen to the rhythm of the song (dictated by a scrolling bar). The tapping and sliding is very comfortable, but the game gets interesting when you have to balance taps on the front screen with taps on the back screen. The command types are generally the same on both screens, but the game becomes difficult (yet fair) when you have to keep up with the rhythm at two places at once. Thankfully, you only have to deal with the back touch screen at higher difficulties. And, as is a staple of most rhythm games, expect to be given a grade at the end of each song, expect the game to tell you how perfectly you hit each bubble, expect a Fever mode that allows you to rack up a lot of points if you build a strong-enough combo, and expect a bar that increases with high combos and decreases with each missed sample (eventually resulting in a game over). The entire game builds itself around a tried-and-true formula, but it is a formula that works.
Speaking of difficulty, the game has plenty of it. Individual playlists of songs can be separated into Star, Pop, and Club difficulties. Star difficulty only has you worrying about the touch screen; Pop settings integrate some of the back touch screen; Club difficulty, meanwhile, is much more complex, and holds nothing back. In addition to this, a second layer of difficulty in the options menu exists, separating the game into Easy, Medium, and Hard. Simply put, these options determine how quickly the combo bar fills up and depletes (though playing on a higher difficulty does result in a higher score).
Don’t think that easier modes are easy however. For many, Star/Easy modes will be challenging but fair, Pop/Medium modes will be really tough, and Club difficulty gets borderline sadistic at times. Thankfully, the game is enjoyable enough to inspire an urge to try to beat the toughest-of-the-toughest songs, and much of the game’s longevity will come from playing songs repeatedly.
In addition to this, completing songs in the game causes experience points to be earned, which can unlock new songs, always-active power-ups, new avatars for your profile, and new images and videos to view. The power-ups are interesting, because they can do things like give you more wiggle room to mess up in songs and offer extra experience points, allowing you to level up faster.
While mostly manageable, I only have a slight issue with the hit detection in the game. You will never get cheated out of points, but the bubbles on screen are just a bit smaller than they probably should be. On more difficult songs, I was prone to missing the taps slightly because, while timed correctly, they were just outside of the small hit detection. It’s a very minor annoyance that does get less problematic over time, but it can be troublesome.
Musically, the game features well over 50 songs, with a diverse soundtrack featuring k-pop, j-pop, hip-hop, rock, and quite a bit more. Although many of the people playing this (like me) will have no idea who any of the musicians are, some songs remain memorable, and all of them are catchy and well suited for a rhythm game like this.
To play these songs, all the game offers is an arcade mode featuring the aforementioned difficulties, a free-play mode, and that is it. There are images to view, a few videos to watch, an already-unlocked soundtrack to listen to, and a myriad of data, but nothing more.
DJMAX Technika Tune is a really fun game that takes a stubborn approach to what a game needs to have to be considered a “complete” experience. As such, it feels refreshing to have a game that is so focused on providing great gameplay and replayability. On the other hand, anyone who doesn’t like to chase leaderboard rankings or replay songs over and over (also like me) probably won’t get more than four hours out of this.
In other words, you should not feel bad for purchasing this, but you should still purchase at your own risk.