I love Japanese games. They’re always quirky and odd in a totally endearing way, even when they’re clearly trying not to be quirky and odd in a totally endearing way. Ironically though, these attempts to not be quirky and odd in a totally endearing way often lead them to be even more quirky and odd in a totally endearing way,
So, what have we learned today? Quirky. Odd. Endearing.Excellent, class dismissed.
Miku Flick 02 is the quirky, odd and totally endearing follow up to the Miku Flick which was released on iOS earlier this year. That’s right, Sega didn’t waste any time capitalising on the fact that more than 16 people downloaded the original – that’s the magic number of downloads it takes to greenlight a sequel. It’s the same in the movie business you know.
If you’ve messed around with the original, you’ll know what it’s about. If not, READ THIS NOW: It’s a rhythm game where our pop princess Hatsune Miku takes center stage, quite literally in fact. Lyrics scroll across the screen in the form of hiragana (Japanese characters – that’s characters as in letters, not characters as in Winnie The Pooh) and your job is to tap and flick the correct character when it’s highlighted as Miku warbles her most popular tracks in the background. It obviously starts simple, but takes skill to keep going when the lyrics come thick and fast with Miku egging you on with her vocal chic. As you flick and swipe with greater timing, a microphone fills up on the left of the screen. Fill it up completely and Simon Cowell will give you a reckon deal. Perhaps.
A game based on rhythm and timing input from the player would absolutely live or die on it’s controls. Unfortunately, this is where Miku Flick 02 throws itself off a cliff because there were multiple swipes, taps and flicks that simply failed to register as I played. At first I thought it might be me and my massive fingers, but with a little research I discovered that a similar issue existed with the original game which I haven’t played. Sega apparently patched it quickly after it came out, but one wonders why the sequel has been released with the same basic error. Either everyone at Sega collectively lost their memories, or this is a case of sloppiness. In any case, I’m a lot less paranoid about the size of my fingers now, so that’s good.
The other thing you’d think would be important is the sound. Nobody wants to spend hours sitting around listening to an awful singer over terrible backing tracks. If they wanted to do that, they’d be working as a judge on The X-Factor. Thankfully Miku Flick’s aural sensibilities are intact. There’s something about the cutesy/ funky J-Pop tracks combined with Miku’s sincere-but-completely unintelligible yodelling (I don’t speak Japanese that well) that’s, how can I put this? Oh yes…endearing.
It’s also nice to look at with a mixture of retina stills displaying some typically intricate art and the background videos featuring Miku writhing away adding to the feel. At times you’ll just want to stop tapping the lyrics and listen to the show. Miku certainly knows how to work a crowd that’s for sure. The entire interface is slick, sharp and cool to look at. A bit like me in a suit.
Slightly disappointing is the amount of content. There are ten initial songs to tap your way through, featuring hits such as … and … and, er…ok, my hiragana key is broken. Google translate anyone? There is a Challenge mode where you can ‘Break the Limit’ by inputting all the lyrics for the songs you’ve completed, as well as a Duet mode where you can tap away to the lyrical stylings of Miku alongside new inclusions Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len and Megurine Luka, who I’m pretty sure Manchester City just bought for a combined £96m. But at over £7 for the game, and with the obligatory IAP’s to stretch your wallet to bursting point for additional tracks, you’ll definitely want more for your hard-earned yen. At that price you’d expect Miku’s greatest hits and a signed iPhone made of gold.
If you’re a rhythm game fan who can get around the control issues, perhaps by randomly tapping the screen like I did (a method that works well with a surprising number of games), and you’ve just received a bonus at work which you can spend on those extra tracks, then pick this up and have a blast.
One of the things I still haven’t figured out (aside from some pretty important stuff like what the characters mean, what Hatsune is singing about and where I left my front door keys), is why it’s called Miku Flick 02, and not just Miku Flick 2. A Japanese oddity I guess. Like I said, quirky and endearing.
Sing along with Kevin on Twitter @dreagleg
Miku Flick 02 is available for £7.49 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get it now on the