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PlayStation Vita  header logo

DJMAX Technika Tune

For: PS Vita

Touchscreen Freaks

Product: DJMAX Technika Tune | Developer: Pentavision | Publisher: Pentavision | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Arcade, Hardcore, Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US
DJMAX Technika Tune PS Vita, thumbnail 1
I've got a soft spot for the 'classic' days of rhythm-action - the days when it was Bemani or nothing. Konami saw an niche in the market for people who wanted to play along to dance and rock music, creating the ultra-hardcore cult favourites Beatmania and Guitar Freaks.

Then Guitar Hero came along and the West was introduced to the genre in a major way: suddenly you could jam with Green Day and Muse, rather than an obscure Japanese group you'd never heard of.

Korean-made DJMAX Technika Tune goes back to the old skool, and while it's by no means for everyone, it's definitely going to satisfy a specific group of gamers.

Back to tha old skool

Playing entirely through the Vita's touchscreen, you tap, hold, and slide your finger according to visual prompts. The screen is divided horizonally - along the bottom a timing bar scrolls from right to left, and across the top scrolls another one in the opposite direction. This is tricky at first, but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.

That sums up the difficulty in DJMAX Technika Tune quite well: instead of a scaling a nice even difficulty curve, you're faced with stumbling blocks that you have to scramble over. As soon as you're up and running again you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

On the easier mode - Star Mixing - you simply tap and hold slides, and it's easy enough to play with one hand. The faster tracks amp up the difficulty, but you're just keeping the beat for the most part.

It's only when you venture into Pop Mixing and the insanely tough Club Mixing that you'll start seeing Game Over screens regularly.

Because in these two modes you'll need to get ambidextrous. Resting the Vita on a surface and playing with both hands is the only way to succeed. Even then, your fingers become hopelessly entangled as you hold beats at one end of the screen and tap beats at the other as the rhythm bar slides past.

You'll also need to unlearn everything you learned in Star Mixing, since some notes ask you to keep your finger tapping away steadily to the left of the top screen long after the bar has passed that section, all the while adding half beats farther to the right.

There's also the equivalent of a Guitar Hero Star Power - called Fever - for when you want to maximise the number of points you score.

This all takes practice and patience, which is rewarded with better scores and higher ranks after each tune, as well as unlockable songs, profile pictures, and other bonuses. If you do really well, you may also want to compare your scores with the DJMAX Technika Tune community, which is easily achieved through the Internet Ranking leaderboards.

New music

Unless you're a J-pop/K-pop/rave music aficionado or a DJMAX veteran, you won't recognise the music on offer, but I found that this mattered little. Everything has a dance music edge, but there are plenty of genres explored within that structure, including rap, rock, pop, and classical music.

The remix of Mozart's 40th is particularly neat, as is the brilliantly bizarre 'Light House' by xxdbxx.

While some tracks make you feel as though you're really playing along, others make you feel like a redundant noodler (think Jools Holland on Later...). The off-rhythm gabber numbers are also a bit of a pain until you've learnt the patterns of the songs, which you can handily do in the Collection mode by listening to the game's music.

DJMAX Technika Tune has one big flaw, and while it's easily remedied it shouldn't have been included in the first place. The game tries to tack-on rear touchscreen play by asking you to tap some notes from behind.

It's unwieldy, inaccurate, and almost impossible at higher levels of difficulty, as you fumble around with the device trying not to block your view of the screen. You can (and will) turn it off in the options menu.

If you've been craving a traditional late '90s rhythm-action game then DJMAX Technika Tune is for you. It's tougher than leather and not afraid to punish your mistakes, but the abundance of content and social features should give you plenty of reasons to come back.
DJMAX Technika Tune
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 1 January 2013
Miss the days of Beatmania? Meet the new king of Japanese-style rhythm action madness, straight out of South Korea
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