I heard DJ Max: Technika was in some arcades so I rushed to try it out. I came to the machine armed with experience from Pentavision’s most recent DJ Max game and noticed plenty of songs overlapped between Technika and Clazziquai Edition. However, DJ Max: Technika doesn’t play anything like DJ Max Portable. DJ Max: Technika is like a hybrid of Ouendan / Elite Beat Agents and DJ Max with a dash of Lumines.
All of the action in DJ Max: Technika takes place on a touch screen and there are five kinds of notes players need to pay attention to.
Pink notes – These are the basic notes in DJ Max: Technika. You tap the pink notes when a sweeping blue bar passes over them, which acts like the timing line in Lumines. The blue bar moves to the tempo of your selected song, but one difference from Lumines is the bar sweeps left to right then slides underneath and moves right to left.
Blue notes – Just like the freeze notes in DJ Max Portable. Clear these by holding your finger on the same spot until the timing meter passes the note’s tail.
Black notes with a purple line – These notes stay in the same place and you tap the same spot when the timing bar sweeps over the purple bars connected to the note.
Trace notes – Follow the path with your finger. DJ Max: Technika doesn’t have loopy patterns like Ouendan, though.
Slide notes – These notes are like mini trace notes. Clear these by sliding a finger in the direction the arrow points when the timing bar sweeps over the note.
I went into my first song cautiously since like other music/rhythm games you lose your turn if you fail a song. Instinctually, I started playing Love Mode with only one hand, but midway through the song I tried a different approach. I hit all of the notes on top half with my right hand and the notes on the bottom half with my left. Since DJ Max: Technika has the notes on screen way before the timing bar sweeps over them you can position your fingers in advance for the easy songs. Using one hand for each half worked OK, but as the stream of notes intensified I had to use both hands on the same section.
In one song I had to keep one hand in place to hit the purple notes and use my free hand to hit the pink notes that were right about to touch the timing bar. In another song the notes switched between being single notes to double notes which was like hitting the notes in steps. I liked how Pentavision took advantage of the touch screen to make creative note patterns. None of the songs I played felt the same and some of them were up to par with the difficulty level the DJ Max series is known for. I wasn’t ready for the tough songs then since DJ Max: Technika has a learning curve even if you’re a veteran of DJ Max: Portable.
PM Studios dropped us a note that DJ Max: Technika is in two arcades in Southern California. You can play DJ Max: Technika at the Coinz arcade at UCLA’s Ackerman Student Union and Game Play in Long Beach. That’s about it for US test locations now and I’m not sure how wide a release DJ Max: Technika is going to get in North America. DJ Max: Technika certainly accessible, but arcades are scarce. PM Studios who is taking care of the US version might have better luck bringing DJ Max: Technika to bars or movie theaters, the latter of which is one of their ideas. However, after playing DJ Max: Technika I firmly believe Pentavision is going to make a Nintendo DS or iPhone adaptation. Both platforms have touch screens and a large markets. All Pentavision needs to do is port the game and possibly cut out the split screen.
Photo Spencer/Siliconera. Images courtesy of Pentavision / PM Studios.