Mobile rhythm games can be intimidating. Is there going to be a stamina system holding you back? Will getting songs cost you real money? What about getting good “singers” for your group? With Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage, there’s a delicate balance between ensuring it is easy and fun to play songs while dealing with predictable mobile game elements like a gacha. Fortunately, while your score might suffer if you aren’t going all-in on the character banners, it’s easy to play as much as you like and earn tracks.
Like many Hatsune Miku rhythm games, Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage involves tapping in time with new and old tracks. There are the standard single tap notes, ones where you tap two at the same time, and others where you place a finger and “hold” the note until the end. Each of these could also involve a “flick,” where you swipe your finger up at the end. The game is good at reading inputs. As long as you’re tapping correctly in the region region at the bottom of the note track, you’ll be fine. It is also forgiving about retrying. Some of the songs you’ll play are Cover Tracks. Those involve the “groups” in the game performing with the Vocaloids. Others are new songs prepared for the game. You get a selection to start. More can be purchased for 10 Music Cards each. (Cards are doled out fairly regularly for participating in events and by playing.) As part of the launch celebration, Sega and Colorful Palette committed to adding 39 tracks.
The thing that makes Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage great is that there’s no stamina system locking you out of playing songs. Yes, there is an energy element. You can choose to use up to 10 at a time to boost earned experience. Which in turn can help you accrue more event points per performance. But if you want to play for fun, you don’t have to have them. You can play any song you want, at any difficulty, without needing to take breaks or pay to “recharge.” It’s refreshing and encouraged me to spend more time with the game.
What I also appreciated is that Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage doesn’t shy away from challenging players with its songs. The game offers five difficulty levels for each track you acquire. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Expert versions all appear once a song is in your library. You need to prove yourself to unlock the fifth level, which is Master. (That involves getting through it on Expert with fewer than seven “Good” notes.) The difficulties feel reasonable. Especially since the inputs aren’t demanding and this Hatsune Miku game does let you determine things like note speed to find your comfort zone.
The only downside is that the gacha influences the sorts of scores you can get. As usual, performing a track can result in grades that start at “C” and top out at “S.” The thing is that certain elements determine if you get that coveted “S.” Skill plays a part. But so does having three and four-star cards, investing in Area Items in locations to boost characters’ Talent, and equipping cards with Note Boost skills that turn “Goods” and “Bads” notes into “Perfects.” Now, this honestly isn’t a huge deal. You can still enjoy the game and play all the songs without getting those coveted high scores. It’s perfectly enjoyable. Just there is a wall that can block you out of “A” and “S” scores unless you really invest. Which, in turn, might bother people used to hitting those heights in other Hatsune Miku rhythm games.
But if you’re just there to play some fun Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid songs, Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage is a great time. Yes, it might be frustrating to not get the “S” you deserve from a full combo. But it offers so many songs. Earning more feels manageable. Not to mention if you’re okay with “knowing” you probably earned an “S,” even if it doesn’t show it, it’s a lot of fun.