DJ Max Technika Tune wins the award for best timing of the year. Thanks to Psy's breakout hit "Gangnam Style," South Korean pop is suddenly all the rage. From weddings to water parks, it's as if the entire Western world has woken up to the wonders of K-pop. That bodes well for Pentavision's first PS Vita release, a game overflowing with Korea's finest musicians.
While this may be its first PS Vita experience, DJ Max is no stranger to Sony handhelds. Between the three proper sequels and a handful of spin-offs (Clazziquai Edition, Black Square, Hot Tunes, etc.), Pentavision managed to release seven DJ Max games on the PSP. These games have a reputation for their blistering speeds and frustrating difficulty. After spending the last seven years improving my skills on Rock Band and Guitar Hero, I was ready for whatever DJ Max Technika Tune wanted to throw at me.
What I got wasn't the fast-paced, button mashing rhythm game I've heard so many horror stories about. Instead I got a much more leisurely experience played entirely with the Vita's two touch screens. The result is a more accessible rhythm game; something that won't leave your fingers bloodied and bruised.
As far as I can tell, this PS Vita game is a port of the popular arcade cabinet DJ Max Technika 3. It mixes in the greatest hits from the three arcade games, as well as adding eight songs new to the series. There are 67 individual tracks available, ranging from trance, pop rock, Euro dance, techno, Irish dance, p-funk, cute pop, house, hip hop and, of course, K-pop. The music is innocent enough; simple pop songs that only last two or three minutes. Even with all of the different genres, it won't take long to decide whether you're hip to the Korean music scene.
At first glance, DJ Max Technika Tune looks an awful lot like Lumines. There's a bright vertical line slowly moving across the screen from left to right. But look again, because there's a second bright vertical line slowly moving from right to left. For whatever reason, this game splits the screen into two sections -- one on top going one way and another screen going the opposite direction. This gives you a lot to think about as you go about your business tapping the screen and making beautiful (or at least poppy) music.
Like so many rhythm games before it, the idea is to touch the note at the exact time the vertical line passes by. Another note will have players dragging their fingers through a wavy pattern. Some notes need to be held down for a certain amount of time, while others require a tap of the back touch screen. The hardest difficulty is a chaotic mess of double notes, extended notes, wavy notes and every other type of note the developers could come up with.
It may be expensive, but with 67 songs and impeccable gameplay, DJ Max Technika Tune is the PS Vita's best rhythm game. The solid gameplay is made better with the solid presentation and videos for every song. Gamers who can't stand the Korean music scene may want to sit this one out, but adventurous Vita owners will find a lot to love in this DJ Max spin-off!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!