Music Girl Hatsune Miku – iPhone App Review

Miku

The Music Girl app began life as a Japan-only release, before being translated over into English just before Christmas. If you’ve not heard of it before, Music Girl features Hatsune Miku, the most well-known Vocaloid virtual idol of them all.

If, at this point, you’re completely lost, here’s a quick introduction. Vocaloid refers to a voice synthesizer program of the same name, best described as a, “singer in a box.” There are lots of voices available, the most famous of which is Hatsune Miku, and musicians around the world have used her voice to create thousands of songs.

Hatsune Miku has a huge following in Japan and is growing in popularity elsewhere, primarily thanks to Sega’s Project Diva games for the PS3, Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Sadly, Music Girl isn’t an iOS version of Project Diva, but a music player for your iPhone or iPod.

Aimed mostly at Miku’s younger fans, the app shows the singer dancing along to the music you’re playing. Touch the screen and she follows your finger, then pinch to zoom out and get a wider view. In the top left of the screen is a meter, which fills up as you listen to music with Miku. When you’ve passed enough levels, you tap it to interact with Miku. She asks you fan questions, such as what is the number tattooed on her arm, or more general stuff like what sushi or movies you like.

Answer enough questions correctly or find enough in common, and Miku will give you a gift, of which there are 27 to collect. Once you’ve got a gift, it’s back to answering more questions, or giving Miku a high-five every now and then. There’s not a massive amount of variety, but there’s enough here to keep little ones happy.

Care has been taken with Miku’s look too, as the animation is smooth, and the style matches that of Sega’s games. She has two costumes, her trademark futuristic suit, and  a bonus casual costume. If that’s not enough, you can buy more through the in-app store, and they’re all priced around the £1.50 – £2.50 mark. The app itself is quite costly at £2.50, which considering it doesn’t do that much, means you’ll have to be a dedicated fan to press the download button.

So far, so good then. However, things take an annoying turn when it comes to the music player, as you can’t just add in existing playlists or select from your library. To play tracks in Music Girl, you need to select them and build another playlist from the standard music app. Miku’s dance moves are also far too limited, and for the price we would have expected to see a few more. The final frustration is to do with her timing. If you don’t have the BPM set in a music file, then Miku can be out of time, as the app doesn’t automatically recognize the beat. To cure this, you must add the BPM in yourself through iTunes.

Music Girl is definitely one for Hatsune Miku fans. It’s cute, fun, and features the eponymous singer prominently. As a music player, it’s very basic, and offers nothing over the stock app. However, as you’d be buying it to enjoy music with Miku, this doesn’t really matter. For the uninitiated, Music Girl won’t mean much, but fans of Miku will appreciate Saki Fujita’s input (she’s the actress behind Miku’s voice), and the chance to see the virtual idol on their phones. If that sounds like you, the slightly high price will be a small one to pay.

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