DJMAX Technika Tune Review – Vita’s Definitive Rhythm Game

DJ MAX Technika Tune Art 1

DJ MAX Technika Tune is a very overlooked game in my opinion, hence why I wanted to do a review for it now despite it being out for awhile. DJ MAX Technika Tune is also on a platform that is overlooked very often, the Playstation Vita. If you’ve never played a game in the franchise, DJ MAX is a series of games by Korean developer Pentavision. Technika Tune is a music/rhythm game, meaning you have to hit the notes at the right time for the music to keep playing.

The games traditionally use buttons for input, DJ MAX makes full use of the Vita’s touch capabilities. By full use, I mean they literally use absolutely every inch of the Vita’s front touch screen and also utilize the Vita’s back touch as well. Honestly, at first I was completely against having full touch controls over button controls but let me tell you I was wrong, oh was I wrong. I think I’m in love with this game.

There are three main difficulties in Technika Tune, they are: Star, Pop and Club. I’m pretty acclimated to rhythm and music games, so I got into the pop difficulty really easily. As soon as I progressed to Star I was really getting into the gameplay, there are two screens within the Vita’s screen, the top screen goes from left to right and the bottom screen goes from right to left. The speed at which the line moves never got overwhelming for me.

DJ MAX Technika Tune SS 1

There’s a lot of different kinds of notes in the game, basically you have to make sure that you hit them in the right order or in the right manner otherwise you’ll get misses, obviously those not only hurt your score but they also make you fail pretty easily – I’ve noticed this game tends to fail you easily compared to other music/rhythm games, but that isn’t a problem once you get more used to song’s note layout.

So there are different kinds of notes, they vary between single touch, touch+hold, touch+following patterns, back single touch, and back touch+hold. The notes that come in purple sequences have to be hit successfully in sequence, meaning if you miss one or some of the notes you obviously won’t get as good of points as you would if you hit them all sequentially.

Let’s talk about the music selection. There’s a lot of music in this game, by a lot I mean 66 songs in total. That’s a lot of music, and all of the songs cover a VERY wide range of musical genres, from K-pop to J-pop, jazz, metal, rock, techno trance, Irish celtic music, and so on. There’s a load of different kinds of music here and honestly I keep wanting to just play other songs to keep hearing how much variety there is.

DJ MAX Technika Tune SS 2

There’s a total of eight new songs for this game, all of the other songs are from previous DJ MAX releases. Still, the franchise has a clear fanbase and they keep coming back for more because these games are awesome. I’ll be honest, I’ve never played a DJ MAX game before but I am totally hooked on Technika Tune now. I’m actually regretting not getting into the franchise sooner now.

I’m currently level 46 in the game, the max level you can attain is 99 and clearly I have a long way to go. I’ve honestly lost count over how many hours I’ve put into the game. I just keep coming back for more and I can’t put it down every time I sit down to play a set. It’s just that addicting, this is the perfect kind of game for portable play, especially if you’re looking for a good music or rhythm game. You seriously don’t have to look anywhere else.

I’d say right now I’m a bit stuck on the Club difficulty but only with a few songs, some of them have gotten insanely hard for me. One thing I want to point out is that part of the difficulty has come from going from balancing front and back touch in songs. I forced myself to learn back touch instead of doing what most people have done – enabling front touch for back touch notes. I think this takes a fundamental piece of the difficulty away.

DJ MAX Technika Tune SS 3

Technika Tune has a really crazy amount of replayability. Not only do you keep unlocking songs as you get into the higher levels, you also unlock lots of images, dj icons, note styles and so on. You can also get pure visual/audio versions of all the songs in the game, meaning if you ever actually get tired of playing the songs, you can just listen to or watch them as a chance of pace.

You can unlock new DJ equipment meaning new DJ icons and note skins – both can heavily change your playing experience and even make the game a lot easier for you. Want notes that shine and pop more to make them easier to see? You can set that in the track selection portion. Want to focus on reeping in lots of experience points? You can set your avatar to one that focuses on an EXP bonus.

The game features a platinum trophy and honestly it’ll take you at least 50-60 hours and up, which is highly dependent on how skilled you are at the game. I think the difficulty does ramp up very quickly but since I’m a bit more experienced with rhythm and music games, I felt right at home. I think newcomers to the genre might be really turned off at the somewhat steep learning curve for Technika Tune.

I honestly can’t praise DJ MAX Technika Tune enough. The moment I overlooked the steep price and got my copy I’ve been completely enamored with the game ever since. I literally just can’t stop playing it, I keep coming back to it and I keep wanting to play it and get better at it. I think the only issues the game has are its steep price (due to licensing costs) and the complete lack of post-launch DLC or support.

Coming from this, the game as it is – is nearly perfect. I’ve only had the game lock on me once and I’ve never seen performance issues ever since and I’ve logged dozens upon dozens of hours into this game. It just never gets old to me and I feel like I can log dozens and dozens more. If you own a Vita, I can honestly say this is a must own for any Vita owner – unless you just hate music, or music games.

I haven’t met anyone who hates music, so I guess that leaves people who just don’t like music games? For everyone else, if  you were on the fence about this one because of the price or because of it using touch – just get it. I really can’t speak highly enough of this game, I’ve played quite a few rhythm and music games in my time and I am now an enormous fan of DJ MAX and most especially Technika Tune.

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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

  1. Luciano Silva
    Luciano Silva
    August 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I love me rhythm games don’t understand why its so expensive and it does need more dlc.

  2. Eric Francisco
    Eric Francisco
    August 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Very good and informative review. Really enjoyed how upbeat it was.
    I agree with you on the cons you mentioned. The steep price is what kept me from an impulse buy. What do you think about the PSM title, Cytus Lamda? If you’ve played it, would you recommend it over Tecknika based only on pricing/content?

  3. wilflare
    August 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Great game, great review! I do agree that it’s a pity that there hasn’t been a good sale on this game and that there’s a unfortunate lack of post-launch support (I would really hope they patch in some form of alternate control scheme without the touchscreen controls).

    I do think the game found its home in the Vita. With the Vita’s OLED screen sweetness, I think all the special effects of a DJ Max game is better realized. I’m not sure what to feel about the touchscreen controls. Based on what I’ve read (on forums), it can be quite a pain but I would need to try the game for myself to find out.

    On a more technical note, it would be great if the review provided some information on what tracks are there in the game (or at least link the reader to a site that details all this information). If the game has some of my favorite tunes, I would be more inclined to jump on it :P but dang, I really wanna play some DJ Max on some of my favorite K-Pop and Japanese (anime) tunes.

    What do I think of the franchise? Honestly, I never got the chance to play it during its PSP days. I did try out the genre on other platforms though and such a genre is perfect to play while commuting. I do find it kinda sad that the franchise isn’t getting as much attention as it should (this game had quite a difficult launch right?) I sure hope the next iteration or update allows us to play DJ Max with our own custom playlist (which should be much easier now with the latest 2.60 firmware allowing streaming :P)

    Thanks for the giveaway and I’m crossing my fingers for a copy of this game :P (GAF wilflare)

  4. Eric Francisco
    Eric Francisco
    August 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    If the next game allows for custom music I will definitely get it!

    And whenever I see people playing this game I think of Kid Icarus for the 3DS and how it needs a stand for you to play it comfortable. Perhaps this game should do the same?

  5. Goonkid
    August 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Great review whoever is on the fence with this should at least try out the demo on PSN.

  6. Daniel Cavalcanti
    Daniel Cavalcanti
    August 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I love reviews that are honest about their opinion. Very informative too, which is well appreciated. You could share your favorite tracks, though =]

    The game looks awesome; I’m a huge fan of rhythm games. The Vita is perfect for them, with a responsive touch screen and awesome OLED. And having a unique soundtrack makes the game even more special.

  7. ZeroAKA
    August 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I really want to get this, but the controls in the Japanese demo bothered me. It was difficult to reach some notes at the center of the screen at times, so I was forced to stretch my fingers beyond what I was comfortable with. Love the music and the presentation though.

  8. Frost
    August 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Excellent review.

    I always hear good things about this one. The fact that you love it this much is a testament to the positive word of mouth the game receives.

  9. Cheddahz
    August 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I saw this on NeoGAF and I have to say, this is an excellent review on an excellent game. I picked it up, not having any experience with DJ MAX games and I was quite wary of the price point, but you can tell the developer put a lot of time into the game and the support for it is great and everything feels so smooth. I honestly wish the game would appeal to more people, but hey, I have a copy of it and I love it!

  10. wilflare
    August 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    really depends on how the stand is set-up though. The writer mentioned the rear touch pad controls :/ unless the stand has a hole for rear touch-pad access, it would be awkward

  11. Josh Read
    Josh Read
    August 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Great review. I’ve always thought this game looked fantastic, and I LOVE rhythm games, but it’s just so expensive! I’ve been waiting forever for a sale, and it never comes, lol.

  12. baek
    August 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Good review, this game comes expensive from where ever you buy. The only the rhythm game on Vita I have is Hatsune Miku and it’s great also! I wish this goes on sale but it’s highly unlikely.

  13. Eric Francisco
    Eric Francisco
    August 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Yeah that would be, unless they gave an option to remove rear touch controls.

  14. affa
    August 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I keep hearing about this game and haven’t thought to look into it. Thanks for the info, looks like I’ll need to add it to my ‘need to play’ pille!

  15. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Cytus Lambda is fun, but it’s nowhere near what Technika Tune is. I really like what it’s trying to do but one of the main things is that it’s hard to play Cytus after you’ve been just consumed by DJ MAX. The production values alone are leagues apart.

  16. Rei_clone
    August 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Great review. I’ve been looking for a good rhythm game for the Vita and the DJMax games on the PSP always stood out to me. It seems to make great use of the OLED screen and also the music choice seems far more diverse than Project Diva. The sad thing is that I can’t see the price ever going down on the PSN Store, and the price for physical copies only seems to be going up. Oh well, will have to pick this one up at some point.

  17. BernardoOne
    August 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Ah, nice. I have been looking at this game many times and I actually just bought it last night from Play-Asia(game is not available on Europe). Great review, really looking forward to play this :) Im new to the franchise, but it seems really great from what I saw. That and I really needed a Rythm game for my Vita :)

  18. rhage
    August 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Great review. I’ve been thinking of getting the game. Not sure if its for me yet but I am definitely interested. The review has pushed me more towards trying it out but I have to think about it some more.

    Thanks again!

  19. Wesley Hix
    Wesley Hix
    August 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Great review! I love this series so much I imported Trilogy for the PC :)

  20. Zach Eberhard
    Zach Eberhard
    August 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great review! I have been wanting to pick this game up.

  21. wilflare
    August 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Cytus Lambda is the closest one can get to scratching that DJ Max itch though :P

  22. Flandy
    August 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Informative review. Told me information that I wasn’t aware of such as the song count, Platinum Trophy, and how much content the game packs in. Never played the series but holy mother of god is this game expensive on PSN.

  23. Michael Long Jr.
    Michael Long Jr.
    August 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    keep up the good work gents

  24. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    You can opt in for having all front touch controls if you want – I mentioned that in my review that a lot of people only do front touch and lay the Vita on a table or whatever. I think this takes a huge piece of the difficulty away though.

  25. Kurisu Makise
    Kurisu Makise
    August 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Very informative review. I was unaware of the song count as well as the variety of notes. I’ve been wanting to get into the series for awhile but the price has been a barrier.

  26. Storm360
    August 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I enjoyed the demo of this game, I just wish it came out in the U.K

    Kinda sucks we didn’t even get a digital release, but oh well, nice review

  27. Doritos
    August 14, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Awesome review. Wasn’t sure about getting the game but now I am convinced. Glad to see a good rhythm game coming to the Vita.

  28. toefer
    August 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Nice review. I wish there were more rhythm games on Vita (like a Runner 2 port). This game seems great though.

  29. wilflare
    August 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I sure wish there were more rhythm games on the Vita! I do remember reading something about a Runner 2 Port coming to the Vita though

  30. Eric Francisco
    Eric Francisco
    August 15, 2013 at 1:09 am

    It gives us newbies a fighting chance. ;)

  31. BernardoOne
    August 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

    A Runner 2 port is indeed coming to the Vita.

  32. jengo
    August 15, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Really cool game, but I wish they managed to implement DLC song packs.

  33. Brian Mountain
    Brian Mountain
    August 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Great review! I’ve never played any of these games. I didn’t even know about them before Gaf enlightened me. I love rhythm games though, and this game looks to be a great experience on the go! The front and rear touch panels are very interesting, plus the dual direction screen is nutso. Would love to see it on my Vita :D

  34. Nintakaru
    August 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Very thorough review, it seems the developers put a lot of heart into it; definitely want to play this

  35. Michael Long Jr.
    Michael Long Jr.
    August 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    maybe i’m derping but who was the person who reviewed this? I don’t see a name above xD

  36. Nartman
    August 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Great review nichegamer! The things you listed in the “The Bad” part of the review are mainly the reason I held off on buying this game when it first came out. I’m a big fan of Pentavision and the DjMax series but whenever a game comes out I’m usually waiting for some kind of small discount or sale. I think Pentavision, if they had the chance, could’ve released this game at a cheaper price and continue making money by releasing post-launch dlc songs. Although, most of the reviews I’ve read on this game tell me it’s a great DjMax game and is a worthy sequel (also being a fan of K-Pop wouldn’t hurt either).

  37. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I fixed it. I was so focused on the review itself I didn’t realize the header size covered up my name haha!

  38. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Yup, we’re hopefully getting codes for that to review it :)

  39. flight2q
    August 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Nice review. Since you don’t mention it, I gather this game does not come with a waifu, andoroid or otherwise.

  40. ndfresh
    August 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Good review man. Had a chance to play the arcade version before and this review is pretty much on point from what I recall. It’s just a fantastic touch based music game. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked it up for my new Vita yet but yeah, the price point was a negative for me too. Had to buy Lumines: ES for $10 on Amazon instead for my music gaming needs. There’s also Cytus Lambda on the psmobile/vita store if you guys are looking for a cheaper alternative or another music/rhythm game. It’s basically the same but it’s goes top-down than right-left. The only negitave though is that it’s not a full fledged Vita title, so it doesn’t feature trophy support which sucks.

  41. Mike Nicosia
    Mike Nicosia
    August 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Nice review.. gonna have to throw this game on my radar now.

  42. JD
    August 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Really great in depth review.

    Have a lot of fond memories of the franchise in general, spent countless hours playing the games on the PSP.

  43. Michaelius
    August 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Two biggest problems this game have are price and availability

  44. Bean Chea
    Bean Chea
    August 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Bought this game on launch day. Introed me to Kpop. Addict confirmed. Cheers on the insiteful review!

  45. brooklyniteone
    August 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Glad the reviewer included the info about back touch and its effect on the difficulty if turned off. Nice review!

  46. Bryan J
    Bryan J
    August 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Good review. The only thing I didn’t see mentioned ,which bothered me when playing, is how activating fever is really difficult in the middle of a song sometimes. Touching requires a higher level of precision than anticipated because the area is so small and the only way to activate it via buttons is by circle which is no good for right-handed people. I still pray for a patch that activates fever mode with any button,d-pad, shoulder button press.

    This was my firstreal foray into the DJ Max series because it had KARA songs in it and I do love touch gameplay over the psp games because of the level of dexterity to master that. I couldn’t even beat the demo of DJ Max 3. So this was much more intuitive and easier to understand for me, even though it’s still hard. Lots of fun.

  47. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Yeah I should have mentioned that, activating fever can get really hard/annoying if you’re playing some of the REALLY insane songs, with most songs I don’t have an issue but for some (like Oblivion on Club difficulty), I find myself struggling to hit it sometimes.

  48. kiziyepi
    August 23, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Nice pictures!
    Thank you so much for sharing! This was so refreshing for me