“*tap tap tap* Hmm… *follows track* Hmmm… OH CRAP! *spins stylus violently around screen*”
Have you ever wanted to be a cheerleader? Did you ever want to get up there and dance for your team? Did you ever want to cheer your heart out to make sure that poor dude who owns the Ramen shop can get some business?
Probably not. And that probably sounded pretty weird and I’ve officially made you consider clicking the “back” button on your browser. This game is pretty weird, and if you dislike any of the following: Jpop, rhythm games, fun, anime/manga, or the DS, I suggest you just click “back” and ignore all you’ve just read.
This is Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, a crazy Japanese rhythm game for Nintendo DS. So, whats the whole cheerleader business about? Well, you play as “Ouendan”, which is basically a cheer-squad of 3 dudes dressed in black clothes that punch, wave and swing their way into cheering the masses through everyday tasks.
This game is a Japanese game, as stated before, and thus, is in Japanese and must be imported. The language barrier is very easy to bypass, everything is pretty much self-explanatory, and if you have trouble, there’s a FAQ on this very site with all the menu translations you could want.
So, now that the basics have been explained, we will move on to the most important part of a review, gameplay, music, graphics and story explanations.
==Gameplay – 10/10==
A frantic day, a total mess all around you, what can you do? The walls are closing in, you’re running out of options… there’s only one thing to do….. OUUUUENDAAAAAN!!!
Thus begins your cheer! You are the Ouendan, the cheering protectors of the world, basically. They call you, and you respond. The music for your cheer begins to play, and the Ouendan respond with a loud “OSU!”, you are given a brief countdown, and then… GO!
Being a rhythm game, your objective is to follow the beat. This is done in 3 ways.
Notes: Small numbered circles that must be tapped in unison with the music, earlier difficulties are more forgiving and don’t place a note for every single beat of the music, fast parts are usually replaced by…
Tracks: A long bar with a circle at each end that you must trace the stylus across, following a small ball across it, come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are a straight vertical or horizontal line, and sometimes they take the form of circles or zigzags. More often than not, you’ll be asked to return the direction which you came from upon hitting the end, sometimes multiple times.
Spinners: Prepare to destroy your touch screen, folks! You’ll see these babies in nearly every level, sometimes many of them in a row. A large circle will appear on the screen, and you’ll be asked to rapidly spin the stylus around this circle. Rising bars will be on either side of the screen, which will show your progress on completing the Spinner. If you can manage to fill it up before the time period ends, you’ll get bonus points for every successful rotation, lots and lots of points.
Each of the above things come together in patterns around the screen to form the gameplay, in which you must tap, follow and spin your way to victory! Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well, there is the fact that you have a “life” meter, which constantly depletes. Miss a note and you get a jolt of life lost, you need to time your taps and motions perfectly in order to get perfect scores on each note (or as best as you can) to keep your life meter up and complete the cheer. There are also rings that close-in on your notes to help you nail the song.
All while this is happening, your Ouendan are performing a dance behind your gameplay on the touch screen, and the person you are cheering’s progress is displayed on the top screen.
==Music – 9/10==
This’ll be much shorter than the gameplay section 🙂
Jpop and Jrock, if you like it, this may be the game for you, if you don’t, then I’d stay away from it.
This game features several songs, from such bands and singers as L’Arc~En~Ciel, Orange Range, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, and B’z, among many others.
Keep in mind though, that the songs aren’t great quality, due to the DS’ limited sound output, but its nothing a pair of good headphones can’t fix. A few of the songs are also covers, but some of them remain the same as their original versions.
==Graphics – 8/10==
We all know the DS can’t pump out console quality visuals, but for this game, it really doesn’t matter. The story sections and pretty much everything but your Ouendan are 2-D anime style still shots with a tiny bit of movement. The story sections play out in a manga format with some text bubbles, and if you aren’t Japanese, you probably won’t be reading them.
The Ouendan however, are 3-D character models that dance to your playing. You do well, they dance well, you do bad, and they fall flat on their asses. The sync with your playing has a certain flair to it, and knocked the graphics score up a little bit. Why such a high score for graphics? I just happen to like anime visuals >_>
==Story – ?/10==
I have no idea whats going on, really. I can speak a few Japanese words, but I can’t read a single character. But that doesn’t really matter, the visuals tell the story pretty well. I can tell just from looking at the pictures that in the first level, a young boy needs to study for an exam and has to deal with constant interruptions. Its fairly self explanatory, so if you are worried about missing something important, it really doesn’t matter.
So, to get or not to get? Well, you can’t rent it unless you take a plane to Japan (unless you live in Japan already…) so I’d watch a couple gameplay videos, look at some pictures, and then decide if you really want it. Imports cost more than average games, but this game is a true gem that was even overlooked in Japan (where it sold VERY poorly) and is worth every penny. Get it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have 🙂
Score: 10 out of 10