So Craig was kind enough to let me borrow his copy of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! for the Nintendo DS this past weekend since he had his hands full raising puppies. I had heard whispers of a cool music game from the folks behind Gitaroo Man for the PS2, but didn’t really pay much attention. It wasn’t until I saw some videos of the game in action that I had to get my hands on it.
There are people in varying degrees of distress (a sculptor who is in a creative slump, a violinist with stomach problems before a big concert, an office lady trying to get the attention of an attractive boss), and they call upon the male cheer squad to help them. You tap numbered circles with your stylus to the beat of the music, and, well, it’s easier to understand if you watch movies of it in action.
Watch them? Good. Nothing but pure hijinks. The music is great, the animated stories are easy to follow without knowledge of Japanese (although if you can read it, it’s damn funny), and the music tapping game play mechanic is among the best ever for the genre. As much fun as Gitaroo Man was, I never “loved” the way you played with the music. Ouendan totally nails it, and is another brilliant use of the touch screen.
You have four difficulty levels, two available from the start (easy, normal). You get hard mode by beating normal and the cheer girls super hard difficulty if you get past hard. There’s also a ton of unique multiplayer games I’m dying to check out.
So does this have any chance of making it here? It’s true many of the stories rely on some knowledge of Japanese life, but that’s not really the barrier. The music is. It’s all licensed songs covering past and very recent hit songs. So, whoever brings it out here has quite a dilemma. Putting in American hits is out of the question. You’d have to redo the entire game to match the tunes. The only alternative is to keep the songs with Japanese lyrics intact and try to get clearance to use them in the
Your reaction to it does hinge upon your love of imported hijinks though. I think the reason it appeals to me is that it feels like a game someone created just for you. Not literally in that there are all these references no one would get, but the general warm fuzzy feeling when you happen upon something so special you’re amazed it survived and got released to the public. Original games are alive and well, and increasingly this year, they seem to all be for the Nintendo DS.