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Rating: 4.5/5 (120 votes)
Comments (18) | Views (7,011)

TrickyDJManiaxTo paraphrase George Gershwin: I've got rhythm. I've got music. I've got DJManiax, Team Maniax's new rhythm game extravaganza. Who could ask for anything more?... Well, a solid-gold pony would be nice, but since I've also been looking for a music game with excellent tunes, some well-designed note charts and levels of challenge to appeal to both the casual and hardcore audience, I've got to say I'm pretty well satisfied.

Even if you've never heard of DJ Max Technika, the game that inspired DJManiax, you should find the mechanics easy enough to pick up on. After you cycle through the various unlocked songs and make your tune and difficulty selection, you'll be thrown into a world of thumping beats and crazed animation (Also, please note that to take a step back from that world, you must hold [ESC] rather than tap it). A line of circular "notes" will appear on the screen in time with the music, and as a laser-style line sweeps across them at the current pace of the song, you are to tap them out in time to the music, specifically when the reach the center of the circle. There are also "drag" notes which you must follow along holding, and "multi-tap" notes with which you must tap a constant beat. Generally, your ears will be more helpful than your eyes.Higher difficulties add more and faster notes. Keeping the rhythm fills your life bar, while missing notes depletes it. Miss too many and the song ends. Finish the song and you'll get a ranking and, with it, points that unlock new songs. There are two forms of control you may use, with different appropriate note charts: the keyboard, for a Guitar Hero/Frets On Fire type feel, or (my preference) mouse/tablet controls for an Elite Beat Agents/Osu! experience. Will we call you a DJ Master?

Analysis: First, a digression: Can we, as a community come to a consensus as to the proper onomatopoeia for "thumping techno beat"? Ootz Ootz Ootz Ootz? Doont Doont Doont Doont? It would have make writing out my (largely positive) thoughts on DJManiax much easier, and, the AP Style guide isn't much help.

Kidding aside, as compared to most other genres, "Rhythm" probably has the best reputation for friendliness to both the casual and hardcore gaming audiences. Whereas the 1337 may scoff at match3, and game novices may be justifiably flummoxed when confronted with real-time strategy, being able to tap out a beat to a catchy song is a nigh-universal experience. Whether it's your Great-Uncle Bob warbling out "Eye of the Tiger" on an easy mode or, well, this guy, rhythm games have proved adept at bridging the gap. DJManiax carries on that tradition in an attractive flash package. The easy modes are relatively gentle, the hard modes are crazy-intense, and the animated back-drops should appeal to all.

DJManiaxOf course, a rhythm game can have the best mechanics in the world, but still fail if the songs aren't great. Fortunately, DJManiax has a pretty sweet soundtrack backing up its gameplay. There are, of course, the trance and frenetic techno songs common to most rhythm games, but also some nice slow rock and chip-tune remixes (I think I gained a level in geek by getting genuinely excited by the inclusion of the Cheetahman theme).. You probably won't like all of the twenty songs to unlock, but the variety will ensure that you'll have at least one favorite. For me, it was the peppy J-Pop Anthem "Cirno's Perfect Math Class", which comes with a cute background video straight out of a badly translated Saturday morning anime. Plus, the thankfully included Jukebox mode will let you listen to all the unlocked songs, even if the note charts prove too difficult.

Some minor issues do mar gameplay: while I do appreciate the attempt to create an arcade-style song-select screen, the rotating interface kept acting up. What's so bad about a list? Also, in general, the game is quite processor intensive, which is frustrating. Considering it is a rhythm game, even a minor lag in the action can ruin your 100X combo. An option for limiting animations would have been much appreciated. Likewise, being able to make keys customizable would have made me want to explore keyboard mode in more depth, though I was happy using my mouse. Finally, while I know it's Team Maniax's prerogative to choose their scoring adjectives, but how is hitting a "Fantastic!" note better than hitting a "Perfect!" note?

These are minor, almost picky concerns. Fans of the rhythm genre should very much enjoy DJManiax, and neophytes will find it a worthy introduction. The developers have made mention of a DJManiax 2nd Style, as well as a possible platform spin-off. Until then though, DJManiax will ensure you can't stop the music.

Play DJManiax


Such a catchy game. Math Class was my favourite too. The controls were sort of frustrating, though. My touchpad was just not up to it, and playing it on a laptop meant I couldn't move the keyboard in relation to the screen, so I sort of had to awkwardly fan my fingers out sideways to cover all of the rows. It worked, but not very well.


Touhou's Cirno Perfect Math Class is in here ?!
I must play then!


I believe Unst is the commonly used onomatopoeia. Also props to TaroNuke for the game. :)

As far as Fantastic > Perfect... see Stepmania (Marvelous and Ridiculous are better than Perfect) or In The Groove (Fantastic is the top judgment followed by Excellent).


There are no buses in Gensokyo!

...Er, ahem. Has anyone managed to unlock "Overdrive"? I'm curious as to whether it's the IOSYS one.

As far as the game itself goes, the only complaint I have is that sometimes the long strings of beats (where it has a line with small markers on it) is hard to see against the background. It's still pretty easy to get a good score if you miss some of them, though.

And with the rotating selection screen, you can also use the arrow keys to select songs (which it doesn't mention on the screen)


The judge was rather......... forgiving. You could just randomly click when notes were mashed up. Talk about notes, timings were off in several notes (BPM and Offset issues are always a tough one anyway >_>)

I haven't tried harder difficulties yet, but I can imagine there will be a note that a mouse won't be able to click with just left click due to the speed. It would be really helpful if you allow right clicks as well.

Songs are quite catchy I must say. Not bad at all. However, some fast pace song (like 'video Out E Vospi) slows down at one point and the problem from that is that notes looks rather messy. You 'could' just leave the pace but just with having less notes.

I don't know if this is only me but I'm having lag from this game. It is probably me I guess

This game certainly has potential. The game is already proven in Offline and I think with just a bit of improvements on the game play and the graphic would certainly grab some players!

Good luck!

P.S. I'm not very comfortable with English so I apologize if I'm making it hard for you to read

Grasa Total January 12, 2011 8:51 PM

I'm missing a lot of notes due to... I don't know what's going on. Is it lag? Is it the game hiccuping for some other reason? I dunno, but the game was constantly freezing for tiny split-seconds, and if one of those happened right on a note, it wouldn't register me pressing the key.

(I tried turning the quality down to Low in the settings menu, and it didn't help.)


The game does that on purpose, with the beat of the song. The problem is it's so unexpected when you don't know how the song goes. I still don't really get it lol.


I heart this game.
Loved the addition of the Monotunes, they're great in any rhythm game.
Lots of the other songs are addicting, too, especially Epilectic Crisis, Isabel, and Mode 7 -hype mix-.

Anyone finished Dash Hopes 3 EX yet?

Dash Hopes is a joke. Stop playing it. XD


I found this rather bad - I expected some Guitar Hero-ish or something along the lines of Parappa. It tells you to not play with the eyes and recommends using a tablet, which I did - but I still find it rather random and don't really get the connection between the actual clicks and the music.





It seemed okay, but like some others, the timing of when to hit didn't seem to sync with the music quite right. Slide notes seemed awkward as well. I played with a tablet.

And right near the end of my first song, it stopped, started up the next song in the list, looped the first few seconds of that a few times, and then moved on to the next song with the same results but without any click spaces on the screen. I started to go to yet the next song and I closed the tab.

gorgeousplanet January 13, 2011 8:38 PM

Oontz gets my vote. Gotta have the "n" in there.

wildflower12 January 13, 2011 8:44 PM

I really like it in keyboard mode. I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be using the tablet. I do have a hard time reading from right to left on the bottom screen, it makes me feel dyslexic, but the music is fun and I enjoy the challenge. I don't think I will ever be able to play those crazy random difficulty ones. WAY too hard!


@Edanna: Yes. It's Overdrive by IOSYS. And getting a star on it unlocks Overdrive Part 2, one of the tracks only playable on Crazy... needless to say, it's hard, but I somehow completed it.

But I still haven't unlocked two songs: the one for which you need to complete the two bosses on Crazy with an A, and the last song.

Anyway, usually I hate rhythm games, but I think this one is awesome.


Just out of curiosity, did anyone unlock the final stage with the "pass ???" ?
I still need to unlock
-5 crazy stars
-10 crazy stars
-get an A on Isabel + Epileptic Crisis crazy mode
-a star on Overdrive
- pass ???

I'm guessing 5 crazy stars is Overdrive XD ?


It's uhn-tiss uhn-tiss uhn-tiss uhn-tiss. :)


@K: "Pass ???" you unlock by passing Dash Hope 3, which is the song unlocked by getting A on Isabel and Epileptic Crisis on crazy.

Overdrive is unlocked with 10 crazy stars.


Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I can see (well, uh, hear) the correlation between hitting the note and hearing the note quite well (maybe because I'm doing Keyboard). And for those five requirements, 5 stars gets "You are a joke", 10 is "Overdrive", A on Epileptic Crisis/Isabel on Crazy is "Dash Hopes 3", star on Overdrive is "Overdrive part 2", and passing ??? (Dash Hopes 3) gets...well, I dunno, but reading the comments, I assume it's "Dash Hopes 3 EX". As for my favorite song, it's kind of a tie...between about 15 of them. The songs which I *didn't* like were "You are a joke", "Rotter[___] Nations", "Anticipate", and...well, that's all, really. I liked the rest of them.


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