Maimai is an arcade rhythm game. Usually you have a card that saves your progress or if you choose to not play with your card then to play as a guest – the first time you log in it asks if you wish to play a tutorial or everytime you log in as guest of which you can choose yes/no. The interface in the tutorial shows all the different notes you could press ranging from the pink buttons, the yellow ones which indicating pressing 2 buttons at a time, the blue star which indicates dragging something on the touch screen, and other buttons – it allows you to press each one multiple times to get use to it – also when you hit the note it says ‘OK’ and shows if you got ‘good’ ‘great’ ‘perfect’ to ensure if you got the timing right, perfect being the best, and sometimes will be hard to see the word so will show more effects and different color (good = green, great = pink, perfect = yellow) in doing better as the game is very visual and can get fast paced – and if you miss no effects. The blue stars you slide across the screen also make a sound so you know it has slid across the screen or is about to.
Instructions are presented in an explicit way at first then more implicit as it shows each example once.
The designers have taken into account many things, for example maybe you want to see the notes on the screen rather than the background so you have the option to darken the screen so it does not interfere (this is quite important for the hardest difficulty – master), they have taken into account that as you play harder difficulties too many notes show on the screen, so your eyes cannot follow at once where all the notes are at once – to solve this you can increase the speed that the notes come out – it almost seems like the song is going faster but it isn’t, you are just removing clutter on the screen in doing so, and the good thing is the speed does not need to be extremely high to remove the clutter and this is only for the hardest difficulty, for lower ones you can increase the speed slightly and be able to play exceptionally well – another amazing thing is the level system where it goes from basic -> advanced -> expert -> master where the jump from basic to advanced is quite small and does get larger from advanced to expert and expert to master – this is great as you get use to a level of difficulty properly before progressing rather than finding it too easy or too hard, it feels at just the right amount. Another amazing development design is the rank system where it is not too difficult to pass a song (get A rank 80%) if you can play the difficulty even just, but then to get anything higher shows you need to get better, especially getting S rank 97% and even higher SS+ 99% or SSS 100%+ where everything is absolutely perfect.
The content includes 100s of songs and are constantly being updated and added in. Now with the new version of maimai you can unlock new songs that come out and characters on your card adding an element of extra progress rather than just completing songs, also for many of the newer songs from a certain date of release you need to get an S rank on expert to unlock the master mode of that specific song – this isn’t for all songs but definitely for many of them.
The interface is quite easy to follow where the circles/notes go to specific spots on the screen which matches with buttons you are to press leading to the input (buttons you press) and output(successfully pressing the notes to match with the song to get combos and score).
A great personal experience with the game is besides the buttons although they look big need to be tapped quite lightly and are quite sensitive making things easy to be pressed (you also cannot be penalised for pressing a note that doesn’t exist and does show on the screen every spot where you are pressing as many times you will need to press in multiple areas for the most complex songs). My greatest personal experience is that with the hardest songs or once reaching some expert/master songs I find it hard to click the buttons or can be tiring, or hard to keep up as I need my hands to be away from the screen and on the buttons even if it is not hard to manage but sometimes wanting to tap the screen for the blue star makes things harder, so luckily the game can also be played entirely touchscreen so although many players don’t I play via touchscreen as it seems to work for me – You do need gloves for this also once getting to harder levels as there is quite a lot of friction and button pressing but the game does recommend this.