I had been looking at M3-30 stuff and wandered off to miko’s Alternative Ending site to see what she was up to. It was there that I noticed her part in Project U-Ta-Hi-Me (プロジェクト ウタヒメ). I hadn’t heard of the game before then and actually I’m sure a lot of people haven’t but I think it’s such a cool idea. The game was already released so I set about finding it. Luckily, it was available on a number of sites similar to DLSite (since I couldn’t download from there) and I was able to buy it from Game Liner since they had Paypal and were a lot more lax about everything.
Project U-Ta-Hi-Me is a shmup featuring music original music by IOSYS. The ‘bullet’ patterns are generated by the music and, yes, you can even play music from your own library as long as they are in MP3 or WAV format. I really like the select screen since you simply scroll through your selected folder and plays the song for you. (Songs with Japanese characters might not play if your computer isn’t set to (I assume) Japanese locale but I restarted it with Applocale and it worked fine)
IOSYS is also releasing a soundtrack for the game this month at M3-30 featuring the songs they did for the game as well as a few remixes of those songs.
The game itself isn’t that hard. The skins determine what kind of obstacles you’re going to have but depending on what song you picked, the ‘bullet’ intensity will differ. At first I didn’t think the length of the song really mattered but I picked a song that was only a 1:32 to see when the boss would show up and even though the boss shows up later and you don’t have much time to defeat it, you’ll still lose if your song ends. Though the boss will show up well before the end of a song in a longer one so as soon as you beat it and collect the Noise, the song fades away.
The gimmick carries this game though. It’s fun playing to your own music and on top of that it looks really good (AKAZA does all the main art). The stages all seem very… Madoka inspired. The television and piano levels both remind me of H.N Elly and the sweets skin is obviously reminiscent of Charlotte. You can pick different skins that serve as the level. There is a story but the game doesn’t really follow it. You pick a song and shoot. There are only a few skins right now but all the Coming Soon skins seem to indicate an update with more.
If you’re into hardcore shmups that are insanely difficult, this isn’t really for you. If, however, you’re looking for an entertaining, nicely designed way to pass the time without any real skill at shmup games, I’d definitely recommend this.