Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is one of the quirkier DS titles available on the market. Some of you may have heard of it. Most of you (if you’ve ever been to GameStop, which I’ll assume that as gamers, you have) will have seen on shelves its Westernised cousin, Elite Beat Agents. And those of you that played and loved it are probably wondering when there’ll be a sequel coming out. Well, the answer is… I don’t know. I haven’t a clue. But as long as you have Osu!, you won’t need to know.
Osu! is a bemani game for PC and Tablet PC based on the award-winning Ouendan series. Its content however is entirely fan-made. Aside from the music, in most cases anyway. The game is played in the same manner as EBA and Ouendan, that is, hitting the buttons in the right order in time with the music. In the original for the DS this was all controlled simply by tapping the touch screen, in Osu on PC you simply aim at the buttons and click, regardless of left or right. The miffle mouse button is used to pause the game, and the wheel is used for the volume control in the game. Tablet PCs work identical to their DS counterpart, as touch-clicking is fully supported.
It’s a cleverly built little game in that all the content you download and make for it can be linked back to the game’s website and community. Say for example you download a song, but aren’t happy with the note chart, right click it in the game’s menu, and you can be taken to the forum thread where it was uploaded so you can leave any comments or suggestions for improvement to the author, or anyone else willing to modify the note charts. The game is also, pending an approval process for note charts, linked to an array of stats and high scores online, a bit like Audiosurf, where you can see how well you perform in certain songs, where your weak sections are, how often you play, accumulated scores and track leaderboards, and so on and so forth.
I’ve played a number of tracks on this myself these last few days, and while I’m trying to get to grips with playing the same game again only with a different input method, for the most part it’s still the enjoyable gameplay that made EBA and Ouendan so addictive. The fundamentals are all there, from the easy beats to 5-star hard tracks that require the dexterity of Wally West (I’m looking at you, mandatory Bemani Dragonforce entry) to complete, the taps, the slides, and spinning the wheel. While some of the charm of the original’s storyboards is lost (in most cases anyway, I’ll point to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now (voted Best Beatmap of 2009 on the site) as a pinnacle of EBA humour found on Osu), the staple gameplay is more than enough to keep you coming back, to keep going back to the site to see if there’s any good new tracks available, and even using the built-in too to make your own and submit it for others to play, rate and enjoy.
I’ve gone on record to friends many times saying that I really wanted a sequel to EBA, and while not in DS form, I’m more than happy to be a part of what could be the LittleBigPlanet of bemani games, at least until the Rock Band Network goes full-public access.
Developer: Peppy – Don’t know much about Peppy, but the game’s made by a small freeware team of fans.
Genre: Bemani – It’s basically an Elite Beat Agents clone.
Time: As long as you want to sink into it, as it’s completely open-ended the only breaking point’s your own boredom.
Niggles: If you liked EBA and played it a lot getting used to using the mouse will take some time, and there’s marginal inaccuracy with the on-screen crosshairs also.
Get it for the: fully customisable soundtracks, skins and just about anything else really. Honestly, it’s completely free so you might as well give it a go anyway.
Osu! can be downloaded for free at http://osu.ppy.sh