Stuck in a rut? Life lost its fizz? Or perhaps you have a more specific problem, such as a dirty monkey and no spa bath to clean him in. Fear not, troubled soul, because Ouendan is just a despairing wail away. Ouendan - Elite Beat Agents here in the States - is the name of the cheerleading squad that turns up whenever a situation turns bad enough to require the kind of fixing that only three guys in trenchcoats, a cheerfully bouncy piece of Japanese pop and some synchronized dance moves can do.
Retaining almost exactly the same gameplay and the maddening difficulty level of the original, Ouendan 2 doesn’t mess with the formula that made it a cult favorite. An introductory cutscene - skippable - sets the scene in surreal manga style, and the despairing cry of “Ouendan!” summons the cheerleading trio who’ll make everything okay.
The story then continues up on the top screen, with animated comic panels popping up at key moments - but the player’s attention will have to be focused totally on the touch screen action.
Basically, it’s about tapping numbered circles in the correct order and in time with the music. Hitting them perfectly awards you a higher score, which is needed to keep a constantly depleting energy bar topped up. Messing it up for even a couple of seconds on some of the songs is enough to bring the music grinding to a halt and force a restart, so it’s all about using your memory and concentration.
Some of the circles need to be held and dragged across the screen at a precise speed. Others require multiple taps or back-and-forth bounces. At the end of certain passages of music there’s a spinner that can be used to recharge the energy bar. This usually marks the start of an instrumental break and an opportunity to see whether your efforts resulted in a pass or fail for the preceding 30 or 40 seconds of action.