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osu! (game mode)

For other uses, see osu! (disambiguation).

Gameplay of osu!osu! Interface

The first game mode and namesake which was based from the ouendan series.

What is "Ouendan"?

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is a rhythm game for the Nintendo DS. The gameplay consists of only three elements: tapping circles on the touchscreen, dragging a ball across a fixed path and rotating a spinner very fast. All these elements are timed to (covers of) popular Japanese songs. It looks like this on the DS:

Gameplay example of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan in Nintendo DSGameplay example of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan in Nintendo DS

The gameplay circles can be seen on the bottom screen, and the story on the top screen. Each stage is basically a self-contained story about a person in trouble. That is where the Ouendan (Cheer squad) comes in. Through the magical power of male cheerleading, the player have to help the people in trouble.


Tutorial: new beginnings (Bundled with osu!).

The gameplay puts emphasis on:

  • Adaptability and reaction to stimuli (that is, the hittable objects appearing all over the screen at lightning speed).
  • Understanding of the song's beat and design.
  • Input device control.
  • Timing of hits on the object that appeared on the screen.
  • Ability to spin the mouse (or pen for tablet) on spinners.
  • Physical stamina and mental fortitude (especially longer, marathon-type songs).
  • Proper positioning and hand-eye coordination.

These are some of the vital skills to become an osu! rhythm champion.

The first step to begin the journey is to learn the basics (and theories) of the hittable objects (referred as hit objects from here onwards).

Song Selection

To access the osu! game mode, press Ctrl+1 at the same time.

Alternatively, click on the Mode button and select osu!.

Gameplay Basics


osu! interfaceosu! Interface

The top-left bar is the health bar, which will decrease at a steady rate (depending on the beatmap's difficulty settings), but can be replenished by tapping notes at the right time or spinning the spinner. A perfectly timed hit (a 300 or Geki) will recover health more than a badly timed hit (50). A total miss will take a good chunk of health out of the health bar.

On the right of the health bar is the total score. Below that is the accuracy. The circle beside the accuracy (and below the score) is a timer for the duration of the beatmap.

The number on the bottom left is the combo counter/score multiplier.

Hit circles

Hit circlesosu! hit circles

A thin, similarly-coloured approach circle on the outside of the hit circle will shrink over time. Tap on the note at the exact point when it touches the white border of the hit circle. A score burst will appear after tapping the hit circle, showing the score and health changes depending on timing of the tap to the beat. The hit circle will disappear after the score burst.

To understand the hidden charm of hit circles, do not rely on perception only; feel the beatmap's beats and rhythm. It will help in juggling some of the visually-complex hit circles patterns found in later difficulties.


Slidersosu! sliders

First, tap on it at the right moment, however, it does not end there. A ball will begin to move across the path. Hold the mouse/keyboard-button (or keep the pen onto the tablet) and follow the ball within the thick orange circle, surrounding the ball, as it moves. The orange outer circle, called the follow circle, will appear if when holding onto the slider's ball, but will disappear when released.

Sometimes, as seen in the screenshot above, the ball may reverse its direction and the player must follow the ball back to the start of the path or vice versa. The visual cue is a reverse arrow at the ending/starting circle of the path.


Spinnerosu! spinners

Hold on the mouse/keyboard-button (or keep the pen onto the tablet). From there, use the mouse (or pen) and spin the spinner in a circular motion (in either direction) until the spinner circle grows outwards completely. A Clear notice will appear to indicate that the spinner was completed. If the spinner was cleared early, continue spinning to collect score bonus and gain some health back.

The outer white circle shows how much time left to complete the spinner. This circle will turn red to notify that time is almost out. Older beatmaps, using skin version 1.0, will have a meter/gauge to indicate how close to clearing the spinner.

The small box below the spinner shows spins per minute. The number inside that box translates to the number of spins possible, if to continue to spin the spinner at that speed for one minute. If mouse/keyboard-button was released (or pen did not touch the tablet) early during the spin, the spinner will stop reading the spin.

On the DS, this is a good way to scratch the touchscreen (or screen protector), especially on the higher difficulties. In osu!, spinners have been toned down as to not be such a nuisance to complete. The maximum number of spins per minute achievable is 477 which is also the rate at which the Auto game modifier spins while the Spun Out game modifier spins slower at 287 spins per minute.

Play Styles

Refer to Play Styles page under osu!.


The default controls for osu! are:

Mouse Keyboard Tablet/Touchscreen
Left click(M1) / Right click(M2) Z(K1) / X(K2) Touching the screen(M1)

The hit objects in osu! will accept any input from the input device, as long as each hit objects was tapped in time.

If Relax game modifier was used, only the in-game cursor will work. Use the in-game cursor to follow the hit objects with automated tap. Spinners must still be completed.

If Auto Pilot game modifier was used, only the input from the input device will work. Time the tap on the hit objects with automated cursor movement. Spinners will follow the Spun Out mod speed.


Score in osu! is a weighted sum of multiple components of gameplay. It depends on the following:

  • Judgement determines a hit object's base scoring value (300, 100, 50, or 0 in case of a miss). For hit circles, well-timed key presses are valued more, both in terms of score and accuracy. Sliders and spinners don't have hit windows, but will break combo when missed or not cleared properly. Getting a higher judgement also provides a higher health boost.
  • Accuracy depends on judgement and shows how precise hits are. Late or early key presses, as well as misses, decrease overall accuracy.
  • Combo is a score multiplier: clearing a hit object contributes more to the total score when combo is high and vice versa. Combo may be broken by a miss or a slider break.

When combo is maintained, the total score grows exponentially. Objects closer to the end of the map are worth orders of magnitude more points than the ones in the beginning, which means that a player will lose way more potential score on them in case of mistimed hits. As a result, it's possible and very common for a score with lower accuracy to have a higher amount of points and beat a score with higher accuracy.

After completing a beatmap, the score is assigned a grade, a short accuracy assessment in the form of a single letter. A golden or silver SS denotes 100% accuracy, and everything else, from S to D, depends on the amount of 300s, 50s, and misses.


Refer to Skinning page of osu! for full information.


Refer to Beatmapping page for full information.



osu! smoke effectSmoke Usage

osu! smoke settingsSmoke in key bindings

  • Depending on difficulty setting and the timing tolerance, tapping on the hit object way too early will heavily vibrate the hit object instead.
  • Releasing slider ball on empty slider path without hidden or visible slider ticks does not result in combo break nor any score given. Slider judgement only check for whether the starting circle was clicked, the slider ticks was collected, and ending circle was completed successfully or not.
  • Changing spin direction in the middle of a spin will cause the spinner to slow down (spins per minute will go down to 0 to reset the spin orientation), then spin in the correct direction. The spin progress will not be lost during the reorientation (it will not increase instead), and will continue to increase on reverse spin.
  • Not spinning around the centre core of the spinner will not be considered as a valid spin.
  • Smoke last longer than default in-game cursor trail. Apply smoke effects sparsely to prevent old smoke effects disappearing too quickly.
  • Mascot for osu! is pippi.
  • When played by Auto, the player name will be osu!.


  • Older version of osu! used to emulate some of the elements from the Ouendan series before being removed or replaced:
    • Combo fire when hitting new combo milestones.
    • The first version of default skin using v1 skin behaviour, which was osu!default by peppy skin, provides an almost identical copy of the Ouendan interface.
      • It was replaced by nicer current default skin using v2 skin behaviour.
    • The most notable feature difference between v1 and v2 skin behaviour is the spinner.
      • The v1 skin behaviour for a spinner would increment the spinner meter from bottom to top in levels until it is full as per Ouendan series.
        • The timer is a circle inside the spinner which will converge to the centre core of the spinner. The spinner ends when the timer circle reached the centre core of the spinner.
      • The v2 skin behaviour for a spinner would slowly expand the spinner circle to full size and glows when it is completed.
        • The timer is the outer circle of the spinner which changes colour. The spinner ends when the timer circle colour changed completely.
  • The first three beatmaps ranked on the same day (07 October 2007, 2007-10-07) when the online leaderboard went live were:
  • Notably, the older folders have their own naming convention (the folder names can only be found in ancient beatmap packs) and does not strictly follow the current enforced {BeatmapSetID} {ArtistName} - {BeatmapName} format.
    • Downloading directly from the osu!website beatmap list does follow the current enforced naming format regardless.