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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.


Scoring values can be found in osu! scoring system.

Scoring section details all the intricacies of scoring, including mathematical formula.


Grade Condition
SS 100% accuracy
S Over 90% 300s, less than 1% 50s and no misses
A Over 80% 300s and no misses OR over 90% 300s
B Over 70% 300s and no misses OR over 80% 300s
C Over 60% 300s
D Anything else

A silver S or SS can be obtained by using the Hidden and/or Flashlight mod.


Accuracy is calculated by weighting the judgement gained on each note by its value and dividing by the maximum possible amount.

In other words: Accuracy = Total points of hits / (Total number of hits * 300p)

Term Formula
Total points of hits (50s * 50p) + (100s * 100p) + (300s * 300p)
Total number of hits Misses + 50s + 100s + 300s
s Number of
p points

In other words, each Miss counts as 0 points, each 50 counts as 50 points, each 100 as 100 points and each 300 as 300 points.

Add them all together and divide the sum with the number of hits multiplied by 300.

  • If only 300s: a result of 1.00, which means 100% accuracy.
  • If only 100s: a result of 0.3333 (i.e. 100/300), which means 33.33% accuracy.


The score given by each hit circle and end of a slider is calculated with the following formula:

Score = Hit Value + (Hit Value * ((Combo multiplier * Difficulty multiplier * Mod multiplier) / 25))

Term Meaning
Hit Value The hit circle judgement (50, 100 or 300), any slider ticks and spinner's bonus
Combo multiplier (Combo before this hit - 1) or 0; whichever is higher
Difficulty multiplier The difficulty setting for the beatmap (see next header)
Mod multiplier The multiplier of the selected mods

Additionally each slider start, end and repeat tick awards 30 points, each slider middle tick awards 10 points and each spin of a spinner awards 100 points.

Additional bonus of 1,000 points given for each spin of a spinner after the spinner meter is full.

How to calculate the Difficulty multiplier

Circle Size (CS), HP Drain (HP) and Overall Difficulty (OD) each give a tick on difficulty point.

The accumulated difficulty points affect the Difficulty multiplier as so:

Difficulty points range Difficulty multiplier
0 - 5 2x multiplier
6 - 12 3x multiplier
13 - 17 4x multiplier
18 - 24 5x multiplier
25 - 30 6x multiplier

The limited highest is 27 difficulty points with CS7, OD10 and HP10. The limited lowest is 2 difficulty points with CS2, OD0 and HP0.

CS cannot normally go below 2 or above 7 (requires direct modification to the .osu file).

Note that game modifiers (like Hard Rock/Easy) will not change the Difficulty multiplier. It will only account for original values only.

Hit objects judgement

Hit circles:

  • A 300, 100 or 50 given from a normal hit circle depending on how accurately the player tap on it.
  • A miss given if the player do not click on the hit circle at all or click on it way too early.


  • The judgement for sliders does not depend on the accuracy of the initial hit.
  • Sliders consist of slider ticks, which include the start, end and repeat points of the slider.
  • A 300 given if the player successfully gets all slider ticks, a 100 given if the player gets at least half of them, and a 50 given if the player manages to collect even one of the ticks.
  • Tapping a slider too early does not incur a miss but will reset the score multiplier to 0.
    • Not collecting the slider ticks, shown or otherwise, will not incur a miss, but will reset the score multiplier to 0.
    • Missing the slider end does not incur a miss but will not increment the score multiplier.
  • A miss given if the player collects none of the slider ticks.


  • A 300, 100 or 50 given depending on the number of spins done compared to the length of the spinner.
  • A miss if the player unable to expand the spinner circle to a satisfactory limit for a 50 to be given.
    • v1 skin behaviour: A miss if the player unable to fill the meter shown on both sides of the spinner to a satisfactory limit for a 50 to be given.

Score/Combo Multiplier

The following each add a point to the score/combo multiplier:

  • A successful tap on the hit circle.
  • A successful tap at the start of a slider.
  • The slider ball collected a slider tick successfully.
  • The slider ball touched the end or a reverse arrow of a slider successfully.
  • A successful completed/semi-completed spinner.

The following will reset the score multiplier to zero:

  • Missing a hit circle.
  • Tapping a slider start early.
  • Missing a slider start or slider tick.
  • Failed to expand the spinner circle to a satisfactory size.
    • v1 skin behaviour: Failed to fill up at least half the gauge of a spinner.

The following will not increase or reset the score multiplier:

  • Missing a slider end (will result in getting Katu or 100/50 Hit).
  • Spinner: 1,000 Bonus

Health bar

The system used to calculate health drain and health gain is complicated so it will not be explained in detail. It all revolves around the HP difficulty setting which can only be set by the mapper itself.

The following will result in health recovery:

  • A successful tap on the hit circle (better judgement leads to more health gain; the last hit circle in a colour combo awards more health).
  • A successful tap on a slider start.
  • The slider ball collected a slider tick successfully.
  • The slider ball touched the end or a reverse arrow of a slider successfully (better judgement at the end tick leads to more health gain).
  • Completing a spinner and continuous spinning in the spinner duration (better judgement at the end of the spinner leads to more health gain).

The following will result in health loss:

  • Constant health drain.
  • Miss was given.
  • Missing a hit circle.
  • Tapping a slider start early.
  • Missing a slider tick, or slider reverse arrow.
  • Failed to complete a spinner for a 50 to be given.

The following will reserve health in the health bar:

  • Break time.


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.