This is a reblog of my site http://geekysweetie.com – Other stuff may appear here such as reblogs from other wordpress.com sites. I blog and reblog about anime, video games, kdrama, toys, technology, and kawaii fashion and decor.
With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.
This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.) I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.
Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game
First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.
Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game
These games were perhaps too ahead of their times – with the relatively recent popularity of Yuri!! on Ice, and increased representation of Otome Games in the United States, I wonder how a sequel for Nintendo Switch would fare these days, if marketed properly. Why try to forcefully create an audience, when there already exists a large audience begging publishers for such games. Do your research and understand your target audience better.
Most of us are 20+ years old, otaku/anime fans, and would rather buy the original box art on the right, than that which was designed for the US on the left. This alienated most of your “built in audience” while trying to build a new audience with younger girls.
Thankfully the art in the actual game is fully done in an anime and kawaii style which could appeal to either audience.
Now on to the review!!
Title: Imagine: Figure Skating
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Career/Life Simulation Game with Dressup Game, Dating Sim and Otome Game aspects
Where to Buy: Gamestop has both of these for about $0.79 and $1.99. Check out the links above.
Geeky: 5/5 – Gameplay is solid, the graphics are a little bit pixelated, but that’s probably just limitations of the software of the time ten years ago. Gameplay using the stylus to perform ice skating moves is both fun and challenging. It offered high replay value too with different girls to play as and different events and dialogue options. It gave a good look at what skaters go thru when training. If you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, or enjoy anime such as Yuri!! On Ice, then you will enjoy this game!
Sweetie: 5/5 – This game has a little bit of everything, all in one very cute package! Ice Skating is beautiful and elegant and as you compete you unlock new areas to explore, new outfits to wear, and you interact with friends, lovers, and rivals. It has a good dose of comedy, slice of life, drama, and surprise.
Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”
Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review
Gameplay: 10/10 – Gameplay is where Imagine: Figure Skating really shines! When the game starts, you select one of three girls, each with her own strengths and weaknesses both on and off the ice. From there you’re whisked away to a tutorial where you get to try skating for the very first time.
Do well and advance through various qualifying rounds improving your skill and technique. You will earn money to buy new outfits and get to travel to compete in new arenas and unlock new events.
When not on the ice, you will go to school, work part time jobs, go on dates, or spend time with your friends. Rivals will show up both on and off the ice too which add to the story.
You skate by using the Nintendo DS stylus on the lower touch screen. You perform jumps and spins and get scored for each of your routines. As you play and complete your training, you will unlock more advanced moves to add to your routine.
You have complete control over designing your own ice skating routines. You select your outfits, music, and choreograph your routines to progress through the game and ultimately guide your character to the nationals.
Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls
Story: 7/10 This game, just like Yuri!! On Ice, does an excellent job portraying the struggles and triumphs of those training for life as a professional or Olympic figure skater. Just like Yuri!!! On Ice, Imagine: Figure skating has that tantalizing blend of romance and rivalry both on and off the ice. It also showcases themes such as platonic friendship, family, travel, adventure, and sportsmanship. Storywise though, this game comes no where close to generating the same emotions and reactions in its audience compared to the beloved Yuri!! On Ice, which has been countless praised by real figure skaters for its realistic portrayal of events and memorable characters.
Characters: 8/10 The characters are cute! I loved the dressup aspects and loved having multiple girls to choose from when starting the game. I loved how this game draws you into the life of the characters, showing you moments of their life both on and off the ice. I didn’t quite connect with them as emotionally and deeply as I had hoped to. This is also probably why the story felt a bit flat.
Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are a bit outdated, but there’s so many options for costumes and the ability to pick different girls is great. The girls are all so cute.
Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game
Music: 7/10 – I feel like almost everything about this game, is about a solid 7, it’s good, but not great. The great gameplay though makes up for the rather “average” other details. I’d say the music is fine, but ultimately far from memorable.
Replay Value: 10/10 – With different girls and different outcomes along with the ability to customize just about everything, this game has very high replay value.
Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”
If you enjoyed Imagine: Figure Skating and Imagine: Champions on Ice, you may also like the other Imagine Games which you can view here. You may also like Princess Debut, which I love and plan to review shortly. There’s also a game called Princess on Ice that you may enjoy – I have not played that one just yet myself.
Bushiroad is bringing us yet another great anime rhythm game.
From the creators of Love Live School Idol Festival, and hot on the heels of the recent announcement of Klab’s English localization of Utapri Utano Princesama Shining Live, Bushiroads has recently announced plans to localize BanG Dream Girls Band Party.
I have not played the Japanese versions myself just yet. I’ve read that it is the highest grossing mobile game in Japan right now.
From what I have seen in the wikia and official website, the game features a lot of fun unique elements that make it a slight step up from Love Live School Idol Festival.
The feature I’m most excited about is the costumes. Each time you get a 3 or 4 star or higher card, you unlock a new costume for your characters that you can equip and see on their chibi or cameo appearances while playing the game.
Other differences between Love Live include “Multi-Lives” the ability to play online in real time with other players – I know Love Live School Idol Festival offers this ability during certain events, but in GBP, it is always available.
You can also trade in your duplicate cards for seals which can be exchanged for limited event items
The biggest difference between GBP and LLSIF is that there are no song types currently, so it doesn’t matter which girls are in your party, even though each girl has her own attributes such as Powerful, Pure, Cool, and Happy. These attributes determine your score multipliers. But you no longer get the bonus of let’s say using a team with primarily high “Pure” cards in a “Pure Song”. However, to get the most out of your score multiplier, it is best to keep a team of same attribute idols. Such as “Pure” or Cool, because of the items you can equip that boost single attributes. You can also further maximize your score by keeping your team all within the same band such as Poppin Party or Pastel Pallets or Roselia. This is because you can buy special band equipment that enhances members’ stats from specific band groups and only 1 type of each item can be equipped at a time, forcing you to choose which band you want to focus on.
This may change, as the game is still relatively new at this time.
Hello Happy World
You can also, not only unlock songs by reading the main story and playing the game, but also unlike new songs by purchasing additional songs with special in-game currency.
There are areas you can explore and items you can place in these areas as well that will impact your band members’ stats as mentioned above.
GBP is a multi-media project, similar to Love Live School Idol Festival. It includes real bands comprised of the characters seiyuu’s (voice actresses), as well as an anime, card game, and mobile game, and various merchandising.
The announcement of an English version of Girls Band Party makes me so happy and excited. I still hold out hope that some day Bandai will release English versions of their Idolm@ster games – other than the $60 ones that they used to sell in the app stores. I mean, come on, just give us English versions of the free to play games, and collect money from us “dumb Americans” who want to spend $$$ on virtual “waifu” lol. Idolm@ster still remains my favorite idol game, mostly just because of the artwork, I mean, being able to see the girls actually performing on stage, like in Idolm@ster Theater Days is amazing!! Live 2D is the best thing to happen to anime games! 🙂
KLab sent me yet another new game announcement to share with all of you. This time, I think the game really fits in with my audience here as it is similar in many ways to various other mobile idol games I’ve reviewed such as Ensemble Stars, Idolish, IdolM@ster Theater Days, Aikatsu Photo on Stage, and of course Love Live School Idol Festival.
The new game is yet another rhythm idol collecting card game. The game is based on the hit visual novel and anime series, UtaPri, Utano Princesama. It will feature advanced Augmented Reality features that let you take pictures with your favorite idols, as well as story modes and rhythm game modes that you can play on various difficulties. You can interact with the idols in 2D Live, an exciting technology that brings anime games to life. No more static images. It even says their facial expressions and behaivors change as you get closer to them. I also see mention of different stage outfits, so it may also have some type of dressup element as well.
Klab is currently running several pre-launch events across Twitter and Facebook – by following either of their accounts you get an Ultra Rare card of your choice once the game starts, so it’s definitely worthwhile to check out the events before the game launches in early 2018.
This game looks so cute! I hope we see more Global releases of anime and idol games soon!
Check out the full press release from KLab below:
“Utano☆Princesama Shining Live”
Global Version Coming Soon!
Social Media Campaign Featuring Poster Giveaway Contest, In-Game Rewards and More!
Tokyo, Japan – January 10, 2018 – KLab Inc., a leader in online mobile games, together with BROCCOLI Co., Ltd., announced plans for the worldwide release of smartphone rhythm game Utano☆Princesama Shining Live in early 2018. The announcement was followed by the launch of the official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the global version of the game.
Utano Princesama Shining Live
Building on the success of the Japanese release, the global version of the game will be fully localized into English and Traditional Chinese, with a Simplified Chinese version planned for simultaneous release in Mainland China.
About Utano☆Princesama Shining Live
Utano☆Princesama Shining Live is a rhythm game for Android™ and iOS mobile devices based on BROCCOLI’s Utano☆Princesama series. With over 2 million downloads* in the domestic market, the Japanese version of the game has found success with fans across the country since launching on August 28, 2017.
Utano☆Princesama is a visual novel series that began as a portable console game. The series now spans multiple anime seasons, manga, drama CDs, live concerts, and much more.
Utano☆Princesama Shining Live features 11 idols from the groups ST☆RISH and QUARTET NIGHT. Players can set their favorite idol to appear on their home screen and tap him to see his various reactions and watch his affection go up, as well as form personalized teams to play songs in a rhythm game. The rhythm game component allows players to train their own original unit of idols as they play a suite of songs from the Utano☆Princesama series at multiple difficulty levels. Players can also unlock stories starring the characters. The game transcends the boundaries of traditional gaming with a special Camera Mode that takes advantage of AR technology, giving players the chance to take photos with their favorite pop stars whenever, wherever.
* Total includes players who have downloaded the game more than once.
Opening Act Social Media Campaign
A series of special events leading up to the launch of the game were unveiled along with the announcement. Players are encouraged to follow either the official Twitter or Facebook account (or both!) to participate in these events, as well as receive the latest updates on the upcoming title. The Opening Act Social Media Campaign is now being held worldwide, except in Japan where the game is already available and in Mainland China, where a separate series of events will be held. All players will receive increasingly extravagant gifts when the game is released based on the number of people who follow the game’s official accounts.
Details can be found below, as well as on the official website which opened earlier today.
Event Campaign Schedule
Starts on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 and lasts until the game’s release (UTC+9)
How to Sign Up
To participate in the pre-launch festivities for Utano☆Princesama Shining Live, players are simply asked to follow the official Twitter or Facebook account.
All players will receive a special ticket that guarantees them a UR character of their choice when the game is launched. Players will be able to obtain up to 300 Prisms by clearing the following pre-launch missions.
* Prisms are a type of in-game currency used in Utano☆Princesama Shining Live to acquire new characters, unlock new content, and more.
Shining Live Pre-Launch Missions
In addition to the choose your UR ticket prize, all players have the chance to receive up to 300 extra Prisms depending on the number of people who follow the game’s official accounts before launch.
– Step 1: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 5,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)
– Step 2: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 10,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)
– Step 3: 100 Prisms (achieved at a total of 25,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook)
Poster Giveaway Contest
As part of the excitement leading up to the global release of the game, fans will be given the opportunity to enter a contest to win one of 11 commemorative posters from the Utano☆Princesama Shining Countdown Live 2017-2018 campaign. To enter, fans are simply asked to follow the official Twitter and retweet the contest tweet. Each of the 11 posters will feature one idol, and the 11 lucky winners will receive one of these at random.
Features of Utano☆Princesama Shining Live
Multiple hits from the Utapri series! Turn your smartphone into a star-studded stage whenever you want!
Utano☆Princesama Shining Live is a rhythm game featuring simple, intuitive controls that gives players the chance to enjoy the greatest hits from the popular series. Create your own personalized idol unit and utilize their unique skills to rack up points and rewards
Watch stories and scenes starring your idols and their daily routines unfold before your eyes in vivid detail!
Check up on your idols and their idol lives via new stories and scenes updated regularly! Players can check up on the members of their group, or even transcend group boundaries to mix and mingle with the stars, as well as enjoy a variety of stage outfits that are sure to catch the eye of any watchful fashionista.
Interact and communicate with fully animated idols!
Meet your favorite idols whenever you want! The realistic appeal of these idols extends beyond simple scripts–a variety of facial expressions turns these idols into realistic communication partners. When you get close enough, you may start to notice certain changes in their behavior and what they say!
The game stars the original cast from the games and anime series, with fully voiced unlockable side stories and more aural surprises in store.
Headquartered in Tokyo and led by CEO Tomoharu Morita, BROCCOLI is one of Japan’s leading designers and producers of content based on the vast subculture stemming from the world of Japanese pop culture. BROCCOLI’s business covers a wide range of fields, including console games, trading card games, videos, and music. The company’s sphere of influence reaches beyond its own original content, extending into the design, production, and sale of character merchandise.
Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
I had previously reviewed CocoPPa Play Star Girl Fashion here. It is a cute anime dressup game for IOS and Android Devices. Many of my complaints were about lack of free gacha and how long it took to earn free gacha plays. – That has since changed. Now almost every gacha gives you one free play, just like in Dream Girlfriend, Fairy Doll, Animal Boyfriend, Moe Can Change, and Dream Boyfriend. The first time I reviewed CocoPPa Play, that was not the case, and while nearly every other dressup game I have played let you take at least 1 free spin on each gacha, it turned me off a great deal to CocoPPa Play in my first review.
CocoPPa Play deserves a new review, because now, with the frequent free gacha plays (new gachas are added almost daily) and there’s always constantly an event going on, so it’s honestly the game I spend the most time playing on my mobile phone, and I love it lol. Also I may have not understood how the events work, and new events have also been added since my old review, and it’s not as difficult as I thought to earn even further free gacha spins. In my old review I say the gacha tickets cost 20,000 points. They now cost 10,000. I don’t know if it was an error on my part before, or if the price has been lowered, but it is nice much easier to get free gacha tickets.
Or Here for Android: (For some reason, it’s called “Star Girl Fashion” here, but same game, even same icon that the Itunes version uses) You can pick it up here: https://play.google.com/…
Overall: 70 / 100 70% C- Good Game for Girls
Concept: 10/10 The concept of CocoPPaPlay is simple – play “gacha” machines or enter monthly events to win new outfits. Outfits consist of different layers, such as eyes(facial expression), hair, clothes, shoes, hand accessories (purses, stuffed toys, swords, etc), hats, glasses, pets, backgrounds, and other items – This allows you to really fine-tune and make unique avatars. Similar to games like Pokemini (which I reviewed here) or Line Play.
Gameplay: 9/10 I covered the basics above: There are a number of “lottery” style games (gacha machines) where you’re awarded an item for your outfit by paying or using a gacha ticket.
There are also numerous events to win exclusive outfits. It seems the events change every week or two and that never a day goes by without some type of event going on. Events fall into one of a few different catagories:
In all events you can earn “Lucky Tickets”: These items you can earn for free by cheering for other players shows or completing quest objectives. The lucky tickets can be used to try to play the lucky event gacha to win items/energy drinks, and/or used to raise your charm level for the event – I recommend trying to max your charm first. (similar to the events in Dream Girlfriend (which I reviewed here) Having high charm lets you get event points and rewards much quicker! Therefore its best to max it out asap. If you rank high based on your total event points at the end of the events, you get rare limited items.
Catch Requests: In a catch event, after cheering for other players’ shows, a creature will appear on your screen with a few different catching options above it’s head and showing a percentage of how likely you are to capture them. You can “chain” successful catches to get bonus points, but once you miss a catch, that bonus is reset. If you chain enough catches you’ll go to a special bonus round after your 11th catch, where you see three creatures. In this bonus round, catching at least 2 out of the 3 will take you to yet another bonus round with a super rare creature to catch for massive amounts of points. I like to save my double point and guaranteed accuracy catching glove items for these two rounds.
Fetch Requests: In a Fetch Event (as I have called it), there will be multiple “quest givers” who request items from you in exchange for event points. Go cheer for other players shows and complete quests to earn the requested items, then return to the events page to turn in your items for event points.
Beam Requests: In a beam quest you find characters again by cheering for other shows. Some characters are more rare than others. Once you find a character, you use a beam to “zap” them to transform them somehow. After transforming, they award you points, more points for more rare characters. You can request help, or help your friends take down difficult characters and get lots of points. This event is fun because it goes very fast with large groups of friends.
Fashion Snap: Dress up your avatar to suit a theme, and vote on “who wore it better”. You can earn a lot of gacha tickets in these events. They’re also the most fun in my opinion. New themes come very quickly – every day I believe. Fashion Snap often times requires you to use at least 1 item from the associated event gacha.
Fashion Labo: Fashion Labo (which I’m guessing stands for Fashion Laboratory) is very much like the Fashion Snap events – also Fashion Labo will be going on along side any one of the other events above. Fashion Labo is different from Fashion Snap in 2 ways: The frequency of the theme changing is much slower, and length of the entry periods for each theme are much, much, much longer in Fashion Labo (spanning several days or even a week or so per each theme). Like Fashion Snap, you dress up to match the theme, and judge other people’s entries. The other big difference is you earn blue and gold hearts that can be exchanged in a special shop for more rare items in addition to those available via the rank and leader boards and as quest rewards etc. Be sure to spend your hearts, because they do not roll over to future Fashion Labo events.
Overall, it cycles through these event styles, in a scheduled and precise way, so that you can anticipate what the next event type will be and plan when you want to play the game. I don’t know the schedule off hand (I don’t really pay that much attention to it) But let’s say it goes something like (this is not correct, just made up to illustrate my point:) If the cycle went like:
then it would start again with Fetch and work in the same order again down that list.
And it would coincide at times with Fashion Labo.
NOTE: Fashion Labo is easy to miss. I missed a few of the themes this month. Because the icon for Fashion Labo is pretty much ALWAYS on your screen – Even when Fashion Labo ends, it lets players check their scores, view the contest winners, and etc by clicking the icon. So if you aren’t paying SUPER CLOSE attention, and notice that the icon has new artwork – thus indicating a new round of Fashion Labo, it’s easy to miss. I’m just going to get in the habit of checking that page daily. I recommend you do the same.
That’s about it for events. One of my favorite things about this game is that there is ALWAYS an event of some type, and thus ALWAYS rare time limited release items. So many items. Between these events and limited time gachas.
There’s also a club feature. You can at any level, any time, and for free, create (or join) a club. You can get bonuses in the events above by having club members where certain items or do certain tasks so clubs are really useful, you can also use them to chat and make friends which gives the game a nice social touch.
You also can take on quests from NPCs within the game, which when you complete, will add new items to their shops, and unlock new cities to explore, and grant you some free outfits. When a city “levels up” they have a sale with half priced items – but I never buy them – because I’m hoarding all my Smile Points to use in the gachas.
As a “bonus”, there’s another app by the makers of CocoPPaPlay, where you can customize your cellphone, with new icons, background images, wallpapers, lock screens, etc. This other app works best on android – because sadly, apple has a lot of bloatware that you cannot delete or modify – for example, the camera, you can’t change the icon for it on apple, the only work around is to download a 3rd party camera app, and hide your other icon in a folder somewhere. Email is another example, for example, you have to download Gmail, and hide the default mail app. You also can’t change the phone or text icons at all on the apple iphone. But it still makes your phone about 90% cuter – though it also makes your phone a little slower, as it adds an extra step whenever you click on one of the new icons it is only a shortcut to the actual program so you get prompted if you want to open the “page” with the following application. (At least on Iphone.) This other app also acts as a social media site, and if you link up your CocoPPa account to your CocoPPa Play account your avatar is carried over to both apps and appears on your social media wall – you earn some free items in both apps for linking, and can more easily login/retrieve your account by having both apps active.
Customization – 10/10 – The number of items available is incredible, and many items have already retired, rising the demand and you get “bragging rights” if you have a super rare/old/obscure item equipped and well, I see this game being around 2-3 years from now, so even if you start playing today, in 2-3 years you too will have those rare items everyone else wants and be admired. I like games like this where they retire items fairly quickly. Pokemini is another example of really time sensitive items. That to me really increases my drive to play these games. So while others may not like this feature, to me it’s a huge plus.
Story: 2/10 – There’s really not much, if any, story – I think there was some type of story presented at the beginning, but it’s so bare bones I forgot it quickly. It’s mostly fetch quests and cheering and there’s also quite a few typos or improper grammar and awkward sentences thrown about in the game. Each event has a story, but it’s so similar to every other event story. Just replace X with Y. “X escaped, lets go catch them” where X could be a dog, cat, fairy, some other creature depending on the event. or “My X is broken, let’s zap it with our beams to make it work again” Where X could be spaceship, magic wand, or hotspring or any other number of things. But yeah really, this is not a game you play for story.
Characters: 6/10 – Characters get high marks for cuteness – but really have no purpose or substance, other than serving as mascots because the game lacks a strong story.
Graphics: 10/10 This game is super cute, the mascot girl who guides you through the story and quests is adorable, and the sheep mascot is also cute and he helps run your club. Your avatar and the items are very nicely drawn and large. a Good variety of items and different poses, and the ability to layer many items to create your avatar make this game very very appealing for anyone who loves cute things.
Music: 5/10 – Music is standard mobile type music. It’s cute and catchy, but ultimately only consists of 3 or 4 different tracks which means the more you play it, the more it starts to annoy the heck out of you lol.
Cuteness – 10/10 – to balance out all the negative things I have to say about this game, added this lil bonus in here – the main reason to play this game is because it’s so cute.
Replay Value: 10/10 – It gets repetitive, is super time consuming, and annoyingly “expensive” if you want VIP items – but in the end, the lure of those time sensitive items keeps you wanting to press on to replay and get new items. It’s a very item-centric game. But that’s not a bad thing.
How to Get: You can check out my review of Aikatsu Photo on Stage to learn how to get free Japanese Itune items by creating a free Japanese Itunes account. In Aikatsu Photo on Stage, I was unable to help android users locate the game as it does not run on Bluestacks (or any rooted devices). I do not know if the same holds true for Idolmaster Theater Days as well. If so Android users may need a VPN Tunneling Service, which I know nothing about. Sorry.
Also in the case of this game when registering for a new account, be sure you select Japan as your country. This cannot be changed later. You can leave “English” as the language, but this only affects emails Bandai will send to you, and does not affect the language actually in the game – which is sadly only available in Japanese. Later, if Bandai ever releases the game in North America and in English you will have to make a new Bandai account to play the English versions of the game. But we’ve never received a single IdolM@ster game, despite success of their Love Live series which is very similar, so I don’t think the chances of English localization are very high! 🙁
Graphics: 10/10 – The best part about Theater Days is that the girls are rendered in Live 2D just like Ensemble Stars, Dream Girlfriend, and countless other anime games. This technology allows for very lifelike anime renders. While 3D would feel stiff and 2D would feel flat, Live 2D finds a balance between these two. I can’t get enough of these Live 2D games!! In fact I wish to see the technology used even more, not just on mobile games, but PC and Console Games as well. I don’t know if this technology was used on Nekopara, but the result is VERY similar. The models look more clean than the cel shading technologies used in Catherine and School Days. Live 2D is the best thing to ever happen to anime games. More companies need to take notice.
Not only do they look great, the girls appear on stage as full bodies, not just a tiny face in a circle like in Love Live School Idol Festival. Aikatsu Photo on Stage also has full bodied — but static — images (which kinda “bounced” up and down at times on the screen). But here, in Theater Days, thanks to Live 2D, the girls dance and sing on stage with unique dance routines choreographed for each song and each singer; and it’s just so incredibly cuuuute!!! I can’t stop playing, watching, and taking like a bazillion screen shots, seriously! Just check out my instagram account lol.
Music 10/10 – Aikatsu Photo on Stage seemed lacking in the quality of the music compared to Love Live, but Idol Master Million Live Theater Days is at least as good, if not even better, in music when compared to Love Live. The songs are seriously addictive. I really like some of the earliest tracks like “Brand New Theater” and “Sentimental Venus”, but all of the songs I’ve heard have been good. I’ve played and watched the music videos (in game after beating the song at least once), over and over, all weekend. The music is so good, and the girls’ dancing is so well timed with the music. It feels so real, like you really are at a concert. The lights on the stage, the audience, the movement, the emotions, omg. It’s indescribable. There’s also excellent voice acting in the story scenes as well.
Gameplay 8/10 – And like Aikatsu Photo on Stage and Idol Master Cinderella Girls you can dressup your girls in different outfits. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet. I’ve won, what looks like white, wedding dress, looking rewards from several songs, but can’t figure out how to use them or equip them. But I do see that we can change the uniforms for each member of our party, I just don’t have anything showing up when I go to this menu to change their outfits, except the starting red/white/blue outfits they are given at the beginning of the game. Perhaps the white dresses are materials or tokens to draw new outfits or something else useful and related to outfits. I just know there are costume changes, and the costume changes will be represented on stage when playing or watching / listening to the songs.
There are also visual novel like elements to the game. I can’t read Japanese, but luckily there is only 1 response / option to select. I’ve only found 2 instances where I’ve had to make a “choice”. The first time was when choosing which starter card I wanted. I picked the girl in the pink sweater with side pony tail. The other time that the game asked me to make a choice was shortly after that, when a new girl is introduced, she has very short hair, sometimes in short pigtails with red ribbons and a green dress. — I think the main girl I had drawn already was jealous of the new girl, I think based on their facial expressions / interactions. My “main girl” and 2 other “starter girls” were in another room talking about something/one when the “new girl” overheard them, and they apologized and got embarrassed. I was presented an option, probably something encouraging the girls to get along. Whatever I picked seemed to surprise the girls. Story went on for a bit, then they all sang together, after the performance, my “main girl” came to me and asked something of me. There were 2 options, and the one I picked seemed to make her happy / satisfy her a bit.
There will be other chances to interact with your girls, any time you are logged in, you can move around different rooms, and find your girls randomly going about their day. Sometimes they will have an “!” or a “…” bubble above their heads, when tapping on a girl, you can listen to what they have to say, which usually doesn’t even require any feedback from you – and rewards you with XP and the rare/summoning currency.
You rank up as a producer by completing these “quests” and of course by putting on live performances which is where the majority of the gameplay comes from. You assemble a team of 6 girls. They have different attributes such as Princess, Fairy, and Angel. The song attributes change every day. For example, yesterday the songs wanted Princess, and Today they want Fairy. On my first day of play they wanted “All” which I guess would require a balanced approach. You can have several different teams built and saved up and switch freely between them. It also seems you can have it build the teams for you by hitting the pink “recycle” looking icon, and then choosing the attribute you want. For example, Princess would autofill your highest scoring Princess cards into the team. This doesn’t mean that only Princess members would appear, because you might have a fairy or angel who has high Princess points too. This probably all sounds familiar if you’ve played other titles such as Love Live School Idol Festival.
When playing the actual song, you can choose different difficulty settings. The easiest difficulty features just 2 “bubbles” to tap. The medium difficulty features 4 bubbles. and the highest difficulty I believe has 6 bubbles.
These bubble “holders” are located across the bottom of your screen. As the song goes on, rainbow white shiny “pearls” will fall down the screen towards one of the bubbles. Tap the bubble at just the right time to gain the most points and chain “perfect” time attacks for bonus points. Once again, very similar to Love Live.
Unlike Love Live. there’s a few new game mechanics, a large floating butterfly “bubble” will appear to give huge bonus points when timed correctly. Other bubbles require sliding/gliding your finger to “follow” the bubble’s path, or tapping and holding, or tapping repeatedly to correctly receive points from that bubble.
The other big draw to these games is the Waifu collecting aspect, and this game is no exception. You can draw cards using diamonds or pink coins. The diamonds have a higher chance to yield Super Rare or Super Super Rare girls to add to your team. The diamonds is the “paid” currency, but there are ways to earn it free in game.
So this all sounds lovely, so why did I take 2 points off? There are no events yet – but keep in mind, the game just launched a few days ago in Japan. In Love Live, there’s almost constant events which allow you to play against or with other players to earn limited edition super rare cards. Nothing like that has happened yet in Theater Days. If they up the rate of events, then Gameplay would probably be a 10/10 too!
Also while playing, your stamina drains so you may find yourself having to wait, or pay, for it to refill. No different from Love Live or the other rhythm games. Those are the only downsides I’ve seen so far!
Story: 5/10 – There is a story, but until they release this game in English (which will probably never happen) I can’t say if it’s a good or bad story. Therefore, a medium score seems the most fair here, given that I’m reviewing this game for my readers, who are also, largely, English speaking gamers.
Characters: 5/10 – The characters are cute! I think I may have seen some from other Idol Master games. But since I’m missing out on their backstories, I still can’t enjoy the characters to their fullest, though I do have some favorites already just based on looks and voice actresses.
Replay Value: 8/10 – No Waifu, No Laifu! lol. The game needs some more events, and to continue to release new girls, new clothes, and new songs, as long as those things continue to happen, this is a game I will be playing and recommending for years to come. In my opinion, it’s the best rhythm game ever of all time! A Must Play Mobile Masterpiece, and a shame we will probably never see an English version of this game.
One note: I think the songs may change slightly – or I’m imagining things? based on which characters you have in your team when performing the song. For example, the first song has a part, where I think, the girls are saying their names and throwing their hands in a circular high five like cheer shape. Obviously there’s more than 6 different girls that could be in your party, and I think they would have used vocals for different names here. — Also, I think… but could be REALLY wrong …. each girl’s voice actress has recorded each “part” of the song…. because… not only does “which girls” you have effect the sound of the song, but “where those girls are” also affects how the song sounds and who gets more time in the spot light and who sings which lines. — My time with the game is short thus far, and I could be imagining this entirely. That’s why I did not factor it into my review score above – however, if it is in fact true, it’s fascinating and makes me want to try all the combinations I can make for each song by choosing and arranging my girls in different ways.
Nikki is back in an all new game, and this time, it even has English voice acting. As you may recall, I reviewed Hello Nikki Let’s Beauty Up awhile back on my blog. Sadly, that game closed its doors a few months ago. As I mentioned in that original review, there were a ton of other Nikki dressup games available in the app store, but none of them had the gacha, rpg, and quest mechanics that I enjoyed so much in Hello Nikki – Let’s Beauty Up.
Overall Score: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game for Girls”
Geeky: 1/5 – The only real reason to play this game is because it’s so mind numbingly cute. Cute as it may be, it is full of bugs – It actually does not run well on my Iphone 6S with IOS operating system 10.3.2 – I can’t see the menus in the dressup, and can’t view tips. I can only access clothes by searching for them by name. Because of this, I play, whenever I can on my PC with a bluestacks emulator to play the android version. I could not get past the tutorial on my Iphone because I couldn’t click where it wanted me to click. And there are still times when I will click and it will be nonresponsive.
If they fix that IOS issue (and yes, I’ve already tried the built in fix utilities), then I’d probably be inclined to give the Geek score a 3/5 because it does feature online play, ranked leader boards, events and quest mechanics, and other interesting features to make it much more than “just” a dressup game.
Edit: Geeky 3/5 – They have fixed the above mentioned bugs (awhile ago, I just forgot to update this). As mentioned the game is more than “just” a dressup game, it features tons of events and online play with other players, as well as limited edition items, a story, quests, and crafting and other features.
Sweetie: 5/5 – So many cute outfits, events, and the characters are all cute. Just packed to the brim with cuteness.
Overview: 10/10 – Love Nikki Dress UP Queen takes a lot of what made Hello Nikki Let’s Beauty Up so much fun and throws in a few new surprises as well. If you login each day you get all kinds of rewards, basic login rewards, as well as ongoing event rewards, and other goodies. If you compete in the Stylist Arena you can get ranked against others and earn more rewards. The Arena is broken into seasons and the scores reset with new seasons which help new players catch up. You can enjoy the story mode by challenging various NPCs, or you can dress up freely – the choice is yours. With so many ways to play, Love Nikki Dress UP Queen is sure to keep you coming back.
Gameplay: 7/10 — This would be close to a perfect 10 if they could fix the game breaking bugs that exist on the IOS version right now. If you’re playing the android version, then you don’t need to worry about the negatives I’ve mentioned earlier in this review. I just can’t give “gameplay” a high score in good faith, when the game is so buggy (almost unplayable) for IOS users right now. Your Mileage May Vary depending on your device and what version of IOS you’re running. You can also switch freely between both the Android and IOS versions by linking your facebook account and have access to your same account and items in both versions of the game.
Edit: 10/10 The Above Bugs Have Been Fixed.
The actual gameplay itself is super solid. As mentioned under overview, there’s several different gameplay modes to choose from, and you can also craft, decompose, dye, and modify your clothes.
Like Hello Nikki Let’s Beauty Up, the main objective of the game is to collect different articles of clothing, and layer and combine them to create new outfits.
In the Story Mode, you will explore various maps; each point on the map presenting a brief story and new dressup challenge. You will be shown tips as to what styles or feelings your outfits should evoke, then you will face off with the NPC where your outfits will be scored on various standards such as warmth, liveliness, purity, maturity, sexiness, casualness, etc. depending on what the challenge calls for.
You’re also able to learn new skills as you level up which boost your score, or negatively impact your opponent’s scores when used in battle.
You will receive a letter grade and corresponding reward F through S rank for each challenge. Some maps may require you have a high amount of high ranked challenges to progress to the next map. Other maps may let you by with a C or higher.
In the Stylist Arena, you are paired with other real people playing from all around the world. Unlike Romantic Diary, there is no limit to how many pieces of clothing you can carry into the challenge. You (and your opponent) will have access to all of your items in every arena battle. You can rise to the top of the leader boards each Arena “Season” to get top rewards.
In Free Dress you can just put together whatever outfits you would like and have fun without worrying about meeting certain challenge requirements.
Be sure you look at the events, quests, and get your sign in bonuses every day. Click everything you can click; there’s so many rewards that it can be easy to miss some awesome freebies here.
Don’t forget to also collect your free gacha items each day. This is your chance for free rare items! Treasured items are good, but Super Treasured items are even better!
You can also earn retired / out of print outfits for linking your Facebook account or referring friends! So many ways to get free stuff – YAY.
Story: 7/10 Love Nikki Dress UP Queen has a new story to explore. Legend tells of a kingdom ruled by fashion battles. These fashion battles even have the ability to determine who will rule each kingdom as its king or queen. In the latest fashion battle, there was a tie, between a Princess, and a common girl. The Princess was very beautiful and refined with dark hair. The common girl had long pink hair, after the last fashion battle, the pink haired girl mysteriously disappeared, and the Princess became the new Queen. She ruled her kingdom harshly and brought about an age ruled by her cold blade. Nikki finds herself somehow in this strange kingdom, with her talking cat, Momo. Nikki shares an uncanny resemblance to the pink haired girl of legend who could challenge the current queen. Nikki will make her way to meet the queen while encountering strange new characters who either want fashion advice, or want to battle (in a fashion battle that is). – The story is there, and this time it’s even fully voiced, but it’s still not terribly interesting or engaging
Characters: 7/10 – all of the characters are voiced, have their own unique sense of style, and all of them are super cute, but it feels like they’re just there to keep you moving from point a to b, and of little story significance.
Graphics: 10/10 – Pastel pink is everywhere. Everything about this game is girly, feminine, charming, cute, and kawaii AF. The ability to layer items, from dozens of different “item slots” makes the dressup possibilities almost endless. The amount of different items also is mind boggling.
Music:5/10 – Meh, just average. It’s there, it exists, I just don’t pay much attention to it. It doesn’t get on my nerves, unlike many mobile games that I have to play on mute, but it’s nothing too impressive or memorable either.
Voice Acting: 8/10 – I’m torn on this — It’s the first Nikki game to have voice acting in English — or “first English Nikki Game to Have Voice Acting” period – by that, I mean that Hello Nikki Let’s Beauty Up removed ALL the voice acting from the original game before bringing it to North America – not only did it not have English Voice Acting, but it also removed the original Japanese Voice Acting as well! I was really disappointed by this.
So I’m really really happy that the new Nikki game is fully voiced – I would have liked for it to have included an option to keep the Japanese voice acting — Or if I could only choose one or the other, I would’ve preferred the Japanese voices. But I know there are royalties and licensing fees associated with doing so…
The English voice acting is actually… for the most part… not bad…. I’ve met a few questionable characters but on the whole, overall, most of the characters’ voices seem to fit well and deliver a decent performance that is not cringe worthy or over dramatic. I actually kind of really like some of the characters’ voices in fact. So yeah, we have voice acting, and it doesn’t totally suck, so yay lol.
Overall Score: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game for Girls”
NOTE: if playing the Android version or if they ever fix the bugs in the IOS version, the score would be closer to: 66/80 or 83% “Very Good Game for Girls”
Have you ever wanted to be a Top Model and walk down the catwalk in a Fashion Showdown between other beautiful and successful girls? Here’s your chance to be the best model, in XS Software’s Lady Popular Fashion Arena.
You can play this amazing dressup game for free in your web browser without needing to download or install any software. You can register either by email, or by connecting your facebook account.
Overview: 10/10Lady Popular Fashion Arena has a lot to offer. You start the game by choosing your hair, makeup, skin tone, outfits, and accessories. As you begin to complete quests within the game, you level up and gain access to new activities such as a photo shoot, new shops to explore, pets to dressup, or even find a boyfriend and dress him up too. It also has a dating sim element and wedding planning element. It’s the perfect game for young girls dreaming of falling in love, being beautiful, popular, and having an amazing career.
Gameplay: 8/10 – When you first start the game there will not be much for you to do in the early levels. This can be frustrating, but it does make leveling up and playing every day much more rewarding, as you will gain access to more features that help to mix up the gameplay.
Like most games in the Dressup Game genre, the main gameplay focuses on purchasing new outfits and accessories. To earn in-game currency you will complete your quest log, or face off against other real players in ultimate fashion battles.
In addition to dressing up, you also have to undergo extensive training to learn how to become a Top Model. You can choose from many different courses to improve your scores in Style, Beauty, Creativity, Devotion, Generosity, and Loyalty. All of which affect how popular your model is.
The user interface and tutorials in the beginning make this a very intuitive game to pick up and play without much of a learning curve. This makes the game great for young girls, even if they’re not experienced playing similar games of this nature.
The extra and unique features that begin to open up as you advance in the game, set Lady Popular apart from many other dressup games that focus only on fashion. As mentioned, Lady Popular also has a dating sim element later in the game and even allows you to plan your own engagement party.
Lady Popular also focuses more on social interaction and encourages you to play with friends, which is different from most dressup games that are more of a solo experience.
A recent update, totally revamped the questing system, making it much more exciting and rewarding to complete your quests which help you advance through the game. Once you begin to advance in the game, the sheer number of shops, outfits, activities, and little touches really hooks you in playing this game each day.
Story: 5/10 There is not much of a story, especially in the early levels. Your imagination becomes the story, and it allows you to choose your own path and determine what type of model you want to be.
Characters: 7/10 The characters in this game are all other models playing the game too. You can interact with your friends in real time, and compete against other players. On the downside, this also means there’s not much of a “story” behind these characters.
Customization: 10/10 The ability to customize everything about your avatar, from her hair, facial features, makeup, outfits, room, and the ability to customize pets and boyfriends, and then even customize your wedding and engagement, make this game a perfect 10 for customization options. You can be a cute, preppy, classic beauty, or rock out an alternative look with bright pink or blue colored hair or anything in between.
Graphics: 10/10 Lady Popular is a very brightly colored and attractive looking 2D game. The interface is intuitive, and the sheer number of clothes, accessories, and dressup items, make this game super cute.
Music: 5/10: Honestly, I usually play games like this on mute, or while watching tv or playing other games. If you’re playing with music on, like with most games of this nature, the music is fine, but nothing extraordinary, and due to the repetitive daily gameplay, the music can get annoying after you’ve heard it over and over again.
Replay Value: 10/10 What makes Lady Popular so much fun is the ability to interact with or against other players, as well as the mini games and other activities which open up later as you level up. To really appreciate this game you need to slog through the first few levels to get to the good parts. After that, you will be hooked by the number of things to do, and millions of different ways to customize your model and shape her life.
I just recently discovered and began watching “Aikatsu! Stars”. Aikatsu! Stars is a sequel of an anime called Aikatsu! The anime is based on a card / arcade game by Bandai. The arcade card game involves dressing up idols with cute kawaii clothes and accessories to help them achieve a higher score. — From the success of these arcade machines, as well as the success of the anime (which I believe has about 6 seasons now), and the success of the other media related to the Aikatsu franchise — Bandai then introduced Aikatsu! Photo on Stage, a mobile game which is kinda similar to Bandai’s other Idol Collecting / Rhythm Games such as Idol M@ster which I’m just learning now, and Love Live School Idol Festival, which I’ve been meaning to also review, but haven’t really gotten around to just yet.
The main difference in Aikatsu! Photo on Stage compared to Love Live School Idol Festival, is the way in which the rhythm game is actually played. Love Live School Idol Festival displays characters’ faces in a half-moon arc like shape scattered around the screen. As a song plays, music notes, indicated by a ring shape, float out to one of these characters. Pressing on a character at the right time will score higher points. You “chain” “perfect” time presses for the highest score possible.
In Aikatsu! Photo on Stage, the rhythm game is completely different (and in my opinion more challenging). This time, you see your selected characters standing on a stage, and over top, overlaying these characters, you see a various number of boxes, outlined by white squares. As the song begins, these squares begin to fill, with what I would describe as playing cards. Spade, Diamond, Club, and Heart symbols begin to fill each box. Pressing when the shape has filled in the white outline the fullest will result in better scores. The number of squares, layout of squares, and speed with which they fill, varies not only from song to song, but within different parts of a single song as well. Some squares, indicated by a golden color, can be spammed over and over before they fade, letting you chain dozens of notes quickly. Often multiple squares appear at once and while playing which you can either press simultaneously or in rapid succession.
You may also unlock combos and abilities of your girls; This seems to be determined by who is in your team. When the song begins, there’s a lengthy animation showing your girls, and they “Pair off” It seems like certain cards when “paired together” will activate different abilities “together”. Sometimes a girl will also activate a single ability. All of these abilities will act as huge score multipliers for the duration that the ability is in effect.
The other significant difference is that Aikatsu! Photo on Stage has never been released in North America. This means the game is in Japanese. My time spent with Aikatsu Photo on Stage has amounted to probably an hour, spread over the past two days. I cannot speak or read Japanese, and am not an expert by any means on this game. In fact, twice now I’ve accidentally clicked things and wasted my stars (in game currency used to summon new idols).
There are people and places to get much better information on this game than what I’m about to share with you. I just wanted to share my love for the game and show how cute it is, and tell you you should be playing this game. You should also watch the anime, at least Aikatsu Stars! because it is super kawaii (cute). It’s like Harry Potter crossed with Love Live School Idol Festival. It follows a young girl as she enrolls in a special academy just for idols. She is given a phone and badge and even taken to pick out a special outfit. And it was discovering this anime that sparked my interest in the game. I thought WOW this would make such a fun game! I want to go to a school for idols too! Then I thought “I wonder if there is a game based on this anime already” There are numerous Nintendo DS games, and then there’s this mobile game (and of course the original arcade/card game).
Once again I’m no expert and the following info may not be 100% correct or accurate. I will include some resources at the end of this article that will probably prove more helpful.
First here is how to get the game if you use IOS (iphone, ipad, etc).
From a PC, log out of your Itunes account. In the bottom right corner you should see a flag to change your country/region. — If you don’t see this or if it has moved, don’t worry I’ll show you how you can change regions midway through this process later.
You need to decide which version of Aikatsu you want to play. I chose the Japanese version, but there’s also Korean and Chinese versions. The Chinese version for country code MO even looked like it was in English??? I can’t confirm that though as I chose the Japanese version believing it to be the most updated and least likely to close down later.
So if you want to play the Japanese version, select to change your region to Japan now.
Once you’ve selected your region, search for Aikatsu! – you’ll see a lot of anime and music here, you can narrow your results to just Iphone or Ipad apps to make it easier to find.
Once you find the Aikatsu! Photo on Stage app, click the “+Get” button.
You will then be prompted to create a new itunes account.
Here is where you can change your country if you didn’t already do so. It will say something like “If your billing address is not in the United States, click here to change regions” You can then search again for the Aikatsu app and click the +Get button and be prompted again to set up a new Itunes account.
The important thing is that you select the app and use the +Get Button BEFORE MAKING YOUR ACCOUNT. SUPER IMPORTANT DO NOT IGNORE THIS STEP.
Assuming that you followed this advice, the payment should be set to “None” by default.
Ignoring that step and trying to either change an existing Itunes account region, OR creating a new account before clicking the +Get button will result in you being asked for payment details even for FREE apps! And it will only accept Japanese credit/bank cards or Japanese Itunes Gift Cards. So It’s really important to remember to FIRST select the app, and THEN create your account.
You will then need to finish filling in your details, an email address that is not associated with any other Itunes account, you may need to create a new email address, which you can do for free on sites like hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc. Then fill in your secret hints and select a new password.
You need a Japanese address, I have read that you can use a university address, your mileage may vary. My understanding is that as long as the Prefecture, city, and zipcode all line up, the rest of the address doesn’t matter.
You can use a US cellphone number.
You are now the proud owner of a Japanese Itunes Account. Congratulations!
Your app should begin downloading automatically after entering your password or thumbprint.
To get your app to your Iphone: Now from your Iphone, go to settings, and under the “Itunes & App Store” select sign out, and select sign in to use the new account you just created.
Now when you browse the App store you’ll be browsing the Japanese app store.
You can switch back at any time by going to settings and again signing out and back in to your US Itunes account.
Aikatsu! Photo on Stage will not Work on any Rooted Devices, so if you Jailbreak your Iphone it will no longer work for you. This also means Aikatsu! Photo on Stage will not run on android emulators such as Bluestacks. So I am not sure how Android users can enjoy this game. I think it involves using a VPN and Tunneling service, but then I don’t know if that would “flag” the “Rooted Device” warning signal, so unfortunately I can’t provide help or directions to get the app on Android.
But assuming you’re an IOS user, you’re now ready to Play Aikatsu! Photo on Stage. And I’m now finally ready to review it for you 🙂
Geeky: 3/5 – This app is over the top cute/sweet which can distract some from the actual gameplay and features. I read that it was originally aimed at young elementary school girls… However, Bandai was surprised that many “Hardcore” adult male gamers also play the game, perhaps moreso even than their original audience. The reason for the mass appeal is that, if you look past the pink girly graphics, the gameplay itself is quite challenging, and guys like to collect their virtual “waifu” – They may also be trickling down from the other two popular Bandai Franchises, Love Live, and Idol M@ster (or a slew of other Bandai Namco Idol Simulation game series). It loses some points in my opinion with some of the graphics… For example your girls are just motionless/still on the stage, and in the story mode, they’re still, but come “Bouncing in” like a child playing with a Barbie doll, walking her Barbie across the floor by picking up and lowering the whole doll. — This was maybe intentional, given Bandai’s original target audience, and the “dress up theme” but it’s none the less, strange to watch and distracting compared to the more “fluid” looking animations in the other idol apps. The UI also confuses me but that could just be since I can’t read Japanese — However, by contrast, the UI of Ensemble Stars, which I reviewed here, is so simple that it doesn’t matter that it’s Japanese. So I would say there are some overly complex issues with the UI in Aikatsu… but it’s not as bad as the UI in Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls which I’m having even more difficulty navigating (too many things to click/options/features, which yes, makes for an awesome game, but steep learning curve when not in your native tongue).
Sweetie: 5/5 – As mentioned, this game and the anime are unbelievably cute. Seeing your girls on the stage, instead of just a circle with their face is very cute, and outside of performing, you can set your home screen to different backgrounds (often with pink glitter, hearts, gems, etc floating by) and select if you’d like to see 2, 3, or all 8 of your girls. When you go to power up your girls, you will be “dressing them up” to even more kawaii versions of themselves.
Concept: 8/10 – I feel like feature wise, it’s a step up from Love Live, but a significant step down from Idol M@ster. You should play this game because it’s cute. But as for actually “dressing up your girls” Idol M@ster does this better and in a fashion much closer to the Aikatsu! Card Arcade game, which allows you to equip tops, pants, shoes, or a dress which can sometimes take the place of multiple items. By contrast, the Aikatsu mobile game “dresses up” your girls much in the same way that Love Live idolizes your girls. In Aikatsu you have Rare, Normal, and Super Rare “Tokens”, each card will require some combination in some amount of these tokens to “dress up”. It will also require a certain number of hearts… Despite that… I have met the requirements — saying “OK” for each type of token, and have more than enough hearts, and still haven’t been able to dress up my girls (so perhaps I am misunderstanding something about how this works. Like I’ve said a couple times, I’m no expert). But it still seems to me, a rather lackluster system, and seems that Idol M@ster actually has the “dressup system” that the original card arcade game was so popular for.
That said, I do think there is some way to scan your cards in Aikatsu Photo on Stage, but I haven’t figured it out, nor do I have any of the cards.
Music wise, I feel like it’s not quite as good as Love Live.
Overall, it’s just “another” idol sim and rhythm game from Bandai Namco, of which there are probably a dozen different apps and franchises to choose, each with their own anime and target audiences. But you just can’t look past how cute and addictive it is to collect all of the girls. Like most of these games, there are limited time events, and the desire to collect the rarest cards keeps players coming back.
Gameplay: 8/10 What makes Aikatsu stand out (at least compared to Love Live), is the way the rhythm game is played which involves squares filling with shapes from a deck of playing cards. If you read the first few paragraphs of my review, you have a good idea how that works already. If not, here’s a recap.
This time, you see your selected characters standing on a stage, and over top, overlaying these characters, you see a various number of boxes, outlined by white squares. As the song begins, these squares begin to fill, with what I would describe as playing cards. Spade, Diamond, Club, and Heart symbols begin to fill each box. Pressing when the shape has filled in the white outline the fullest will result in better scores. The number of squares, layout of squares, and speed with which they fill, varies not only from song to song, but within different parts of a single song as well. Some squares, indicated by a golden color, can be spammed over and over before they fade, letting you chain dozens of notes quickly. Often multiple squares appear at once and while playing which you can either press simultaneously or in rapid succession.
You may also unlock combos and abilities of your girls; This seems to be determined by who is in your team. When the song begins, there’s a lengthy animation showing your girls, and they “Pair off” It seems like certain cards when “paired together” will activate different abilities “together”. Sometimes a girl will also activate a single ability. All of these abilities will act as huge score multipliers for the duration that the ability is in effect.
Again deducted a few points for a somewhat overwhelming UI, as well as not quite as feature rich as some of Bandai’s other Idol simulation games.
Also another caveat to the gameplay is the ridiculous load time and frequency at which it keeps requesting to load things. Their loading screen is cute, but I see it way too often and it interrupts my game to the point of frustration.
Story: 8/10 – This is my assumption on what the story is about, based on what I’ve seen of the anime. I cannot read Japanese, so I can’t really grade the story within the actual game. But the story in the anime involves a young girl who goes to a special school for idols. When the girls perform they seem to become like Hatsune Miku or a Vocoloid, and “transform” into much cuter versions of themselves. In the anime, there’s some really bad/cheap 3D animation used when the girls perform their songs lol. But the concept is none the less cute. As the girls enter this special academy they are given all kinds of cute thing, and begin their special training to become idols.
In some ways, it’s very similar to Harry Potter; there are different houses (whose names I forget, but just winging it here) such as Star, Bird, Ocean, Whisper, etc. Students are assigned a house based on their personality and natural abilities. The houses compete with each other, as well as other schools, to be the top idol group in their school and in the world. The girls are given cute costumes and magic idol tools to use in their training and performances. They make friends and go to classes with a variety of characters as classmates and teachers.
The story in the anime is very cute. I prefer this story 100 times more than the story in Love Live because it has that sort of fantasy, Harry Potteresque, “magic idol school” setting. Once again I can’t confirm that the game follows this story.
The story is revealed in story scenes upon clearing certain song stages and ranking up, similar to how story is revealed in the Love Live mobile game as well.
I only wish it was in English so that I could actually read the story. As it is now, I skip all the story scenes because I just can’t read them.
The story is a bit juvenile / fluffy – but once again Bandai’s original target audience was gradeschool children with this franchise, so this is to almost be expected.
I also compared the story quite a bit to Full Moon Wo Sagashite – which this anime is really nothing like, except for the age of the main characters, and their desire to become Idols and their sorta similar personalities between the main girls.
Full Moon Wo Sagashite has much more substance, feeling, heart, drama, and strife than Aikatsu! Stars. But if you’re looking to get your idol fix, this may do it for you. Another anime to check out in a similar tone is Fancy Lala.
Characters: 4/10 – I feel like the character designs are hit and miss, both in terms of personality, and also in their visual appeal. I’m not super far into the anime, but the characters so far story and background wise, feel so cliche… actually many of them feel like a copy/paste of “corresponding” characters from Love Live. There’s one girl that could be a dead ringer for Kotori with the same hair style, half up side pony tail, twisted and clipped over her light blonde/silvery/grey hair. Despite the change in setting to a more fantasy / harry potter style of “Crazy Cute and Cool Idol School” the characters themselves aren’t that unique at all. However, the main character of Aikatsu! Stars is so cute…
She’s my favorite girl, and I was excited when I got her card, even though it’s only “Rare” and not “Super Rare” or “P Rare” (dunno what the P stands for? Precious Rare? Pretty Rare? Premium Rare?). (P Rares are what you want to be aspiring for, but Super Rares are pretty good too. Rares, just as the same with Love Live, aren’t really all that rare at all! lol.) — Anyways sure she’s cute, but how does she differ from any other magical shoujo girl main character? She doesn’t, even the yellow pigtails are sure to remind you of a certain well known shoujo magical girl.
Graphics: 9/10 – So Cute, this is probably the cutest app on my Iphone… I deducted 1 point for the “bouncing” animation in the story scenes where characters move across the screen by bouncing up and down as they glide stiffly across the screen – which looks pretty bad. The anime also is mostly cute 99% of the time, but when the girls transform to sing, it shifts to some really bad 3D animation that looks cheap and dated. Sticking to 2D would have looked so much better; but I think they wanted to show that the girls’ idol performances are using Virtual Reality like Hatsune Miku.
Music: 7/10 – The music is good – it better be, since it’s a rhythm game right? But not great. The girls’ vocals don’t have the same tone and quality as the girls’ in Love Live – or if they’re using some of the same cast, perhaps it’s that the song arrangements aren’t quite as catchy. Whatever the reason, if I were to play a game just for music alone, I’d stick with Love Live. The music in Aikatsu! is not bad, it’s “good” but I think it’s natural to want to compare it to Love Live, and it just doesn’t stack up.
Voice Acting: 6/10: The game has a few “one line” voice overs. The voice acting that’s there is good, really good even. I love the voice actor for the male teacher in the red track suit. He is funny and energetic. But the game is not fully voiced and I feel like the potential, especially in the story scenes, is not really reached, especially when similar apps do have full voice overs in this area.
Replay Value: 10/10 This cute game has addictive rhythm games, lots of cute rare girls, and lots of in game events. It’s one that will keep you playing over and over. It’s best in small but frequent doses.
Overall: 68/90 76% C “Good Game for Girls”
Overall Aikatsu Photo on Stage will appeal to you if:
You like Kawaii things, such as shoujo, magical girl anime or idol culture.
The rhythm game is fun, and it’s not impossible, but slightly frustrating to play since it is not in English.
If you like Aikatsu Photo on Stage, check out Bandai Namco’s other idol games such as Love Live, Idolish, and Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls. — For anime check out the original Aikatsu! and newer Aikatsu! Stars, as well as Fancy Lala, Full Moon Wo Sagashite, and Chance Pop Session. You may also like Wizardess Heart because of the harry potter theme which I reviewed here. You’ll also like Ensemble Stars which I reviewed here.
For Additional English Aikatsu! Resources Please Refer to:
Nintendo Miitomo Mobile Game Just Got a Huge Update That Lets You Send DMs, Decorate Your Room, and Use Multiple Miis. You can now add wallpaper and flooring to your room on Miitomo.
There’s also a new feature called Sidekick Miis which lets you use other Miis you have created – and decorate their rooms as well.
You can add “Posters” to your room – and possibly furnishings too (haven’t finished exploring everything yet myself). The Posters can be miifotos, or any photo saved to your mobile device. I chose one of my cats to use as my poster.
There’s a new Miitomo drop stage that changes every day with new wallpaper and flooring items to be won. I love my new pink rug that I won lastnight lol. I also won white panel walls today but didn’t like how they looked with the “medium” size poster – That’s another thing you can choose medium, small, or large when designing posters and choose different “spots” to place them in your rooms. They give you 1 poster spot free but additional ones have to be purchased.
If you are wanting to decorate lots of Sidekick Mii rooms, you will need multiple poster spots and decor items. If one is in use by one Mii, it cannot be used by another of your Miis. So I recommend always choosing the wallpaper or floor if you land on a multiple item in the gacha game – instead of taking the candy – because you never know when you might want to make another sidekick and need items for their room as well.
You can also now send Direct Messages privately to your friends. The interface has a slightly new look too which will show you almost like a twitter feed of your friends’ latest answers to Miitomo questions. Both of these new tweaks will make Miitomo more of a social network and allow you to connect deeper with your friends, or make new ones.
These are all exciting updates and a step in the right direction, breathing life back into a somewhat already tired mobile game app.
PS: You should log in each day for awhile right now because they’re having huge login bonuses to celebrate the massive update.
Humble Bundle just kicked off their annual birthday celebration which will run for the next 11 days featuring hundreds of discounted digital PC games from both AAA studios and indie developers. Some of the savings are up to 75 or even 90% off. In fact, they’re even giving you a free game just for visiting the website and registering or logging into your account.