Pop in Q Anime Movie Review

Title: Pop in Q
Length: (approx) 1.5 hours, feature length film.
I hear there is a 2nd film in production as well that will finish telling the story. *hint: Keep watching after the credits of the first movie*
Genre: Shoujo, Magical Girl, Fantasy, Idol, Musical, Slice of Life, Drama
Studio: Toei Annimation
Release Date: December, 2016

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Score Card:

Geeky 1/5 – There is a bit of action later in the film, also some nostalgia to anyone who grew up watching shows like Digimon. But largely, this is pure shoujo aimed at very young girls. Afterall the girls themselves are middleschool students in this film.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This anime is utterly adorable!!! The Popin look like Sanrio characters. The girls are young and have round faces and big eyes. The music is catchy. Idol culture is always kawaii AF. The backgrounds have a nice painterly style. And the story actually has some depth to it, especially towards the end and the small preview of the next film.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Story 9/10 The story is basically the same as nearly every shoujo series. Which isn’t a bad thing. A group of young girls who don’t believe in themselves (or other people), come together, find their own inner strength, and learn to trust each other and work together. The basic plot of Pop in Q surrounds 5 girls each with different regrets as they prepare to graduate from middle school. They escape to the magic world where they meet the Popins, loveable cute mascots who are responsible for the flow of time. The girls do not want to return to their own world until tragedy threatens both worlds and forces the girls to make some difficult decisions.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Characters: 10/10 – 10 out of 10 just for how cute they are. Plus I like how every girl is given ample screen time and has a rich back story. This reminded me a lot of sailor moon or magic knights rayearth, or to a lesser degree card captor sakura. It also has a hint of love live or aikatsu stars because of the idol elements. But the cutest thing of all are the Poppins!

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Artwork: 4/5 I deducted 1 point because some of the 3D scenes are not animated that well. However, the character designs are so cute. The 2D parts are adorable, and the background environments have this lovely painterly style with heavy brush strokes. This creates a beautiful storybook like feeling.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Voice Acting: 4/5 – The voice acting is cute and suits each of the girls. The poppins also have cute voices. Only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that it wasn’t that memorable.

Music: 5/5 – There are tons of vocal tracks, obviously as music plays a central role to this story. Luckily all of the music is quite catchy. I also liked the instrumental tracks, especially highlighting some sad and touching moments.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Overall: 38/45 84% B+ “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review

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

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.

Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.

There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

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!!

Scorecard:

Title: Imagine: Figure Skating

Developer: Spike

Publisher: Ubisoft

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

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

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

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.

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Takane & Hana Yuki Shiwasu Manga Review

I received volume 1 of Takane & Hana from Viz for free to review here on my blog.

Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Note: This review may contain spoilers for volume 1 of the manga.


Title: Takane & Hana

Mangaka: Yuki Shiwasu

Licensed: Viz

Release Date:  Dec 20, 2014 – Ongoing (Japan), February 6th, 2018 – Ongoing (USA)

Length: 9 volumes (and ongoing) (in Japan) Viz will be releasing volumes bimonthly.

Genre: Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy

Geeky: 2/5 – No action, but a good dose of comedy could make this one appeal to geeks of any gender.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Here we have a love story / slice of life manga with some rather unconventional characters. I enjoy the humor and unique characters. This is not a cookie cutter shoujo manga.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Story: 9/10 – Takane and Hana meet via an arranged marriage; however, it is not Hana who is supposed to go to the meeting. Hana has an older sister, Yukari, who was selected by the chairman to meet his grandson, Takane. Takane is heir to a successful wealthy conglomerate, where Hana and Yukari’s father happens to work. Yukari refuses to go to the arranged marriage, forcing Hana to have to pretend to be her older sister.

Takane can see through their deception right away, which causes him to be more frank and open around Hana. Takane is used to getting anything he wants, so when Hana storms out of their arranged marriage meeting, he takes an interest in her. He begins to show up at her school with luxurious gifts, wearing expensive clothes, and driving a fancy foreign car.

Eventually Yukari tells Hana that she has changed her mind and wants to meet with Takane. The three agree to meet to explain the situation, but Hana runs away during their meeting. Takane pursues Hana and calls her by her real name for the first time, showing that he knew all along who she really was. Hana steals a kiss from Takane which again shakes up his usual routine.

The two continue to meet, usually going to expensive fancy restaurants. But one of my favorite parts of the manga is when Hana plans their date; she wants to do all commoner activities. Hana plans a day full of karaoke, bowling, fast food, and a scary movie. However, at the first stop of their date, Takane gets called into work. Hana continues to do their date alone by herself, until finally Takane meets back up by sneaking into the movie. He falls asleep exhausted from work. He also worked all night the night before so he could take the day off. Hana learns and sees many different sides of Takane that day, and begins to understand that he really isn’t such a bad guy.

There is a 10 year age gap between the characters though, so their relationship must still remain a secret, because Takane is expected to marry a suitable woman to help him with his career. Takane continues to go to arranged marriage meetings, but rejects his suitors and continues to see Hana. Hana worries that she is not good enough for Takane, but he tells her he will be the one to decide if she is good enough or not.

My only complaint with the story is it has some pacing issues. There were parts of the story where I would stop and see if I missed a page. It seemed to jump around a lot in the first 2 or 3 chapters, and then became more well fleshed out and evens out in the next chapters.

Characters: 8/10 Hana is a typical high school girl, carefree, spunky, athletic, happy go lucky, friendly, and outgoing. Takane is a well groomed businessman and heir to a large fortune. Takane is used to always getting his way and is used to enjoying the finer things in life. However, both of our characters are bored of their routine lives. When they meet, their routine is shaken up.

Takane is very rude, and he loves to be the center of attention. He loves to “look down” on the world / other people. However, he is not without his good points either. He is sincere/honest about his feelings (at least when he is around Hana – around other people Takane is forced to behave politely due to the responsibilities of his family and business.) Takane is a very hard worker, but he also tries to make time for Hana. Takane is not good at expressing thanks/gratitude, or admitting that he is enjoying his time with Hana.

However, Hana learns certain things about Takane. Like when he is truly happy, his smile is different, more like a smirk. His full / peaceful / contented smile is only a fake smile put on out of politeness. Hana realizes Takane only really smiles honestly around her.

Hana is also not honest about her feelings for Takane. She decides to treat their relationship like a game. Both of our characters are competitive and love to tease each other, and neither of them want to lose this “Game”.

I really love these characters, but I did deduct a few points because all of the minor characters are far less developed. This is only the first volume though, so I expect this to improve.

It’s also worth pointing out that many readers may be uncomfortable with the age gap in this manga. In Japan though this age gap is very common. Even in other shoujo manga, such as Sailor Moon, Mamoru was a college student and Usagi was only 14. While age gaps like this may seem odd to American readers, it is important to understand these cultural differences.

Artwork: 10/10 The artwork is cute, and it makes me smile/laugh. I love Takane’s smirk. Hana is cute. Takane would maybe be handsome, but his facial expressions are usually very smug/conceited. The background and coloring techniques are also cute. The art and character designs are also very consistent throughout the first volume.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Takane & Hana Yuki Shiwasu Manga Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

I’m testing a new plugin that will let me more easily share app recommendations with my readers. The first app I’m going to recommend is Princess Closet by Ciagram. It is an otome game available in both the IOS and Google app stores.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

What I like about Princess Closet is that you don’t have to spend real money on cash shop items to reach the good ending. You can also read a few stories each day for free, making it possible to play the game without having to invest any money.

Read the full description and see screenshots below. This info was taken from QooApp. But this app can also be downloaded via the Google Play and IOS stores without using Qoo App.

Get Princess Closet on IOS Here: https://itunes.apple.com…

Get Princess Closet on Android Here: https://play.google.com…

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

Download

Description

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

◆Princess Closet will give you your Super Happy Ending for free

-A dating sim for girls where you can enjoy the love story without paying!

-Get the Super Happy Ending for free!

-Advance smoothly with no tedious missions!

-You can read 5 romance Stories every day for free!

-A game for girls who want to play otome games without spending any money!

Invited by a member of the popular fashion brand “Princess Closet,” you have been transformed into a “fashion model.”

Work together with the ultimate handsome boyfriend towards becoming a top model!

Your encounter with your dashing boyfriend… is the beginning of a romance that will change your life!

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

◆An extravagant cast of voice actors! Their voices will draw you deeper into this world

This romance game includes an extravagant cast of voices actors for the four handsome male leads.

You will be able to experience their sweet, charming voices as if they were right next to you!

With no real ambition in life, you luck out and manage to get a job at a large company.

Although not overwhelmingly dissatisfied, you are bored by the daily, unchanging routine work. And you find yourself wondering, “Am I okay with the way things are?”

Your only small relief from all of this is fashion.

That is, until the day that “Leo,” the up-and-coming fashion brand designer, suddenly appears in front of you.

At that moment, you never suspected that your encounter with him would change your life drastically…

“Fashion and romance will change my life.”

A dating sim game for girls who want to experience heart-throbbing romance, while enjoying fashion!

-If you love dating sims, otome games, games for girls, or romance games.

-If you are looking for romance novels, visual novels, online novels, light novels, romance comics, romance manga, or shoujo manga.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

-If you are looking for sweet, romantic dating sims or stimulating dating sims.

-If you are looking for visual novels with sweet romance storylines.

-If you are looking for free otome games you can enjoy without paying.

-If you are looking for a game where you can experience romance with princes, aristocrats, CEOs, or celebrities.

-If you like situations that include a cute childhood friend with an adorable accent.

-If you are looking for dating sims with great art and graphics.

-If you want to experience forbidden love at the office.

-If you want to be a princess and experience your own Cinderella story.

-If you are looking for marriage games where your handsome boyfriend or lover proposes to you.

-If you are looking for adult games with keywords such as contract, secret, seduction, and fate.

-If you respond to keywords such as fated love, adult visual novel, or forbidden love.

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim

-If you like popular dating sims for girls that are free.

-If you don’t mind dating sims that contain boys love.

-If you are looking for otome games where you are surrounded by handsome guys.

-If you want to find your perfect husband, boyfriend, or lover in the ultimate otome game.

-If you are looking for someone to marry who is handsome, a celebrity, an heir, prince, charismatic, or rich.

-If you like otome games as well as comics, manga, anime, or BL.

-If you have a husband, boyfriend, or lover, but you want to find someone who is more perfect for you.

-If you love romance dramas and are looking for romance apps.

-If it is your first time using a romance app and you want to find a romance app for girls that you can play for free.

-Free installation

-Uninstalling the app or clearing the cache will reset player data.

[…]

Princess Closet : Otome games free dating sim was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

BanG Dream Girls Band Party – English Release in Spring 2018

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.

More details can be found on the official website at https://bang-dream-gbp-en.bushiroad.com/

pastel palettes

pastel palettes

Not only are we getting the mobile game, but also English versions of the Weib Schwarz card decks:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The mobile game will be available in Spring 2018 on Android and IOS

Check out the English Release Trailer Below:

More information can be found in the English fan wikia based on the Japanese versions of the game at http://bandori.wikia.com/wiki/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.

afterglow

afterglow

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

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.

Roselia

Roselia

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! 🙂

Poppin Party

Poppin Party

BanG Dream Girls Band Party – English Release in Spring 2018 was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

VIZ Media Announces Takane & Hana Manga by Yuki Shiwasu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

OPPOSITES ATTRACT IN THE NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES TAKANE & HANA

 

New Romantic Comedy Series TAKANE & HANA Debuts in Print And Digital Editions This February

 

San Francisco, CA, January 24, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers a fun new romantic comedy with the release of TAKANE & HANA on February 6th.

The series, by creator Yuki Shiwasu, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Volume 1 carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. TAKANE & HANA also launches digitallyvia viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes of the series will be published in English by VIZ Media on a bi-monthly basis.

In TAKANE & HANA, after her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in in order to save face for the family. But when Takane and Hana pair up, get ready for some sparks to fly between these two utter opposites!

“TAKANA & HANA is a hilarious romantic comedy about two strong personalities falling for each other in spite of themselves,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “We look forward to readers discovering this new series from a fast-rising star in the shojo manga world.”

Creator Yuki Shiwasu began her manga career after winning the top prize in Hakusensha’s Athena Newcomers’ Award in Hana to Yume magazine. She was also the author of Furou Kyoudai (Immortal Siblings), which was published by Hakusensha in Japan.

For additional information on TAKANE & HANA and other manga series published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

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VIZ Media Announces Takane & Hana Manga by Yuki Shiwasu was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

UtaPri Utano Princesama Shining Live English Version Coming in Early 2018

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!

KLab Inc.

(TSE1: 3656)

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

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

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

ST☆RISH

Otoya Ittoki (Voice: Takuma Terashima)
Masato Hijirikawa (Voice: Kenichi Suzumura)
Natsuki Shinomiya (Voice: Kisho Taniyama)
Tokiya Ichinose (Voice: Mamoru Miyano)
Ren Jinguji (Voice: Junichi Suwabe)
Syo Kurusu (Voice: Hiro Shimono)
Cecil Aijima (Voice: Kohsuke Toriumi)
QUARTET NIGHT

Reiji Kotobuki (Voice: Showtaro Morikubo)
Ranmaru Kurosaki (Voice: Tatsuhisa Suzuki)
Ai Mikaze (Voice: Shouta Aoi)
Camus (Voice: Tomoaki Maeno)


 

Utano☆Princesama Shining Live Overview

Title:                                                      Utano☆Princesama Shining Live

Supported OSes:            Android™ 4.4+, iOS 9.0+

* Not available on some devices.

Genre:                                                  Rhythm game

Price:                                                    Free-to-play (In-app purchases available)

Supported Regions:                     Global (Excludes Japan)

Supported Languages:                 English and Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese (Mainland China)

Official Website:                                 https://www.utapri-shining-live.com/

Official Twitter Account:               @shininglive_en

Official Facebook Page:               https://www.facebook.com/ShiningLiveEN

Copyright:                                             ©SAOTOME GAKUEN © KLabGames


About BROCCOLI Co., Ltd.

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.

Official Website: http://www.broccoli.co.jp/ (Only available in Japanese)


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.

For further information, please contact:

Global PR Team@KLab Inc.

TEL: (+81) 3-5771-1326

EMAIL: info@klab.com

UtaPri Utano Princesama Shining Live English Version Coming in Early 2018 was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Please Save My Earth Anime and Manga Review

Today I’m reviewing a very old manga / anime which is often credited as being (one of) the first (widely successful) Shoujo manga. Its art and story influenced other mangaka like Naoko Takeuchi – In fact there are many similarities between Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon.

For example, both Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon deal with lovers who were reincarnated on another planet having lost memories of their past lives and fated to meet again and remember sometimes happy, sometimes painful and sad memories. Both manga also focus heavily especially on the Earth and the Moon. There’s super powers in each one, and tales of friendship, betrayal, trust, love, jealousy, greed, and bullying.

Please Save My Earth is quite a bit darker than Sailor Moon. It’s more violent, it deals with more adult themes, and pushes some boundaries in what is common for a young girl to be reading.

Both manga also have same sex relationships and other issues that most other comics – or any form of entertainment media – typically shy away from.

Please Save My Earth features a love triangle and a lot more drama and suspense around this relationship dynamic, in fact, the relationship becomes catalyst for some of the series’ action and fighting scenes later.

But at the heart of both manga, you find a love story that has survived even after the main characters’ deaths. The timeless love story with its themes of reincarnation and the endearing characters as well as action and drama make it easy to see why Please Save My Earth is one of the best selling and most influential comics for girls of all time. It sold over 15 million units in Japan alone. Not counting reprints and other editions in other languages.

The English manga is hard to find now as it is out of print. Copies pop up from time to time, but typically sell for over $50 per issue. With 21 issues, things can get expensive quickly. Luckily, thanks to the wonders of technology, there is a cheaper solution. You can get the kindle editions of each volume for around $6 a piece. Click here to see all of the kindle editions of Please Save My Earth Manga.

If you do want the physical editions of the paper back manga, Barnes and Nobles as of this writing currently has most of the volumes in stock for $9.99 each. Much cheaper than amazon. There are a few volumes which are out of stock; and there’s the fact that this manga has been out of print for 10+ years now. So if you’re interested in those out of stock issues you will have to turn to sites like Amazon or Ebay. Here is a link to purchase the paperback Please Save My Earth manga on Barnes and Nobles Website.

The only version of the anime I have ever seen has been horribly butchered and edited – at least I’m assuming it has been significantly altered – I haven’t seen the original source material. If you look closely at the credits of both the dub and the sub English anime versions, you will see it says “Based on the screenplay by so-and-so” Based on? That’s odd. Why wouldn’t it just say “Screenplay written by so and so” – This tells me a lot of liberties were taken with this release.

Even though I’m sure the original screenplay far exceeds any of the English versions, I have never seen it available anywhere online (such as fansubbed, or etc with a more faithful translation.) So all I can do is merely speculate at the existence of some far superior anime than that which I grew up watching as a kid. Despite all of that — It’s still one of my favorite anime of all time.

Sadly, the anime is only about half of the story. It covers the first few volumes of the manga, but there’s still much much more left to be discovered. The anime is good, but really, if you want to understand the whole story, and see it as it was meant to be told without all the editing, then just go read the manga.

This anime is SCREAMING to be remade – from the facts that:

  • It was horribly edited for an English Release (not that anime studios in Japan probably care about this)
  • It is old and no longer licensed nor easily available
  • It never told the whole story of the manga
  • It is one of the best selling shoujo manga of all time and a critical influence to many other famous shoujo series including Sailor Moon
  • It’s a tale as old as time – Star Crossed Reincarnated Lovers and the tragedy and highs and lows that this all entails
  • It has mass market appeal – there’s a ton of fighting and action – there’s also a ton of romance and drama
  • The original one had ugly artwork and I would like to see it with a cleaner animation style and more attractive character designs.
  • But those screams seem to fall onto deaf ears! Will we ever see a proper 26 episode full season anime adaption of one of the best shoujo manga of all time? (based on sales figures) – It seems that since it SOLD VERY WELL – there would be an AUDIENCE (of at LEAST 15 million fans) wanting to see a GOOD FAITHFUL anime adaptation – and something longer than 6 episodes and a pasted together OVA or 2.

Why has this not happened yet? lol. If I was in an animation studio somewhere… this would be on my radar.

I digress… let’s take a look at the score card below:

This review will kinda combine both the anime and manga into one review, without distinguishing between the two. Whether that is fair or not, I dunno, but they are both similar enough I figure that if one version appeals to you, the other will as well.


Title: Please Save My Earth

Anime Directed By: Kazuo Yamazaki

Anime Studio: Production I.G.

Based on the Manga Please Save My Earth By Saki Hiwatari

Anime Length: 6 episodes, 30 minutes each, plus 2 OVA which try to add events which happen before and after the anime some of which are from the manga, others of which are made up for the OVA.

Manga Length: 21 volumes

Genre: Shoujo , Mystery, Romance, Slice of Life, Scifi, Fantasy

Overall: 39/45 87% B+ Very Good Anime and Manga for Girls

Geeky: 5/5 – I think this manga is sufficiently dark and actiony enough that it will appeal to all geeks regardless of their gender. It has enough action to counter balance against the romance and relationship issues.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Every time I encounter this theme, of reincarnated lovers, I love it. The theme is just so touching and fascinating and makes for the perfect love story. Other similar anime and manga include Air, Big Fish and Begonia, Chinese Ghost Story, Sailor Moon, and Betrayal Knows My Name.

Story: 10/10 – Story in Please Save My Earth is full of mystery and suspense and many plot twists and changes. It also has a ton of romance and very sad moments. As things begin to unfold, the story gets more and more intriguing. The slice of life, super natural, and action, and romance all combine into one epic story about love, sacrifice, loss, and forgiveness.

Characters: 10/10 – The characters are very real feeling, with a lot of deep seated emotions. Each one is learning to struggle with their past life memories which have now resurfaced as they try to figure out how best to save the world. But as you can imagine, having two minds within one body can take its toll on each of them.

Artwork: 2/5 – This anime is ugly, I admit. And the manga isn’t much better, although as the manga progresses we do see the evolution of the artist’s skill and style which is rather fascinating.

Music: 5/5 – I really love the ending theme to the anime, and many of the background tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 – Typical 90s voice acting, not that great, but honestly not really that bad either. The original Japanese cast of course is fine.

Overall: 39/45 87% B+ Very Good Anime and Manga for Girls

Please Save My Earth Anime and Manga Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Heart of Crown Boardgame and PC Videogame Review

Update: 12/21/2017 – The developers of the PC version of Heart of Crown reached out to me via email and wanted to provide support for some of the issues I encountered, as well as to let me know about new features that are underway, such as full screen mode (currently in the beta client), and a tournament that will take place next year to celebrate the international release of Heart of Crown. They also wanted to let me know that there are (text based) chat rooms available on the Discord server (and I’ve adjusted the score for community based on that feedback). Overall, it is encouraging to see an active Dev team who seem to really care about improving the game and connecting with the community. 🙂 I hope they continue to work on polishing up the PC version of the game, but as I said already in my original review, yes the game has issues, but at the price point of $19.99 (at time of this review) it’s a great game and still a lot of fun, and a worthy purchase.


Original Review Below:


I recently picked up both the board game and steam versions of Heart of Crown, a kawaii anime deck building card game. I love the artwork and the theme of the game (multiple princesses vying for the throne). It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite anime (RE:Zero) so I was instantly drawn to this board game when I attended the Pittsburgh Steel City Comic Con 2 weeks ago. (although I actually purchased this one from the large game store, Mr. Nice Guy Games, at the mall nearby the convention center). And then a few days after that, the PC game released on steam, so imagine my excitement having only just heard of Heart of Crown days prior and being hyped by my new kawaii gaming find. As you will learn in this review, I am happy with both purchases, but each has it’s own unique pros and cons. Find out which version of Heart of Crown is right for you in the reviews below.

Gameplay Explanation:

The gameplay is simple, although it can be confusing at first, and both the manual included in the boardgame, as well as the hidden and horribly confusing tutorial in the PC game, make this gameplay seem much more complex than it actually is.

I will try to briefly describe the gameplay, please bear in mind my experience with this title is still limited to just a handful of play sessions.

To understand the gameplay we must first understand the different card types. Largely these consist of one of the following:

Princess Cards – these cards are available for purchase once you reach 16 points. There are 6 different Princesses in the base game (maybe more in various expansions). Each princess has unique abilities, some passive (always in effect) and some that you can activate during your turn. These abilities may give you advantages such as viewing your draw pile, drawing extra cards, forcing opponents to discard a card, or so on.

The objective of the game is to choose a princess whose ability matches your play style and then “back her” by acquiring points to put her on the throne. I’m not in front of either version of the game at the moment, but I believe the amount needed to back a princess is 21. (might be 20 or 25, somewhere in that range).

When this happens, a “coronation ceremony” will occur. At this time, any other players take one final turn, and if able to do so, may also back and crown a princess. If no other players can put a princess on the throne, you win. However, if another player also gets enough points to back and crown a princess the game enters sudden death where the first player to reach 30 points wins.

But how do you get points you ask? That’s where the other cards come in handy.

Territory Cards: these cards grant you coins (think of it as taxing your people for living in your lands). Coins are used to purchase items from the common shared area known as the market place. Note that cards obtained from the market place go to your discard pile. This is rather quirky and different from most other games I’ve played where they would automatically go to your hand or your draw pile. When you reach the end of your draw pile, your discard pile gets shuffled and becomes your new draw pile, allowing you to finally use the cards you have purchased. Coins may also be spent to activate abilities on some cards.

Action cards – these cards have abilities that affect you or other players such as declaring war to lower their points, or forcing them to discard a card, or allowing you to draw more cards, or take a card from the market place.

Character Cards – these cards all feature a different character, such as a duke, maid, etc. who will grant or sometimes subtract from your total points value. After you have backed a princess, you can play these character cards by placing them under your princess card.

There are also 2 special mechanics in this game.

Keeping Cards: 1 is the ability to “keep” up to 3 cards in your hand by placing them over your kingdom cards (territory cards that were used to back your princess) you cannot keep a card greater than the point value of the territory cards holding it. But by keeping a card, it allows you to use that card on a later turn instead of automatically discarding it at the end of your turn when you would normally discard all of your cards.

Chain Cards: The other interesting fact is that you can chain cards together, some cards have a yellow arrow. This means you can play another card. This is most commonly seen on territory cards.

Putting it all Together:

So the basics of gameplay go like this, draw your cards, play territory cards to get coins, then choose cards from the market place that go to your discard pile. As you run out of cards in your draw pile, the discard pile gets shuffled and turned into the new draw pile, and you may get lucky and draw the cards you purchased from market. Once you reach 16 points, choose a princess to back by carefully considering her special abilities. Continue to play territory cards and purchase more cards from the market – you’re likely going to be looking for cards to increase your point total. Be the first person to reach enough points to crown your princess. Other players may challenge you, so be ready to be the first player to reach 30 points and win the game, or win automatically if no one else can crown their princess after one more turn.


 

Score Card:

Board Game Version

Overall Score: 52/80 65% “D” “Average Game for Girls”

Geeky: 1/5 – the anime theme and cute girls are the only “geeky” thing here. There is little to no strategy involved with this game, no customization, no legacy, no story, no complexity, no hidden things to explore, etc. Just a straightforward, simple, cute family friendly game with great artwork.

Sweetie: 5/5 – And that great artwork is enough to score it a 5/5 on the sweetie meter. Combine that with the theme of the game, a game about princesses, and you have one of the cutest games ever.

Breakdown:

Value for What’s Included: 7/10 – You get a lot of cards, with gorgeous high quality art work, a beautiful box to store the game in, and a lengthy detailed full color glossy manual. However, that manual can be confusing and overwhelming to new players. There is no play mat, card sleeves, tokens, figures, or other goodies, but I still think overall, I feel satisfied with what was included at the $40 price point. Note there are expansions you can buy that add new cards and new features as well.

Initial Learning Curve: 5/10 – setting up the first time and learning what to do can be frustrating. But once you jump into your first game, it really isn’t so bad. Therefore, the learning curve difficulty is somewhere in the middle. It may turn off some casual gamers, but is still simple and friendly enough for family game night or to introduce to your non-gamer friends.

Gameplay: 7/10 – it’s simple, short and sweet. Most games take under 20 minutes to complete. There is a nice variety of cards, from abilities, to characters, and plenty of opportunity to interact with other players. However, the game length is quite short and there’s not much complex or exciting / enticing to help enhance replay value. I think this game will be fun once or twice a month, but don’t see it being a “weekly game board night” staple, when other games offer greater replay incentives and more for even the most seasoned and veteran gamers to discover on multiple playthroughs. Still, if you have young kids, or a significant other who is obsessed with “the kawaii life” they will love this cute little anime game. I bought it simply because I love how cute it is, and I’m not disappointed!

Artwork: 10/10 – I love the artwork, for me it really sold me on this game – Picked it up in a board game store I had never visited before, and had not heard of the game, and bought it simply because of the cute anime girls lol.

Interaction With Other Players: 4/10 – I feel like this is solidly in the middle somewhere. There are plenty of action cards and abilities to play against your friends. But it’s not as social as let’s say cards against humanity nor as encouraging of attacks and alliances as say Munchkin,

Fun: 7/10 – It’s short and sweet, it’s cute, it can be confusing, but as soon as you play the first few games it becomes (almost too) simple. I mean let’s take it for what it is, it’s not a legacy game that is meant to be played in multiple sessions like gloomhaven. It’s not a strategy game like catan, it’s just a simple cute card game with anime graphics and a cute concept.

Replay Value: 6/10 – Will I play this again? Absolutely. Does it change, or evolve, offer strategy,  customization, different classes, things that can make each replay different, unique and exciting? Nope. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to replay it. The artwork is cute, and the small minimum time investment is a big plus. Easy to squeeze a game in here or there whenever the chance arises.

Overall Score: 52/80 65% “D” “Average Game for Girls”


Score Card:

PC Game Version:

Overall: 75/100 75% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Geeky: 1/5 – In my two hours thus far with the game I have encountered bugs, bugs, and more bugs. Well not bugs per say, more like “What were they thinking?” Poorly designed User Interface, Hidden Tutorials, lack of Fullscreen mode, and many more “WTF” moments that reek of bad design and development decisions.

Sweetie: 5/5 – It’s still cute though and sure to appeal to all fans of anime or kawaii lifestyle culture!

Story: 6/10 The PC version adds some story segments that you can unlock. They are somewhat misleading in calling this a campaign mode as there is no interactivity, it’s more like comics that you can view. It has absolutely no other effect on gameplay. Story is there, and it’s a nice bonus. But a lot more could have been done here.

Characters: 8/10 – The princesses, as always are very cute, and the campaign story mode helps endear the characters to us more.

Gameplay: 7/10 I can’t for the life of me get multiplayer to work. When I purchase a game, I expect it to “just work” – not to have to sit there messing with my firewall and computer settings. I’m not the only one with this issue as you can see on the support forums. And due to the type of game (kawaii) the target audience (children and young adult females) is not tech savvy enough to have to be expected to deal with this. I get errors about open ports, turning things off/on, trying their recommended settings, changing the settings, nothing works.

So although this is a multiplayer game, I’m only able to play it against NPCs. If I were able to get multiplayer to work, there are ranked matches and ongoing leader boards and other awesome features, and of course the benefit of being able to play Heart of Crown if you don’t have anyone to play with in real life.

Without multiplayer working, the gameplay takes a huge hit in my opinion. However, it did teach me how to play the boardgame. And it wasn’t by way the terrible tutorial that I learned this with. The game hides the tutorial from you, it doesn’t make it obvious. In your first play through that thing should pop up and introduce you to the game, and pop up at each step. But apparently their programmers couldn’t even figure this out – also couldn’t figure out how to program it so multiplayer works out of the box (I have over 600 steam games, and this is the only game I have trouble trying to create or join a room in multiplayer).

Anyways I digress, back to that hidden horrible tutorial, no they couldn’t have it auto guide you through (with an option to exit it of course) – no they expect you to just know to click the “help” icon. And you have to remember then to keep clicking the help icon after you complete each step. It’s terrible for new players. The learning curve and directions are 10,000 times worse in the video game than they are in the actual card game.

Once you figure out WTF you are doing, it’s fine. The game rounds go by speedy and snappy. The artificial intelligence AI is no where NEAR challenging – I’ve read other reviews on steam that they can’t beat the computers, and I’ve just thought to myself, WTF is wrong with you. I beat them every time, as someone who is a complete newb to this game. – FYI my first time playing Heart of Crown was actually with the video game as I had not yet gotten to play the board game I had purchased. So no, it’s not just because I had exposure/experience to the game before. — Of course, granted, maybe these reviewers, don’t know / didn’t see the hidden tutorial, because without that, it really is impossible to know WTF to do. As horrible and terrible as that tutorial was, it was in fact useful. It just needs to be implemented and integrated in a much more obvious, in your face, way to help you your first time.

Anyways, once you figure everything out, gameplay is exactly the same as the physical board game, so bonus points there for maintaining the look and feel of the original card game now in a digital, supposedly online multiplayer, format with rankings and a leader board, and music and some semblence of a story – those are all good / nice things, just the way it’s presented is absolute trash and terrible from a new user experience.

Learning Curve: 1/10 – too hard, see comments above about how the user interface and tutorial need some SERIOUS work in future patch updates hopefully.

Artwork: 7/10 – I want to give this a 10/10 I really do – but once again, it’s so poorly presented. There is no full screen mode – or if there is, like everything else in this damn game it’s hidden somewhere and not obvious how to enter full screen. So they have you select different resolutions, but they all look pretty bad honestly, at least the ones that fit my screen nicely. You can rightclick hold over a card to enlarge it to read it and see it clearly but it still doesn’t look as crisp and clean as the actual boardgame artwork. — It is however still very cute and kawaii so gotta give it some points there.

Music: 10/10 – the music is good. I don’t think it’s 10 out of 10 good, but I’m trying to pad my review a bit to more accurately reflect that I do actually enjoy this game.

Interaction With Other Players: 10/10 – no chat room (built into the game), they do have optional discord servers set up. EDIT: Devs reached out to tell me there are (text based) chat options available in the discord servers, and the Devs are in the server too and offer support as well as interact with the community which is a big plus. I do have Discord on my PC (but typically only play on it with a handful of friends), but hearing that the Devs are active on their own servers makes me want to check it out. The impression I get is that the small Dev team seem to really care about this game and listen to feedback and provide support which has changed my mind significantly about the community within the game. And I’m excited about the tournament features and leader boards and ranking. It really enhances this game and makes it competitive and exciting and enhances replay value too – Especially if we can win rare cards or something from this upcoming tournament. 🙂

I’m shy though and don’t like to use voice chat that much with strangers. Anime fans are typically introverts like myself, so it seems like lack of a chat room is a bit of a draw backI’ve also seen others complaining about this in the forums. – See Edit Above.

Then again, I can’t even get multiplayer to work at all period, so for me this is like a 0 out of 10 honestly, but I’m giving it the benefit of a doubt. This part still holds true although the Devs seem to want to help me get it working and to be fair I hadn’t tried using the support system before coming on my blog here and complaining lol. Although I did take a look at the support forums and other people having the issue and trying to trouble shoot based on feedback they were given which didn’t seem to work for me, and I saw other people had refunded the game via steam due to multiplayer issues, so to me this still seems like maybe a poorly designed function. Other “room” based games like Terraria and 100% Orange Juice that use seemingly similar multiplayer features just work right out of the box. I would expect the same from Heart of Crown, or any game I purchase.

Fun: 10/10 – I’m still giving this a 10/10 despite the numerous flaws. I paid $19.99 and I feel extremely satisfied with that purchase, even just playing it against the not very smart NPCs that I easily trounce.

Replay Value: 10/10 – I played my first day with this game over 2 hours. Will play again. If I get multiplayer to work, I’d play every day of my life. Just like the card game, this one does not offer much incentive to make you want to replay it, except it does have rankings and leader boards. There is potential here for a smart dev (they have not shown themselves to be too smart thus far however) to add additional gameplay elements like tournaments, rare cards for rewards for high rank, and so on.

EDIT: Actually the Devs seem really nice and seem to really care about the game, and have told me there will be just such a tournament taking place next year 🙂

It is a new game, just released less than 2 weeks ago, so I’m hoping the devs address some of the massive issues plaguing the PC version of this game right now – but even if they don’t I’ll still play it and enjoy it, bugs and all. The fact it is a PC game, and on a platform like steam, increases my likelihood to play this, because no downtime to set up the play area, and the fact I only have people to play the physical game with on weekends, this means if I want to play more Heart of Crown through the week, the PC version is my go-to. I sincerely hope the devs fix things up and that the community for this game grows. I love Heart of Crown despite my somewhat harsh review. But it has issues that people should be aware of before parting with their money or sitting down to play.

Heart of Crown Boardgame and PC Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Idol Master Million Live Theater Days Japanese Rhythm Game Review

Title: Idol Master Million Live Theater Days

Genre: Rhythm Game with Visual Novel elements

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Release Date: June 28, 2017

Where to Get: See Below:

Itunes (Japan Only): https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/…

Google Play Store (May also be Japan Only – not Sure) https://play.google.com/…

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! 🙁

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Overall: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Overview: 10/10 – I have a new obsession, as anyone who follows me on Instagram may have noticed this past weekend. Idol Master Million Live Theater Days may just be my new favorite mobile game of all time. It takes what I enjoy about Love Live, Aikatsu Photo on Stage, and Idol Master Cinderella Girls and smooshes them all together.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Geeky: 5/5 – Mind Blowing Graphics. Best Graphics ever for a mobile game. So lifelike. It’s like anime has become a reality. Also excellent voice acting and music tracks.

Sweetie 5/5 – Adorable – collect and dressup cute anime girls and watch them sing and dance on screen.

Overall: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

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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.

Idol Master Million Live Theater Days Japanese Rhythm Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News