Oh look, Conor’s reviewing another visual novel. Wait, it’s a rhythm game that uses minute long VN sequences for story but you barely see that? ON MOBILE! Now I’m not exactly sure how I ended up playing Love Live! (going to call it that as that’s the name of every product WW except this game outside of Japan) as I haven’t read the manga, or seen the anime (seen a bunch of GIFs and this video clip though). However I got into it doesn’t really matter, just know I’m not normally a rhythm game fan, nor do I play many mobile games (and when I do I DL one that doesn’t require internet so I have something to do somewhere I know I won’t have WiFi access) but this game managed to keep my interest long enough (and I doubt it was the short VN segments but I’ll get into those later) so let’s get into the review!
Keep in mind: I have (EN Game) in the title as from what I’ve read there’s changes between the level up system or something as well as events run on different times (due to the game releasing far later) from the Japanese version.
There’s actually quite a few sections in Love Live!. The one you’ll probably be spending the most time in is Live Performance. Live Performance is the rhythm portion which you bring a team of idols (I’ll go into this later) that best fits that song and have to tap the face icons as circles pass over them with good timing. If you’re too early or late or you miss, you’ll lose stamina and if you lose all your stamina you’ll have to drop without getting any rewards and wasting the LP it cost to get in, or you can spend 1 love gem (micro-transaction, you get quite a few free if you play a lot though) to continue pretty much where you were with your combo being broken (obviously) and missing on some points as the circles were cleared and when you start back up it takes a few seconds once the song starts again for them to appear. For the standard songs you have 3 difficulties (Easy, Normal, Hard) and I’m pretty bad at rhythm games and able to do pretty well in normal and pass most of the hard songs so I’d say the game is pretty forgiving. Each song also has 3 ranks. Your score, Your combo and the amount of times you’ve played. How do you have an easier time? Make good teams.
As you progress you’ll notice each idol has a colour of Red, Green or Blue, these represent “Smile”, “Pure” and “Cool” and the songs are also given a colour. If you have a team full of Smile and you play a Smile song you’ll do better than if you play a Cool song. They don’t make it any easier you just get a higher score than would be possible without them. After each song your team will get a set amount of bond points. Earlier I referred to members as “idols”, this is only partially true as they don’t actually start as idols. I believe they’re normal schoolgirls part of an idol club and to get them to be an idol you need to of their card. In the case of the main characters that have multiple cards of different poses they have to be the exact same version. This is a little hard for rare cards but I have somehow managed to get a couple.
The other mode is Story Mode. In this mode you follow the main girls in a visual novel style format. Each chapter is incredibly short, from what I played never going over 2 minutes (yes I didn’t finish for review, I doubt it matters for this game and one of my major negatives are why) and mostly used to deliver some jokes with a basic story going on in the background. There is an anime and manga so if you want story those are probably better places to look. If you idolize a character and max their bond points you also get a special character side-story. So far I’ve only managed to get this with normal members (not main characters) and they just say a couple lines (I think less than 10) before they end.
One last thing is how the micro-transactions work. You buy Love Gems which you can use to restore your LP (also restores automatically over time), guarantee scouting a rare member and allowing you to continue a song if you run out of stamina. You get given Love Gems every few days and also 1 from completing a character’s side-story so I never found it an issue or found myself even tempted to buy any.
My biggest complaint is actually with the story. Most mobile games have something that stops you from playing but if you pay you can skip waiting. This game even has that in the Live Performance mode but story mode has these road blocks too, with no way to skip. Currently I’m trying to get to rank 25 I believe I started at 20. The level before that I think it was 17 to 20. I’m not sure why they do this as it doesn’t make me want to play the songs a ton and spend money to quickly get more chances, it makes me hate the songs I have unlocked (we’ll get into in Sound) and often not even run out my LP counter before I turn off for the day.
The graphics all look nice. Aside from the pictures of the girls they’re all pretty basic though. The tablet I played this on isn’t the strongest yet I still experienced 0 lag no matter how many circles were on the screen so that’s good. The menu has the leader of your main party which is cool.
The songs are all pretty good as is the background music for menus (which is an instrumental of one of the songs anyway) but as I said in gameplay, having to play the same songs over and over (especially if you want to grind a specific person’s bond points) get really boring. Luckily there are downloadable songs that last a couple days but these tend to be harder (I have trouble with most on normal) but they add a welcome change of pace. I do wish you could keep them just not redownload though.