A new rhythm game was released involving the idol group 22/7. Interweaving the virtual and the real, the group now appears in game form.
Blurring the virtual and the reality
22/7's concept as a group is something of a theme during late in this decade, virtual reality. Described as "idols who transcend dimensions", the group consists of idols who simultaneous voices characters and provides motion capture. The idols are both in the reality and in the virtual as the characters.
Naturally, 22/7 got their music game. Music games based on idols are not uncommon, and I have reviewed games based on real idols. Virtual characters fit a bit better to a music game platform, however, and 22/7 Ongaku no Jikan has the characters here.
The title screen is a bit plain, however the background is a bit interesting to me.
When first opening the game, you will be traversing the tutorial first. The tutorial showcases the basic gameplay of 22/7 Ongaku no Jikan. You will be asked to input your name, try out the music gameplay, and of course for an idol game, choosing your favorite character.
The home screen's layout is similar to another game I'm also familiar with, with tappable characters and explorable areas. If you're familiar with the other game, you'll feel at home with this one too.
The story menu is where you read all the stories in the game. It consists of main stories, character stories, card stories, and event stories. I can't read Japanese that well, so I can't say about the story itself, but according to what I heard, it has some clichés, but that's fine.
Again, the story interface is familiar.
The gacha menu, is well, gacha. The interface is also familiar, and this epithet of familiarity will be repeated again and again, because it's interface is just so similar to a certain other rhythm game. Despite that, it still has different features, so read on.
The member menu is where you manage your members. You can form member decks, practice, awaken cards, skill lesson, see your card list and the Nananiji Yell, and also choose costumes.
The deck formation screen is where you can set the formation for your lives. Like most other idol rhythm games I play, I use an attribute based composition, with one team per attribute.
The Nananiji Yell is a calculation that takes account all members of 22/7 you have, so you will need to level all the members you have. This is something that I has encountered with at least two games based on real idols (one of which I reviewed in this blog).
The lesson system for leveling your members uses tickets. Sounds familiar? Welcome to yet another familiar system from a certain other rhythm game!
Awakening cards require items that needs to be obtained, looks like. I haven't tested it, actually.
Skills on members can be leveled up using items.
You can choose the 2D and 3D costumes used by your members. The 2D and 3D costumes roughly correspond to each other. A game that utilizes both Live2D and 3D is certainly very interesting.
The game can also rotate to provide a view that allows you to manipulate the camera to see all angles of the 3D costume.
Each member has their own experience gauges, and their own stories and talks.
There are three types of lives in the game, Solo, Event, and Multi Live. I haven't actually tried Multi Live, since I rarely play multiplayer for rhythm games.
The song selection interface is a vertical list, with 4 chart difficulties. There are 3 modes available, 2D mode, 3D mode, and MV mode, although not all modes are available on each song. Shampoo no Nioi ga Shita, for example, does not have 3D mode.
Before playing the song for real, you can rearrange your deck formation for one last time. I'm actually not sure whether the team attribute bonuses are affected by song choice.
Before starting a song, you can adjust the speed of the notes. This is highly dependent on what you're used to. If you're just starting out, start small. Then, when the notes become too dense for you to read, take it up a little, until you find a comfortable speed to play on.
The default interface for the game is... a bit of a turn off for me, who plays a lot of rhythm games. The default combo placement is directly above the lane, which messes up with how I read the notes. There is also an issue with how flick notes are handled in the game, with complaints that the judgement line is way too tight.
On 3D mode, the default is to hide the lanes entirely. While this is a logical decision since you want to see the members on stage, for me, a rhythm game player that is so used to visible lanes, having invisible lanes like this is like playing Lachryma《Re:Queen’M》 with it's disappearing lanes gimmick. It makes things a bit harder, since without lanes, notes will appear a tad faster.
The results screen is pretty standard for an idol rhythm game. However, you will be greeted by an illustration if you managed to score all PERFECT (I haven't got it yet, since my offset is not correctly calibrated yet)
Tired of the uncomfortable lane defaults? Fortunately, it's configurable in its option menu. You can set where the combo counter is located, note size, and mirror the chart.
Remember to also calibrate your offsets, since it's important in all rhythm games!
Similar but not similar
The reason I always mentioned the familiarity of the interface, is because the game is just so similar to another popular rhythm game, BanG Dream Girls Band Party. From the map, the live modes, and the member decks. If you're familiar with Bandori, the learning curve for this game would be smoother.
The gameplay is solid, with the 5 lanes design. However, the defaults are kinda off-putting to my rhythm game preferences, although those can be changed. There are also some initial problems with judgement (the flick notes), and initial problems with the Multi Live (that I haven't tested, since I don't play multiplayer that much).
22/7 Ongaku no Jikan is an interesting game, especially with the combination of Live2D and 3D models. If you like 22/7, you'll love the fact that your favorite members are here. However, for now it's a bit unstable, so you might need to wait for a while until the game has stabilized a bit.
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