So yeah, another new game arrived on the second quarter of 2021, but it's not just any game that I heard. It's a series that I've been following for some time now. Yeah, I'm talking about the idol series IDOLY PRIDE.
From the announcement, it is said that the game is an idol management RPG. The genre alone makes me quite interested in how the game with play, especially since I played a management game in the past. For that reason, I decided to try out playing the game.
What is "idol"?
IDOLY PRIDE's game premise is a similar one to other management-type games: you're a manager in charge of several idols. I haven't watched the anime, so I don't actually know if the game's timeline is post-anime or not, I cannot read that fluently anyway, so let's dive right into the game.
When I opened the game for the first, I was of course greeted with the title screen. What strikes me, however, is the design that they implemented for the game. It feels very professional, and I almost thought that this game is made with Flutter or something.
The first-step experience (pun intended) reminds me a lot of... science-fiction, for some reason. Especially the name input screen, that is straight out of a spaceship. The tutorial experience basically guides you through the essentials of the game, which I will cover later in this review as we go.
The home screen is the gateway to the main progression mode in this game: Lives. This screen also brings you to miscellaneous stuff like events, missions, and shop.
There is an idle resource-gathering mechanism that gives you a certain amount of coins and lesson pieces per minute up to a maximum of around 12 hours stored resources. The fact that this even exists is a pretty large sign on how the gameplay and daily flow will look like.
The main progression method of the game, the Live, is pretty much a set of levels that requires a certain score to pass. Yep, that's the main progression. However, when you progress your way, more modes will be unlockable, including daily stages, a high-score mode, a tower/dungeon mode, and of course, PvP.
The stages are the live venues, with each venue having several songs with each song having their own passing score.
The unit setup is pretty weird, for reasons that will soon be clear when we see the gameplay. The unit members must be positioned according to the song's lane setup. Why there's a lane setup? Well, let's find out...
When you see the main gameplay, the reason is now clear: the game is a fully automated pseudo-rhythm game. You don't have to press the notes; just enjoy the performance from your idol formation! You can also rotate the screen to just see the performance, and hide the rhythm game-esque gameplay happening.
How the idle section works, from my short experience with it (I ended up just doing auto everytme) is that in the chart, there are several notes that makes your idols activate their skills. I won't really dive deep into the mechanic here, I don't really understand the detailed mechanics either.
The training menu allows you to level up your idols and organize photos and accessories. There are also functionalities to "level assist" and take all the levels from an idol.
The unit arrangement interface does what it says, it allows you to arrange your units. You can see the individual stats of each idol, the skills they have, their current costume, and their auxiliary equipments: accessories and photos. However, arranging them when preparing for lives is probably the better timing for it, since you can see directly what kind of notes your idols will encounter.
The level up method is simple, one button to level up, and it costs lesson pieces to level up an idol, with costs relative to the remaining XP required. You can also upgrade your idol skills in the same screen.
The gacha display is pretty nice to see. One roll costs 300 diamonds, and a 10-roll costs 2700 diamonds (the cost of 9 rolls). The dupe system is a bit similar in principle to games utilizing the fragment system. However, in this case, it's more akin to a level-up system, with the rarity automatically increases when an idol's points reached a certain threshold.
The gacha interface is actually quite interesting, with all the modern-style cinematic.
The idols menu is the place to read stories, set costumes, interact with the idols you manage, and... taking pictures? Yes, IDOLY PRIDE has a photo function!
I don't have a screenshot for the story mode, but it is as with other games: it allows you to read the story. Interestingly, the story is in video mode! I have seen tutorials in video form, like in a past game I reviewed, but not stories in video form, so this is interesting.
The photo function allows you to take pictures of your idols, in either lives or work. For lives. you will need to choose five idols, while for work, you will need to choose three. For lives, the selection of venues and songs depend on your main story progression, while for work, the selection of work type depends on your Manager Level.
The interface for taking a picture in Photo mode resembles a camera (duh, it's an in-game camera). For lives, the controls only consist of zooming in and out, while for work, the controls are much more flexible, allowing you to move, zoom in and out, and even adjust the camera's aperture. It also has a gyroscope mode for a more realistic photo-taking experience.
You have 10 chances to take a picture, and at the end of the run, you will choose one photo you want to keep. Taking photos costs resources (a photo roll) since the resulting photo is actually kept as equipment that have its own stat boost.
You can chat with your idols through the message interface. Idols will occasionally chat you about various topics.
Understandably, you cannot just send any arbitrary text. The message function is akin to a second story mode, a window into the lives of the idols. The interesting thing is that the chats actually have continuity each day! I witnessed Kotono chatting me about the previous day's topic, and I am pleasantly surprised. Only nitpick is that the date is only shown once (at the top), making it hard to distinguish between days.
Occasionally, the idols may even ask for a phone call. They fortunately don't do it unsolicited, they are polite, so they ask if it's okay. I am even worse on listening than reading Japanese language, so please do hear their phone calls for yourselves.
The final feature I'm sharing in this post is the work feature. You can put your idols in various lines of idol-related work. There are three types that you can do: promotions, fan events, and refreshments.
Promotions increase your idols' fan count, which is a boost factor in lives. Promotions are also able to reward you with coins and lesson pieces, both important resources. For promotions, you are able to speed it up with skip watches, each watch speeding promotions up by 2 hours.
Fan events increases your "core fans", which is also a boost factor in lives. For fan events, you can boost them with fever drinks, which increases scores instead.
Promotions and fan events drains stamina for your idols, and while they regenerate naturally, there is a way to speed it up: refreshes. They restore stamina quicker than natural, but costs coins. I usually keep all three work type running.
One very interesting aspect of the game is that it rewards you diamonds monthly through the "salary" system. Bonus points for realism here, I guess. Salary depends on various factors, like login times, the levels of your idols, etc.
Nice, chill management
I've played IDOLY PRIDE for weeks by now, and I have a daily routine to settle with. The progression system is a bit lacking, and there are limits to basically everything, either per-day run limits or level limits. Most of the time, you will have to wait, patiently. IDOLY PRIDE's progression is a bit slow, and I don't actually open the game that much, usually only twice per day at most.
In conclusion, IDOLY PRIDE is the go-to side game when you are starting in the morning or late night when you are finished with just about everything that day.