After teasing us with the Rehearsal Edit, the date is September 30. Project SEKAI COLORFUL STAGE! is now released for the world to enjoy! I have previously checked out the Rehearsal Edit, and was quite impressed by the gameplay, and with the release of the full game, we can get to know the other aspects of the game.
A mobile game for the Virtual Singers
Project SEKAI features the well-known Virtual Singers from Crypton Future Media, alongside other characters created for the game. The game is developed by CraftEgg, specifically the subsidiary Colorful Palette, and published by SEGA.
The title screen of the game is pretty much the same at it as in Rehearsal Edit.
When you first start playing the game, you will be greeted by Hatsune Miku herself, serving as an introductory story.
The tutorial for the basic rhythm game mechanics is also placed here, introducing the note types in the game.
After the rhythm game mechanics tutorial, you will choose an initial starting unit. Hoever, Project SEKAI's approach is a bit different, akin to a personality test of some sort. You'll still be able to change the unit after taking this, however.
After choosing your initial starting unit, you will be greeted with the unit's introduction story. You can access the other units' stories on the Story menu later, but for Night Code's introduction story, the only words I can say, is "Oh no."
Project SEKAI's initial tutorial section is quite short, and aside from a simple tour of the interface, you're ready to go. Other tutorials will come up as you explore the game interface, which is nice.
If you're familiar with other CraftEgg games, the home screen will look a bit familiar. There are several areas in a map, and each area can have characters in it. You can tap on characters in the screen is see a little dialogue and get rewards, which for Project SEKAI, has small amounts of the gacha currency as the rewards, which is interesting.
The map is primarily divided into two sections, the real world section and the Sekai section. The real world sections has buildings, while the Sekai section has environments corresponding to the available units.
In some areas, there are shops that offer various types of content, like songs, alternative vocal versions of songs, costume, and stamps.
The gacha currency in Project SEKAI is crystals, and a 10-roll costs 3000 of them. The initial pool of cards are *2 and *3 cards, with the first *4 cards coming with the first banner in the game. The gacha interface itself is similar to other CraftEgg-developed gacha games I know.
The member menu is where you can manage the character cards you got. There are four main menus, unit customization, training, live costume, and Character Rank.
The unit formation screen allows you to edit the formation of the units you have. I use an attribute based-composition for my units, with a unit that has instead a unit-based composition.
For lessons, you have your usual leveling lessons, special training, master training, and skill training. This menu allows you to level up your characters to be able to obtain more score.
The costume menu allows you to set the costumes of your characters, and see the costumes you have right now.
The Character Rank screen is where you can check the rank of each character in this game. By completing missions for that character, you can increase your Character Rank and obtain bonuses.
In the Live menu, you can access the rhythm game and virtual live aspects of Project SEKAI. The rhythm game aspect divided into three modes, Solo Live, Multi Live and Challenge Live modes. You can also see the MV of songs here.
In Solo Live, you play the songs directly, and each song has 5 difficulty levels, EASY, NORMAl, HARD, EXPERT, and MASTER. Project SEKAI has a significant difficulty ceiling, with the peak being The End of Hatsune Miku clocking in at Level 33 on MASTER. You can filter by unit, and sort by numerous sort settings.
After selecting your song, you can customize your unit, settings, and choose whether you'll play with a 3DMV. The settings themselves are similar to BanG Dream, but I found myself able to keep my offset at 0, because of how smooth it is.
The rhythm gameplay resembles CHUNITHM, with tap notes, hold notes, and flick notes. I covered the rhythm aspect in my impression of the Rehearsal Edit version, but in short, it's a very solid VSRG gameplay, with a bonus of beautifully designed charts. Especially on the higher levels, the charts of this game sometimes look like art, while being very fun to play too. It's also very smooth, and the frame skips are still smooth even when you're playing in 3DMV mode. Oh, and it doesn't hide the lanes when you're playing in 3DMV. This is probably one of the better rhythm games I've ever seen. Good job, SEGA.
The Multi Live system of Project Sekai is similar to other CraftEgg games like BanG Dream! Girls Band Party. You get matched with 4 other players, each of you pick a song, and a roulette will decide which song you will play.
After selecting your song, you can set your difficulty, settings, and the option of playing with 3DMV. After that, you're set!
The Multi Live system is what you'll find on BanG Dream, and indeed, Project SEKAI has early problems with Multi Live. They are fortunately fixed and now Multi Live is pretty smooth.
Challenge Lives are a bit interesting, because when you do a Challenge Live, you can only use cards of a specific character. Completing stages of Challenge Live (by scoring high) will help towards the progress of your Character Rank.
The Virtual Live is one of, if not the most intriguing aspect of the game. It allows you to watch lives that are held by the characters themselves. They are also held at specific times, just like real lives. Seeing this replicated aspect of lives in the virtual world is certainly very interesting.
You can either enter public rooms (by tapping the live banner), or create and join private rooms. After joining a room, you will then enter the waiting room for the live. You will have an avatar that represents yourself on the waiting room, and you can do various interactions, such as chatting, doing moves, and sending stamps. In the first feature update of the game, they even added a ball. Very cute of them.
You can check out the profiles of other people in the waiting room. Interestingly, the profile screen includes a Twitter username section (I'm on Twitter at @Damillora, by the way!).
Additional costumes, accesories, penlight models, and actions for your avatar can be purchased on the Virtual Shop available in the virtual live waiting room.
15 minutes before the Virtual Live starts, you will be able to enter the venue, where you can do your previously defined actions, and send stamps. You can also change your penlight color in the venue itself, for example, to adjust to situations during the live.
When the live starts, enjoy the performance of your favorite characters on stage! You can also throw items to the stage, which are purchasable.
A Promising Future
When I got to try out the Rehearsal Edit, I was blown away by how smooth the rhythm game aspect is, and how the Virtual Live is interesting, especially with respect to situation of the world. With the full release, I can confirm, those two strong points still holds very nicely on the actual game. At this point, the other aspects of the game are really just cherry on top of the awesome basic gameplay.
The other aspects of the game are pretty much what I expected with CraftEgg-developed games, like BanG Dream. This is not really a bad thing, since that means I can use some of my BanG Dream knowledge for the other aspects for this game, not that I play the game for those other aspects.
What I like about Project SEKAI is the fact that it is able to accomodate different types of players. First, those who play casually and just want to watch their favorite characters perform. Then, those who are competitive for events, the BanG Dream kind of events, and want to rank as high as possible on those events. Finally, those who are competitive for accuracy, the kind who wants to get an ALL PERFECT. There is even a Project SEKAI tournament being planned to accomodate the accuracy-competitive ones (which, as this is a SEGA-published game, is not unheard of, being familiar in running rhythm game tournaments).
Overall, I've gotten what I wanted to see in a mobile rhythm game. Virtual Lives are also very interesting with many possibilities that can happen. The other aspects are cherry on top, and they're also not bad too. Project SEKAI is great.