Note: this post only covers the Rehearsal Edit, hence First Impressions. A full review has been published!
I'm always excited when a new rhythm game is about to be released, and this time, it's Project SEKAI COLORFUL STAGE! The game features the acclaimed Virtual Singers from Crypton Future Media, including Hatsune Miku, alongside original characters created for the game.
The game is published by SEGA, and developed by CraftEgg's subsidiary studio, Colorful Palette. Project SEKAI is the studio's first largely-known game.
The demo version, called the Rehearsal Edit, is available to play at the time of writing. This demo is playable until 11 September 2020,
The title screen itself already looks quite decent, with the clean design while managing to be colorful at the same time too.
The demo version only has two aspects, the Rhythm Game and the Virtual Live. I'm more familiar with rhythm games, hence I'll be talking way more about it, however, Virtual Live is an interesting feature too.
In the rhythm game aspect, there are three songs available to play: Sweet Magic, Tell Your World, and Hibana -Reloaded-. There are 5 levels of difficulty, ranging from Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, and Master. I'm not sure of the level range yet. The highest level on the demo is 33, which is Hibana's MASTER difficulty.
The unit customization is understandably none, because this is a demo version. However, MV features are there, with some songs having 3DMVs. You can either play the MV as the unit, or use the original members of the song.
The game settings are similar to Bandori. You can even use your Bandori speed settings to be at home. The timing offset wizard is also similar to Bandori, although there's a flaw where's the timing offset wizard times on hold release, instead of on tap, which makes the wizard a bit inaccurate. However, I actually find myself keeping the offset at 0, and I only have a minimal need to change the offset, which is a rarity in mobile rhythm games, especially Android.
The gameplay of the game is very similar to Chunithm, with tap notes, flexible long notes, and up flick notes. It's a solid vertically-scrolling gameplay, and surprisingly very smooth, with minimal note sound delays. It also has a convenient visual indicator when a note is missed, allowing those aiming for Full Combo to know when to retry.
The other aspect previewed by the demo version is the Virtual Live aspect. This aspect allows you to watch lives of the groups in Project SEKAI, like the Virtual Singers and the five character groups.
To go to the Virtual Lives, you can either go directly to the waiting room of one of the lives, or you can create and join a private room. The lives themselves are scheduled.
In the waiting room, you have an avatar holding penlights, through which you can chat, do penlight actions, and send stamps.
15 minutes before the live, you can enter the venue of the live. You can change each of your penlights' color to one of characters image colors, throw items to the performers, and do actions and send stamps as in the waiting room.
When the live starts, there are MC segments, and song segments, just like a concert. It's almost like the real deal.
Very impressive for a mobile rhythm game
Project SEKAI is one of those rhythm games that are just unbelievably smooth, requiring little setup to play, minimal sound effect delays, and overall a very smooth experience. This is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have of rhythm games. After all, the publisher and the developer of this game, knows a thing about rhythm games. The Virtual Live aspect is also very interesting and makes me excited for the future.
However, this is not the end of all. The full release of Project SEKAI is still looming, on 30 September 2020, and there are a lot of other aspects of the game not in the demo, like the unit compositions, gacha systems, et cetera. I'll be covering the full game too when it is released, Until then, enjoy the 26 days wait (since this article was written)!