The Shiny Festa: Now an English Language Hoobie

Isn't she on my team wut

Since Bamco decided to localize the three iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa games for the iOS (and especially make it look nice on the iPad), I’ve been enthralled with them yet again. Well, specifically, I finally got to play all three this time, thanks to a friend whose favorite is Chihaya, which rounds out the one game that I don’t own in some form. If it wasn’t clear, I own “Rhythmic Record” on the iOS (that’s the team lolicon version) and “Groovy Tunes” on the PSP (that’s the one everyone buys, ie., Makoto, Miki, Yukiho & Takane).

In some ways if you are familiar with iM@S, there are no surprises here. It’s the same smooth cool-aid that I’ve been drinking since almost 2 years ago. The games offer new songs, old songs, popular songs, character songs, meaningful songs, and some duds. I still don’t think much of the music in the game, but seeing the girls dance to the rhythm is a fun thing. Turning the experience into a video game, though, is something else entirely.

It’s exactly what you don’t get when you go to an idol concert. Maybe this is where wotagei can transform these group-participatory experiences into game-like situations. It’s as if someone turned the ritual of Mass into achievements and on-beat motions, or pulling off a PPPH with the preacher gets you bonuses? I’m not sure how to feel about that exaggeration that I just made. But it’s not far off the mark.

Which is to say, Shiny Festa is still a set of video games. It’s fun, because of the songs, of the dancing, of the core game design decisions, because it’s well-polished, it looks nice on an iPad, and it’s got our oshimen in it.

Best Cinderella Idol

Me too, Anzu.

And lots of jokes. Jokes are the studs and buttons and the stitches of iDOLM@STER fandom. The entire franchise is a series of corny jokes, interspersed with showsmanship, gameplay, and spending of money. And I’m barely exaggerating.

SEXY! LOL

So by "Lovely Yurika" do they mean this

You know, AmiMami up there reminded me of these girls just for a split moment. What does TBC mean? How is ecology a hobby? Wait, what are HOOBIES?

Cinderella Lion (GSC ver?)

GAME SET MATCH

Naturally, the Animal Tamer is right. Because idoling is not a competition where you win by making up the best name for a pet.

Sure is cow in there

Let's go

At this point you’re just like, OKAY! Haruna’s unbelievably campy catch line feels absolutely normal in comparison.

She's gonna Omerize you!

Even Akizuki Ryo feels awfully welcomed, despite his issues.

Some Y chromosomes!

Not so welcomed are members of Jupiter, who wear SSS ranks (765Pro girls are just SS ranked). I guess there are few prettier final bosses.

You're the cynical one of the bunch!

Anyway, I can keep going. I’m only about half way through all the card capturing (on Rhythmic Record) so I’m sure more outrageous opponents will still appear (aside from the 765Pro/876Pro regulars and Jupiter).

Maybe this is a better measure of my current progress:

High score week of May 5, 2013

Ready is probably the easiest of the Master songs, so I have a long distance to go yet. I mean srsly, Kazahana wth.

The game aside, there’s a weird dissonance. I think iM@S is basically the spiritual successor of the 00-era Sakura Taisen franchise. In a lot of ways it deserves all the hype and fanfare of such a thing being localized. The only problem is that Sakura Taisen landed ashore in the form of the corpse of its former, glorious self, with a thud, as the franchise cycles through the later phases of a dying star. THE iDOLM@STER, however, is glowing at its brightest yet. How many game franchise takes 8 years to get this big? ZUN’s Touhou? Halo? LOL. This is something entirely different than Sega’s bishoujo star franchise. But this localization effort has the same making as Sakura Wars for Wii/PS2. Well, even less than that. On the bright side it’s on a system where people have access to via the widely popular iOS platform (there are way the hell more iOS 5+ devices out there than the Wii and PS2 combined). On the down side, the time is not ripe for real console games on iOS. And the marketing feels at least kind of corpse-y, if not outright petrified.

Having the game in English also somehow makes it hook harder. I spent quality time with Groovy Tune last autumn, but because it’s PSP and it’s an import, I just didn’t get as much traction with the game and ended up playing stage mode a lot more than I do now. I think in less time, I’ve spent more time playing the iOS version of Funky Note in English than I did on the PSP, so that says something. Part of that is obviously the improved graphics and higher definition video, part of that is how Shiny Festa has been ported to the iPad Mini nearly flawlessly, Hoobies (and other typographical issues) aside. Most of it is thanks to the localization. I can’t speak for iPhone or iPad users though, in terms of the visuals and gameplay elements. When I played it on a 3rd gen iPad, the tablet felt too heavy to play for prolonged period of time if I were to hold it up. Playing it on a flat surface or on the lap is not a comfortable position, and tapping too hard can move the tablet around if I wasn’t holding it. I assume on the  iPhone 5 the experience would be similar to the Mini, plus the game isn’t meant for a 4:3 screen to begin with.

Lastly, we’re working on a review for Jtor, that will somehow cover all three games. Too bad it’s more a general-audience review and not something that goes into the nitty gritty, but please read it when it comes out. That said, where are all the reviews for this game? If someone’s seen a serious review of the English-language Shiny Festa iOS games, please do link. It seems that nobody got review copies and none of the mobile game sites even dared to touch it with a 10′ pole. Meanwhile, wait warmly for ours while you read this rant (and has links to a bunch of reactions). It makes me want to write about piracy, again.


6 Responses to “The Shiny Festa: Now an English Language Hoobie”

  • NegativeZero

    So is the iOS release actually complete? It looked like they’d taken the PSP games, translated, then pulled out half the content as paid DLC and then listed them at a ludicrous price point for such a niche, untested franchise. That’s the main reason I haven’t bitten – the price is just too high for me to justify, especially for an incomplete game. It’s a big enough investment that I’d really want to be sure about it, since that’s similar to what I can get full console / PC releases for.

    Shame too, because I’m right in the strike zone as far as target audience goes as I own all the console releases and imported all the BDs with the G4U bonus stuff, so I’m not opposed to paying exorbitant amounts. Just… not on iOS. Vita-compatible PSP Digital release I’d probably buy all three. :(

    • omo

      There are a lot of misinformation out there. A popular gaming news site listed the wrong names for example (not entirely their fault). And yes, if you buy the game you basically get the PSP equivalent. There are some minor differences but it’s basically the whole thing. What may be confusing is that once you get the app off the app store, it doesn’t have all the songs. The missing songs are instead downloadable in-game as free DLCs. Probably because the DLCs almost double the size of the game.

    • Author

      There’s nothing “ludictrous” about the price, in fact iOS version of Shiny Fiesta is cheaper than the previous PSP game was (that one was $65, albeit before discounts).

    • omo

      There are many different points of view on the price let’s put that out there. It’s just that many people hold the view that games on iOS should be much less than games on dedicated consoles or PCs. Even if tablets and smartphones today are basically PCs, and give a couple years the two might be indistinguishable.

      the 4000 yen figure, to me, seems like the most honest price point, since that’s how much the game is on the PSN. This is not a physical copy after all.

  • Author

    I had NO IDEA that Anzu et.al. went so far back. I thought she was a Cinderella Girls character.

    • omo

      Anzu is just a Cinderella Girls character…at this point. Cinderella Girls predated Shiny Festa by like a year? Half a year? Something.

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