So I spent a night with iM@S Channel (ie., 30 minutes) and here’s a very rough take. Well, you will do well to read this first.
Idolm@ster Channel, the game is a free download from the Japanese Playstation Store. It’s a game. It is about 3GB, and took me ~25 minutes to pull it and maybe another 20 minutes to install it, I didn’t keep track (was away from PS3). Each song pack is about another 2GB. Yayoi (pack 2) was slightly smaller than Haruka (pack 1). [Insert joke here.]
The iM@S channel game takes you to a landing page with some options you can select left and right. On start it phones home for new content updates, so you probably need to be online if not logged in? I didn’t get to test. The background music in the main page is off-vocal versions of the iM@S classics, although it kept on playing relations when I was in the main menu.
The first option launches you to Shiny TV and it’s basically a PS3 port of the Shiny Festa game. Instead of the “story mode” or watching an anime or whatever, you just play the song packs in the “stage” mode or do challenges in the “Shiny TV” mode. The game engine is notably different in the following:
- Calibration. You can calibrate to adjust for lag. It has an “auto” feature where it does a sound sync and then TV timing sync. You can also manually adjust the delay slider (but it uses arbitrary units from -10 to +10).
- Silence is a default chime tone, for those of you who want your presses to be silent (like me).
- The scoring has changed a little, if not the timing window. Or so I feel it’s a little tighter than on PSP/iOS. I think it’s a lot easier to get a lower grade, but that might just be me sucking it up.
- Gravure Mode, which I will describe below.
Honestly I haven’t had that much time to tease out the details even if I spent most of my time playing this. Machiuke Prince is a very…AKB48-style song, and it’s a nice change of pace. For some, that alone is worth the price of admission.
iM@S Channel’s free download comes with one song, We Have A Dream. It’s a little funky but could grow on you…after God knows how many times like the majority of iM@S music. As for song packs, if you sunk money for Shiny Festa already, then this kinda sucks because about 2/3 of it is stuff already on Shiny Festa. For example in song pack 2 you get READY which is exactly as is from iOS/PSP, Hamburger is new. I didn’t look at VampKyun and Yakusoku, but they have the same line up as iOS/PSP so I expect the same (especially since VampKyun is great already, no need to change). Machiuke Prince is new, but it repeats on every pack so far. Finally Kiramekirai is almost exactly as is from PSP/iOS, except for Gravure Mode.
Gravure Mode….basically gives you a third video track to the stage mode to Shiny TV. One song per pack (should be obvious which) will have this feature. When enabled in the stage mode, instead of the usual video to that song, you get the G4U experience instead. I think this is a great improvement; instead of camera UI hell, you get to play a game with Haruka or Yayoi in the background, making cute poses. Can’t go wrong with that.
Totally worth the 1500 yen. Ahem. Maybe it is time to remember Tanake is next up.
G4U mode seems to be the same, I didn’t really go into it, but for 300 yen you can unlock the same kind of game play as those Blu-ray bonus items from iM@S anime or the LE PS3 game. I wonder if they’ll hike the price. The free download also comes with the “demo” version of G4U #1 which does what you think it does.
The rest of Idolm@ster Channel features some voice clips and you can cycle through which idol graces the main menu, and thus who is talking to you. The sub menus have different background tracks. The home page selection opens the web browser. DLC page takes you to PS Store. There are two additional “???” place holder spots in the main menu. There’s also some kind of log in bonus and you can unlock pictures. I’m going to assume it grafts into the G4U image sharing service as advertised, so you can send it over the internet easier. Not that I have tried.
I guess I better play some more tonight. Learning the timing on PS3 is kind of annoying, now that I have to do the same songs over again.
What I can say is, even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a good value for a free download. If you do end up buying something, it probably is a good value too. Because if you did it, you probably did it for a reason, and I can say that these reasons are probably good reasons. Do you know what I mean?
PS. The EN iOS version of Shiny Festa has some songs with toned-down graphics. The one I can confirm is Kimi wa Melody, where in the PSP version Takane juggles that dance routine at the beach and on iOS she does it in the meadow or something, wearing a winter school uniform (one of them DLC outfits like from Vol. 16 or some such). But there are probably others, I don’t remember. I wonder if JP iOS versions are the same? Anyway, I bring this up because Kimi wa Melody would probably be the Gravure Mode song from pack 03, which is just ironic.