Given a merely 10 days since launch as of this writing, there has not been a lot of detail writeup yet. Why? Probably because we’re all busy playing the game, and the developers have not released the game early enough to professional media types (the folks that work behind sites like gamewith/etc) that the pros do not have it all up yet. And if Japan authorities are behind, it’s free for all on twitter in terms farming various nuggets of info. EN players have to farm it from the game and social just like JP players.
This primer is more for new players–I will still skip the “download Japanese game” portion because that is the same for every Japanese mobile game on Android and iOS. The PC version will be available from DMM in a week or so, to get that, use the Princess Connect Redive guide. For helpful links, read this post.
What is Umamusume?
It is a Cygames franchise about raising racing horse girls (horse henceforth). Each horse is based, in various degree of looseness, on existing race horses in Japan’s horse racing scene and history. Best example primer I can give is this ESPN short. This article is about the video game, but there are some TV anime stuff related to this which gives you a crash course on the setting and some characters.
There are many horses in Umamusume. They are all Japanese race horses (but their heritage do span across overseas). There are 70 of them on the official site. They are all voiced except 4 (who are not debuted). The game do not yet feature all 70 of them as far as we know.
What is Umamusume game?
TL;DR: It is a raising/breeding game with a social/team competition component.
TL;DR2: It’s Priconne x Shiny Colors
It is a raising game with a competitive stats “racing” component. Players control a set of racing horses and a set of support horses. The goal is to make the best states on your horses, and then they can go on to win races. The actual racing part is just back end math calculation (think rolling the dice in Risk, but with 4d chess variables with different horses, and a pretty visualization). Almost all the game play is in how you run a raising scenario.
It’s just like IDOLM@STER Shiny Colors, but for people unfamiliar, you pick a race horse (or idol), select some support horses to go with that race horse, and you go through a period of up to 72 turns in order to complete the scenario. At different points in the scenario you have to clear various objectives–usually winning or placing above a certain place in a race on a certain turn. All the races in the game are loosely based on real races, or actually based on real races–just like the horses (if their rights owner let Cygames do it).
At the end of the scenario, either you win or you lost prematurely, you end up with a “raised horse” which can be used in PVP races, as well as daily races (basically 3 free races to earn money or support points), clear races in the main story, and for “breeding” (I guess it’s called inheritance system). Completing the full training gives you a horse that has more stats, since you had more time to train it.
What’s the gacha system?
The racing horses are rated from one star to five stars, and the gacha system drops horses based on 1* to 3*, 3* being rarest. You can upgrade racing horses up to 5*, including all 1*. To upgrade them, you need to feed it money and memory pieces from the specific horse. When you roll a horse you get some pieces for that horse, and if you roll a dupe you get some pieces for that horse plus a horse token, which can be traded for memory pieces of any horse.
Racing horses with more * level gets more powerful–higher stats, mostly. You can also “social link” or affection-up with them, by using them in races and in the horse raising scenario, as it unlock the character story for that horse. You can also rank them up using drops from races which give them more skills.
Support horses are ranked R, SR, or SSR. For each dupe up to 5 you can level break 5 levels. SSR by default caps at level 30, SR at 25, R at 20. Dupes beyond the 5th card can be sold for other tokens. Support horses are used during the raising scenario (currently, the URA racing scenario) to help you increase the stats on the race horse. Leveling up support horses gives them more powers, and you can do so using support points, money, or via use in the raising scenario.
As for rolling gacha, there are one pool for race horses and one pool for support horses. They are separate. You can spark at 200 rolls for race horses and 200 rolls for support horses. You can only spark the banner at any time, which is its own thing that you ought to read closely before trying for it. Besides that, both support gacha and race gacha follow the “150 for 1 roll, daily once paid 50 for 1 roll, 1500 for 10 roll with guaranteed 2*” model. Just remember the pool is separate for their sparks.
Racing horses can also be obtained through trading in memory pieces of a specific horse at certain quantities, starting at 50 for 1* horses. I’m assuming they’ll follow the Priconne template and allow this for all non-limited horses. You can buy memory pieces in the shop for all non-limited horses currently, and it has an incremental system where the first 25 pieces for a horse costs 1 chess piece, the next 25 cost 2, etc, up to 5(?), which is the prices for all subsequent memory pieces for that horse.
For support horses, there isn’t an obvious way to obtain them besides rolling, but you can get free ones from events and the main story.
What do you do in this game?
For most people, this means raising a horse or three or fifteen, or all of them. In reality, this is a raising game with a breeding component. Each turn in the URA scenario you pick one action, and bare the consequences of that action. This is also one of the more random raising game I have ever played, and while some random events do benefit you, most do not. A lot of the randomness comes in how horses win races–skills have to proc, your horse have to have the right gate, the other horses can’t be blocking yours too much, your strongest opponents might also be blocked or not, your horse might have a bad start out of the gate, whatever. There are so many ways you can lose a race, and generally completing the scenario means you have to take first place in a series of races against 16 opponents. Oh, there are also the usual raising game negative events too. Managing a kid through high school is rough, even if she is a horse!
Every time you start the raising scenario you have to pick 2 horses to be your horse’s ancestors, and some traits from those horses (and their grandparents, so 6 total) will get passed down to the horse you are raising. In the URA scenario, this happens on the 2nd and 3rd April First Half turns. Raising horses through inheriting is very important because not only you can get some limited/rare skills, but you can also increase the horse’s basic parameters, like their innate strength and weakness versus different track types and race strategy. Unfortunately, the way skill passes down from one horse to the next is largely random.
But because it is only largely random, there are things that are not random in which you can manipulate.
Once you produce five raised mares, you can put them in the racing team and start to enjoy that side of the game.
Lastly, the horses do a music number after some races, which you can unlock. Songs have interchangeable vocals!
No really, what do you do?
First, reset marathon for what you want–I actually recommend rolling support first since it feels like good support makes the game notably easier, even if you have fewer strong horses to raise. It’s more fun when the game is not nails-tough, trust me. Once you get some good supports, get your guaranteed 3* race horses and roll the race horse gacha once so you get some 1* and 2* horses too, because some of them are pretty good. This game is so easy to resemara, since the menu has a build in player data wipe plus a tutorial skip.
Follow 10 players with good support cards, pick an easy horse–I recommend Sakura Bakushin O, Mayano Top Gun, Silence Suzuka, or Special Week–build a support deck, and go raise her.
When you set up your raising scenario you can also breed from other player’s horses (with a fee). May be worth it sometimes!
Repeat until you get tired of losing, move on to another horse, and keep doing it until you get a feel how the raising game works. Meanwhile, collect support points and money, and upgrade your support cards too.
TL;DR: Circles are guilds, PVP as much as you want, free bonus.
Players in Umamusume can form “circles.” Circles are basically guilds. Players in the guild collectively earn scoring (in terms of fans) when they raise horses. Later on they probably will introduce team racing.
Individually, there is some kind of ladder (also like Shiny Colors) where you assemble team of horses in a showdown with random opponents. It is set up as a ladder. Each horse is assigned a point value based on how powerful it is, and players are assigned a letter grade based on the total point value of their racing team. Players around the same letter grade then randomly match with each other. You can initiate a race using racing points (which recovers one point per 2 hours, up to 5 total). The race is consisted of actually 5 matches: Long, Medium, Mile, Short, and Dirt Mile. When you build your team you have to put from 1-3 horses in each of the matches (most people are only class 2 so only 2 horses per match), and each match unfold with the horse winning the race winning the match. After 5 matches the player with the most won matches wins the race.
Win or lose, all that matters is the loot that drops (random) and the highest score (when you win against the toughest team). A ranking is generated about once a week and reward is given out to players based on the high score. Players can also advance in class based on their high score ranks, which unlock more benefit.
In addition, there is a bonus to your support horses based on the strength of your racing team. So there is no reason to not put up a team (and let us beat on it).
There’s so much more to say about the game, but I’ll let the people making money or fame from it do the talking. I got horses to raise, I don’t know about you.
I’ll leave you with this.