A3! Impressions – One Man’s Idol Boy Trash

It doesn’t take very much to figure out my love for idol games, one look at my Twitter will prove it. I do my best to stay current on the latest releases in the genre. It’s fun and cute, don’t judge me. If my phone weren’t an S6, I’d have them all, but phones are expensive, and storage space is finite.

Anyways, I heard on twitter about a title by the name of A3!, a free to play mobile simulation game recently released in English that presents itself as an idol game, but uses wannabe actors. So, I thought I’d pick it up to see what its deal is. After all, who doesn’t like games with a whole collection of good looking cast members?

Act, Addict, Actors!, or A3! for short, is a simulation kind of anime game developed by Liber Entertainment, who also designed the Japanese exclusive rhythm idol game I-chu. In the game, you raise a bunch of actors and increase their stats so they can become more efficient at what they do. Well, sort of. To be clear, this only implies that there is more gameplay than there is.

A3! is a gacha game that has you spend gems to attain characters who wear fancy costumes. You assemble these characters into a troupe and have them act out a small play. That’s all there is to it. To raise actors, you select one of the training modes and… tap a bunch of times until it ends, or use characters as consumable XP items.

“Sadly, when it comes to gameplay, A3! is next to no fun at all. However, the title has four selling points that’ll likely turn the tides on anyone who likes pretty boys or idol games.

  •   Lots of pretty boys. We’re talking like, more than twenty of them, at launch.
  •   These pretty boys have some seriously solid character interactions and dynamics.
  •   There’s a great story here.
  •   Supplementary content and adaptations are on the way.

Ah, they’re going for the whole multimedia franchise here, aren’t they?”

A3 3

The story in A3! begins with our young nameable heroine Izumi, who is visiting a theater production that is owned by her missing father. However, instead of being the famous troupe she envisioned. You see, there’s a total of one actor, and a manager is trying to persuade the yakuza not to shut down the theater. Yes, this game is off to a good start.

However, Izumi places herself in her father’s former position of director and makes a deal that gives her until the end of the year to set up four separate acts to get the theatre back up and running. However, she only has three months to get each act ready to save the theater. Will Izumi save her father’s theatre, or will she crash and burn? That’s up to the player.

A3 2

The story presents itself in a standard visual novel fare, only providing basic renders with minor changes, preferring to use overlayed effects to provide actual emotions. The basic renders are rather solid, and the CGs, as few as there are, look very nice. What is more critical is the interactions and story beat between these characters. The scriptwriting is marvelous; there’s loads of fun to be had in both the primary and side stories. The localization is absolutely killer, and I’m very fond of a lot of the slang choices. Also, if you like pretty boys always fawning over you, you’ll enjoy this.

A3 1

Ultimately, whether or not A3! is a title for you comes down to what you prioritize more, story, or gameplay. If you feel like this might be a title for you, but don’t want questionable gameplay elements locking you out, you might be better off waiting until the anime adaptation. Yes, an anime of this title will begin airing in 2020. I’ll probably finish the game for the story, but I doubt this mobile title is going to be staying on my phone for long after.

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Pyre Kavanagh

Senior Editor - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter