Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars Review – Welcome to Idol Hell

    Title: Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars
    Developer: KLab
    Release Date: February 25, 2020
    Reviewed On: iOS
    Publisher: Bushiroad
    Genre: Rhythm

Idol culture has grown into a fascinating phenomenon across the world. Love Live! School Idol Festival, in particular, has been a gateway into the genre, and fans always come back to this series as their first love. At the heels of the ninth anniversary of the franchise, a new spin-off game has launched globally on mobile devices called Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars, developed by KLab.

Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars features μ’s (pronounced Muse), Aquors, and the Nijigaski High School Idol Club; you can recruit girls of different rarities from each group and play a song with notes that come on the screen to tap or swipe. However, this game is far from a typical rhythm game. All Stars plays more like an RPG if anything.

Most of your time is spent leveling up your best girl, running training regiments to get items that further develop your team, and creating various groups that can rack up the most points depending on the song. All the while, you can explore a new story that involves all the girls from the three groups.

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I should probably unpack this a little more. The actual rhythm game portion isn’t too challenging, even if you play on greater difficulties. What is, however, is making sure your team can handle a continuously depleting stamina meter while making sure you score the most points possible during a performance. Each girl has various cards that vary in rarity along with multiple skill sets.

For example, a specific Umi Sonoda card from μ’s has a healing ability that regenerates some of your stamina, while an Ultra Rare Kotori Minami card (also from μ’s) has a skill that can highly increase your score. The abilities are oddly similar to how team-based games work with tank characters, DPS characters (high scorers), and healers.

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As you bring in nine girls for each song, they are separated into three subgroups. Depending on your setup, each group can provide additional bonuses. Colored arrows on the sides of your screen indicate when you can switch subgroups to activate those bonuses. Having the right party of girls can make a difference in having an okay performance to having a performance worthy of the idol crowd.

The planning is somewhat complicated, but that’s part of the fun. Similar to gacha RPGs, you have to have the proper party to win. There are even skill trees you have to level up to increase your team’s stats as well as accessories to boost a girl’s stats. You also have access to training regiments to help farm for additional items to level up your party. You can go in with all of your best girls, but they might not accomplish a three-star performance to receive all available awards.

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The story mode is actually pretty entertaining. You play as a friend of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club and act as a sort of manager for the girls. While each of these girls is new to the idol game, you help them try to achieve the level of stardom that μ’s and Aquors have only tasted. Throughout the story, you can play various songs from the Love Live! franchise of each group to progress.

All the favorites are here, including μ’s hit Snow Halation and Strawberry Trapper from my favorite subgroup, Guilty Kiss. It’s a cute and wholesome experience. The cut scenes are lively, the girls are as adorable as ever, and the actual performances that play in the background during songs are visually stunning. It’s almost like you were there live. There are even fun side stories you can unlock for each girl to get a more in-depth look into their personality and what drives them to be an idol.

As for the gacha pulls, it is pretty hard to draw a powerful UR card of any of these girls. I ended up lucking out and pulled a Kotori Minami UR card and Maki Nishikino UR card pretty early, who are probably the best scorer cards in the game currently. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to earn in-game currency to work toward multiple gacha pulls. If you decide to use actual money though, prices can be pretty steep since one ten idol draw would be around $33.

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All Stars was made for fans of this series specifically, but outside of that, you might be hardpressed to continue your idol adventure. The admittedly complicated team preparation can be quite a turn off for some if you think this is just another rhythm game. However, RPG fans could find something substantial here, assuming you can embrace the idol culture.

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll definitely love what All Stars has to offer. The game is regularly being updated with new content, including songs, costumes, and events, so try to hold onto your money while you can.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Brock Jensen

Saebyeolbe is the Tom Brady of Overwatch. MOBILE GAMERS ARE STILL GAMERS. Send me stuff [email protected]