As The iDOLM@STER franchise becomes more popular, especially after the anime that aired last year, Namco feels the need to make a new game. That game is iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa, which focuses more on the rhythm aspect rather than the managing from the main games. Like the first PSP games, each edition contains different idols and exclusive songs (at least 6 songs are included in all the games). (Image Source)
From my first play though of Shiny Festa (I downloaded Honey Sound), the gameplay is simpler compared to other rhythm games. Before playing this game, I have also played quite a bit of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd and it’s a big difference. The former uses both the buttons and D-Pads while having notes flying all over the screen. When I first played that, it drove me crazy until I got used to it.
On the other hand, I don’t feel this way with Shiny Festa since the controls are simpler. When notes come from the left side, you press any button (including the shoulder buttons) on that side and vice versa. There are green notes, you press buttons on both sides. For the most part, this makes it a lot easier to read the notes as they scroll through the lines rather than flying all over the screen. However, this does not necessarily mean that the game is easy. There are harder levels for each song that makes it more challenging. They get unlocked after getting an A or higher in the easier difficulties. Just like Project Diva, you can buy and use items to help you score more points.
As for the song’s catalog, it has a sizable collection of 21 songs. In each version, there is one exclusive song where the whole group performs, 6 individual ones, 2 duets, and one that everyone performs in addition to the 6 songs that are shared in all versions. As expected, the songs sounds awesome and they include pre-rendered videos and various scenes from the anime, which you can play back later. The only drawback is that there is no customization and no DLC songs currently. I think that will change in the coming months, but we’ll see.
Besides the free play mode, there is a story mode called “Star of Festa,” which you and the idol unit participate in an international festival for five days. Each day works like an endless mode where you choose three songs and play them back-to-back. Memories can be used, which you earn during free play to raise the popularity count. After that, you can challenge another idol for their name card. The game play is the same, except that your opponent will have a score and you need to beat it to win.
Despite having some drawbacks of customization and inability to download new songs currently, iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa is an enjoyable game. While I haven’t touch the OVA that came with the game since I don’t know enough Japanese to understand all of it, I will definitely cover that in a separate post in the future. So if you are a big fan and have a PSP/Vita lying around, go out and buy or download a copy.
(Also, excuse the MacGyver style screenshots. Sony decided to only have screenshot capabilities for Vita games, not for Playstation Portable Games.)