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Release Date: JP: April 15, 2013. WW: May 11, 2014
Platforms: IOS, Android
Players: 1, Multiplayer 2-4
Love Live! School Idol Festival is a social rhythm game for mobile devices (both for iOS and Android) produced by KLabGames and Bushiroad. In the game, the player creates units based on collectible virtual cards and performs Live concerts with a designated unit. All the songs used in the game are sung by members of the Love Live! franchise idol groups: 's, A-RISE and Aqours.
The story starts with the second year student Honoka who was determined to not having the school she attended be shutdown due to a small number of applicants. After seeing that idol groups were a popular thing after seeing A-Rise, Honoka decided that perhaps forming an idol group is just what the school needs that would bring in more first year students and that it would keep the school up and running for many years to come.
In School Idol Festival, the main objective is to play through the story and complete the songs after completing said story. Players will have a LP bar which LP is used to play songs on a beat map. Depending on the difficulty, the amount of LP to play is increased. Each song has a difficulty of easy, normal, hard, and expert. A master difficulty had been introduced with a previous update that is available for certain songs. Players can earn coins, love gems, and friend points as they complete objectives within the game. As players level up in the game, players will unlock new stories which will unlock new songs to be played. When playing a song, a beat map is displayed with 9 circles covering 1 end of the screen to the other which represent each member in the team selected. As the song progresses, rhythm circles will appear that players would need to tap on which gives them score. After completing a song, depending on the player's results, are given cards that could aid them in building a stronger team.
Before playing any song, players would need to build a team in each of the 3 attributes: pure,smile, and cool. Within each team are nine slots which players can assign any idol to the team. Each idol has a specific attribute which accommodates to certain songs of the same attribute. The easiest way to determine an idol's attribute is by looking at the color of the card in which the smile attribute is red, the pure attribute is green, and cool attribute is blue. Each idol card has a tier level which the higher the tier, the stronger the card will be when put on a team. The tiers are followed: N, R, SR, SSR, UR. Cards from the R tier and higher have a leader skill which is only activated when placed as the center on a team. Each idol card also has skill slots in which idol skills are used which basically act as perks that make that card statistically stronger. Cards can have 1 skill slot up to 8 skill slots depending on the rarity of the card.
When players acquire 2 of the same exact cards, they can then proceed to "idolize" the card which basically increases the level cap of the card to its highest potential. With idolizing a card, it also unlocks an additional skill slot for it as well. To increase a card's level, players would need to "practice" a desired idol card then select other cards that aren't needed and basically "feed" them to the desired card. Another way to idolize a card is by the use of stickers which are obtained by practicing away cards in the R rarities or higher or by "tiering" in events.
In order to really build the best idol teams, players would need to scout for idols. The game allows players to scout for new idols by using love gems which are the only thing that can be bought through micro-transactions. Scouting will award players with a guaranteed SR card or greater if they scout in the honor scouting section. Other ways of doing honor scouting is using green scouting tickets which are given through certain milestones or by placing in certain tiers in events. But ticket scouting will only grant one idol scouting which the guaranteed SR isn't applicable.
For being a mobile game, I was quite impressed with the artwork on many of the cards as well as the in-game backgrounds. During gameplay, the notes run smoothly and are easily to see, even when playing on higher difficulties where there are multiple notes running down the screen. The textures throughout are very nice and the wide use of light and dark colors are really appealing to look at. There is a lot to go on about the cards that are created for this game. The artwork on most of these is fantastic and well thought out too. Instead of just throwing vibrant colors in to make the cards look appealing, the character design, color palette, shading, and other aesthetics added into the background of the cards really makes each card standout from each other. Overall, the graphics are astounding for a mobile game like this and really shows how far into detail the designers put into each of the cards for each new set that is released.
The controls are mainly set up to use both hands with the use of tapping on the screen with either 1 finger or 2 fingers from each hand. The controls are very simple to understand and perform. If players are new to rhythm games like this, there could be some difficulty when starting to play for the first time. The controls are all about muscle memory and hand-eye coordination especially when playing on a higher difficulty.