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 Idolcraft Review

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SnakeYukin
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Join date : 2009-07-13
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PostSubject: Idolcraft Review   Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:59 am

Idolcraft Review


Developer: flowerthief
Developed On: RPG Maker XP
Score:
Written By Stephen “SnakeYukin” Lindsey
Video Review:








Like many things in life, there are occasional things that come along that can surprise you in a good way. The last time I can remember a prior incidence revolves around me figuring out that not everyone online is a complete idiot and a pain: just most are idiots and a pain. Idolcraft falls into that area of surprise. Upon finding the game I was told that this game is a “a bishoujo simulation” which causes my mind to think of dating sims: which I find, for the most part, boring. However, wikipedia is quick to correct me in the usual way by telling me that a bishoujo game is one that involves interactions with attractive anime girls and is targeted towards the male audience, which I am in by the way. So as being a dude and open minded... in games, I'm the prime candidate to play this game.


So let's talk about the story of the game. You play as Hiroki, his name is changeable during the game so let's just call him Snake for future reference, a college student who “claims” to study hard but apparently gets bad grades: unlike me. Anyways, during the time of this game, though I'm unsure of what time frame it is in (future, present, or past), there's an idol craze boom in Japan... or perhaps it's the world, but it takes place in Japan so let's just assume that. So, being the central figure in the game, luck shows up on Snake's doorstep involving his uncle deciding to go on vacation, at least that's what is assumed because him leaving because of gambling debts which Snake has to payoff isn't as interesting apparently, and leaving him in charge of his idol studio; however, logic might kick in that perhaps this is a bad idea considering Snake is having problems getting the passing grade. Oh, and more importantly, apparently all of his former idols have gone AWOL for, yet another, unknown reason at the beginning, so it's up to Snake to find six new idols even though he most likely has no idea of what makes a good candidate to be trained in the ways of being an idol.
So after that introduction you arrive at the idol studio in the city of... er... well, I don't believe that is told, so let's just call the city Japan in Japan: so Japan, Japan. At this point, you are given $100 which makes no sense considering the game is set in Japan and thus would use Yen and be around 10,000 Yen and are told your first advice in the game, which involves you talking to people in the town to figure out who might make an idol.


This is where one of the nitpicks comes in and that involves the speed at which several of the characters on the streets of Japan, Japan walk; actually, it's more of running than walking. After going onto the streets, you'll most likely see a vast assortment of characters running past you in an attempt to, what one can assume, to get home and get to the crapper before they go in their pants. Though that's never indicated when one tries to talk to them as they'll tell you about a girl they saw or how they don't want to talk to your ugly mug. Though the developer seems to try to resolve this problem by making Snake run around as well, which can be an annoyance in certain situations, but at a slightly faster pace so he can catch up to them in the long run or how some of the characters do actually walk around at normal speed.


Now the core and goal of the game is to find select girls, the only ones with a pictures associated with them by the way, who you can choose to join your studio: up to six. In most bishoujo games, remind you the ones I've played are usually dating sims, this part is where the boredom comes in as you usually have to go do a job to get money, go somewhere to increase a certain trait about yourself, buy items, and probably ten other things that help impress only one of the five girls a little bit and you have a limited amount of days to make them love you; this usually ending with only loneliness. However, Idolcraft avoids that monotony by allowing you to find several girls quite easily and you can recruit them to join after a few days of talking to them, but for those who want a little more challenge, there are some girls that are a little harder to find and get. On top of that, you don't have to worry about increasing any of your own stats, because they don't exist, as the point of the game is to increase the stats of your idols.


To get on that segue, this is where the second main portion of the game kicks in: training your idols to become the top idol. Mainly this consists of paying two coaches to help your idols increase either their vocal or dancing abilities along with talking to them to increase their confidence and trust and giving them items to increase their charm. Nonetheless, just making your girls better at dancing or singing won't improve their popularity as much as producing either CDs or DVDs which are also a great way to make some money. Surprisingly enough, all of that was quite fun and I found myself getting into that for a couple of hours and getting lost in the game which very few games can do. The mix of simplicity and thought on figuring out what to do with your idols along with the urge to get your idols to the top is a surprising drive: one I didn't achieve but came close to.


Oh, while we're on idols, also don't forget to give your idols a vacation occasionally because giving them a place to stay, paying for their training, paying for productions of their CDs and DVDs, giving them items, and several other goods is very straining on an idol. However, this is where seeing pictures of so called “attractive” anime girls are suppose to stimulate the male demographic and it helps to add to the game. Anytime your idols go on a vacation, you are given one of several possible anime pictures showing the idol on vacation, which helps to give a drive to play the game multiple times to obtain all of the girls in the game to see the extremely well drawn anime girls. Though, while playing the game, I began to wonder why couldn't there be more of these pictures for different events and interactions with the girls as that could have added another element of replayability.


Though I can let that slide by and never thought about it till after the game was finished, but there is one element that did annoy me and caused the experience of being in the game to turn into playing a game. The game seems to offer you the ability to play a nonlinear game in the sense that you can choose which idols you want to hire, what areas you want to train your idol in, and some other elements, but, no matter what, you are the ethical good guy who wouldn't dare date your idols or even peak on them through a peephole. Yet, for some odd reason, you have no problem with giving them lingerie, which they willingly accept while flirting with you, which would indicate you want them to wear it shortly before removing them in a secret Hot Coffee mod gameplay or you are the perverted manager that wants to see girls strut their stuff. No matter how hard I tried, Snake would never try to pursue the relationship that the girl wanted or even peek on the girl next door, who would most likely give him a free show if he asked, which is a replayable element that should have been explored with possible consequences instead of being dragged behind the house and shot.


A final nitpicks are that at times, the idols will be at two places at once and that the days in the game seem to be too short and can fly by just from going to one side of Japan, Japan to the other side of Japan, Japan. When you are trying to find idols, trying to get a second job to pay for the first job, buy items, and find several secrets in the world, you don't expect the day to end after a brisk walk.


Speaking of the town, the entire town and maps, in general, are extremely well mapped. This is great, defiantly considering that you'll be looking at the town most of the time and that one needs to know precisely what building is which after awhile. Along with that, all of the music and sfx are also good and fit appropriately, though they can get annoying after a few loops.


As stated at the beginning of this review, this game was quite a surprise. The game is accessible to those who are new to bishoujo games and those who don't like most other bishoujo games while keeping interests for those that like bishoujo games. Idolcraft is fun to play with great maps, good music, original anime pictures, several replayable elements, and just a well rounded game; however, having short days, citizens walk through town at a high speed, and you are constrained to be the ethical good guy in your manager position no matter what. Complaints aside, Idolcraft is a great game that you'll enjoy if you are open on the type of your games or like these type of games, but it isn't for everyone.

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