[アイドルマスター シンデレラガールズ]


Publisher: DeNa
Developer: Cygames
Director: Noriko Takao
Platform: Android/iOS

As a budding young producer, you develop the talents of various young women as idol singers.

This is a card battler and there is little gameplay to speak of. Indeed, some people argue this can't even be called a game. The idols are divided into three types (Cute, Cool, Passion) and three tiers (Normal, Rare, S Rare). You progress by work assignments (which amounts to just clicking a button over and over again) and live battles (where you go head-to-head against other players). There are events that mix up the formula a bit, a game center I haven't tried because it's too expensive to play, and a Tamagotchi-esque Puchiderella section where you raise SD idols to assist you in the live battles. You level up your cards by feeding them other cards, fuse them with identical cards to reach the plus rank, and raise your trust level to the maximum for various bonuses. There are several different currencies for exchange, including Mobacoins if you're crazy enough to actually put down real money. There is also a gacha which runs on several different currencies as well. (To use friendship points for free draws and to trade with other players, you have to register a Japanese cell number to the obvious exclusion of foreign players.) There's a lot going on but honestly not much there. If you managed to get hooked, though, you will become obsessed with leveling your cards and trying to flesh out your album.

There are well over a hundred characters, but the degree of development they get largely depends on their popularity. The various events and the daily 4-koma provide most of the characterization. There's no main story to speak of, but I guess you can't expect that much from a card battler.

The character designs are generally quite good. They're angling for a range of moe buttons, as you'd expect. Honestly, I prefer the girls in their street clothes as opposed to their stage costumes, but this is The Idolmaster and not The Ordinarygirlmaster. The UI is a bit cluttered, but it was a lot worse when I first started playing. There was an update that went a long way toward cleaning up the presentation. There's not much going on visually, though. Since you can technically find all the cards online, if all you want to do is appreciate the illustrations, then the game isn't necessary.

The standard music and sound effects are decent enough but nothing to write home about. For a while, I was wondering why a game in the Idolmaster series didn't have any actual singing, but there is a sound booth with various character songs, so the core premise isn't entirely divorced from the game's content.

The game does have a Chrome App variant for those of you who would prefer to play on your PC, as I do. You can't link your account to other games for collaboration events, though, but there are ways around it.

As a game, there's not much to speak of here, but if you like the characters (possibly if you were brought in by the TV series) and have a "gotta catch 'em all" mentality, you may find yourself sinking a lot of time in this. Because of the limited gameplay aspect and not good overall narrative, I can't give this a strong recommendation, but as a time-waster, it's not too bad. I wouldn't recommend putting down any money for it, though.