WARNING: Long post up ahead!
“Blogging is fun,” I said. “I’m not busy; I’ll have time to update once a week,” I said.
Banana from a month ago clearly lacked hella foresight.
In between moving back into my house towards the end of renovations and trying to clean up and sort my belongings, I’ve recently found myself playing more and more mobile games. It’s kind of weird, I’ve never been a big fan of phone games, mainly because I’ve always found them difficult to invest in, and the fact that most games require an internet connection really… is pretty heavy on the phone bill, to say the least. But now that life is more stable (also, Home is Where the WiFi is), I guess that’s what made it easier to get into these?
Well, maybe. I mean, aside from the two games I’m going to be talking about, I’ve also been playing Pokemon Rumble World and Pokemon Shuffle, both free to download for the Nintendo 3DS. Those play a lot like cellphone games too, but I guess the latter (?) is Nintendo’s Puzzles & Dragons import (?) for the 3DS, or something. (Also, I’m not a big fan of phone games changing platforms, but here we are.) Maybe my tastes and attention span have changed? Well, whatever.
Post Disclaimer: How do Japanese language, and I generally get pretty gross about games and stuff. Whatever y’all. My blog, my rules.
(No, but seriously. Neither of these games have been localized in English, so I’ve taken a lot of liberties with romanizing names and stuff. I hate katakana.)
(Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru Hyaku-nin no Ōji-sama
lit. Dream Country and 100 Sleeping Princes)
The world that the heroine on the way home from work suddenly appeared in… That was the “Dream World,” where “Dreams” are a person’s life source. Currently, the Dream World’s citizen’s dreams are being eaten These so-called “Dream Eaters” threaten their existence. Despite being confused, the heroine While awakening the sleeping princes, Together, will take the dreams back.
That’s the prologue on the game’s website, but in reality it’s like… it’s like someone decided to mix an otome game, Puzzles & Dragons, and LINE’s Pokopang into one. (This is the way I described it to a very dear friend, who in turn told me, “Isn’t that just LINE TsumTsum?” No, friends. It is not. プーさんとでーとしたくねぇ)
On the train home from work, you black out and suddenly find yourself face-to-face with a small, rabbit-like… stuffed toy? Although he says he’s not a stuffed toy. (No, not we’re not talking about this guy.) He introduces himself as Nabi (ナビ), your… butler, and tells you that you are the princess of Troimea (トロイメア). Then stuff happens, and suddenly you’re on an adventure to save the world from dream eaters, with a bunch of princes you’ve awakened. … I’m kind of in the middle of an Alice in Wonderland-themed event right now, you see, so I haven’t… actually progressed with the story much at all… Although I do personally find it interesting! And there are some princes that you can only get by progressing with the story, and I kind of want Shigure ASAP…
Like the title says, there are like, a million different princes. They’re not only found in the main story, too. There are a bunch of events and quests you can set out on to
gather awaken more princes, especially rare ones! I’ve only gotten three event princes so far–Jay, Dormouse, and Chrono. They have a gacha too, much like PAD, where you can use either friend coins or magic stones to pull princes!
You can also compete with your friends with daily challenges that reward you with ring shards! If you have enough ring shards, you can get a reward over at the gacha page. Today’s mission was to play five times!
Just wait for me, Edmund.
… The characters’ proportions can get pretty unnerving sometimes, and by that I mean Lido’s legs are… terrifyingly… weird. (I don’t even want to take a screencap.) I try not to think about it much, though, since I have enough fun playing LOL. Also, when your princes reach their level cap, you can transform them into higher-level, sun or moon-based princes as long as you have all the required items, depending on your answers to them during the ~otoge part~ of the game! (Chapters of which you unlock by leveling up, by the way.)
I recently transformed Avi and Jay!
You don’t necessarily have to keep your original princes, especially considering that you only initially have 30 slots for members. Unless you want to shell out magical stones for more space, it’s good to keep track of all the princes, cats, and fairies you have in your… inventory. (Welp.) This is where training comes in. It’s the fastest way to level up in the game (and get rid of your extra team members aside from letting them go), but it’s so shady. What happens when you pair one prince up with another prince? Does one eat the other? Why does one disappear? How mysterious.
Disclaimer: I don’t endorse cannibalism.
Playing is practically the same as LINE Pokopang, except that the enemies come in several waves, and each of your party members have a special skill that you can trigger when their respective gauges are full. Like PAD, you get to pick a companion prince from either your friends list, or from strangers who… are there. LOL. The otome game aspect is what makes it difficult, to be honest, because sometimes… you just can’t be bothered… to read what’s going on… you feel. This could be in English and I’d still have the same problem. LOL
My chapter backlog is getting too long, omg.
It’s hard to get bored of this game, to be honest. There’s just so much to do, yet I have so little energy (in-game, of course). Aside from events, the story, and challenge mode, the game has daily training quests you can do to get either tutor cats or fairies for when you transform. And each time you unlock a new area on the map, there’s a free play option, where you collect all the available prizes from the stage to get an even bigger prize.
But I feel like what I’ve talked about is only scratching the surface of what this game is all about, so I’d suggest that you play it yourselves. (I mean, look at that cast!)And tell me your friend codes. (Please, I literally know only two people who play this game. IT’S SO LONELY.)
(lit. Ensemble Stars)
Facing the sea, standing on a hill, is Yumenosaki Private Academy. Specializing in male idol training, the school carries a history of bringing generations of talented youth overflowing with talent like glittering stars into the entertainment world. You transferred into Yumenosaki Academy, and are a schoolgirl with a special situation. With the idols you meet at Yumenosaki Academy, play in youth’s ensemble and enjoy to your heart’s content.
tl;dr, 育てて男性アイドル。Meet my sons. All of them. These are all my sons (except Chiaki).
【L→R】Yūki Makoto, Hokuto Hidaka, Subaru Akehoshi, Mao Isara
Trickstar ➽ I actually don’t know what their theme is supposed to be… Uh, there’s a lot of plaid and argyle going on here… Um, private school chic? They’re all second years, but first three are in the same class (Hokuto’s the class president, and he affectionately calls the other two the アホコンビ/idiot pair), while Mao’s in another (he’s part of the student council, as the treasurer). Maybe they’re called Trickstar because they tend to be… er, the center of trouble, sometimes. (They’re the ~main group~ when it comes to the story!)
【L→R】Yuzuru Fushimi, Eichi Tenshōin, Tori Himemiya, Wataru Hibiki
fine ➽ The school’s top group, or so I’ve heard. (Most people I know like UNDEAD or RYŪSEITAI more, but what do I know.) Eichi is the student council president, Tori is the student council brat/secretary, Yuzuru is his butler (and practically the student council’s real secretary), and Wataru… is that one eccentric uncle with a talking pet bird. (jk, he’s the head of the drama club, but he really is rather eccentric.) They’re probably the ~most popular~ because of Eichi, let’s be real here. (I like Wataru the best though.) Also, fine is kind of a weird name, but I’ve heard worse.
【L→R】Adonis Otogari, Koga Ōgami, Rei Sakuma, Kaoru Hakaze
UNDEAD ➽ I’m not gonna comment on their clothes. Most people I know seem to really like Ōgami, even though he’s… actually kind of a giant nerd child. (SPOILER: Apparently, Rei ties him up when you reach level 34. I really, really don’t want to know why.) Rei is Ritsu’s older brother, even though the latter kind of brushes off the vampire ossan. Adonis is actually a Giant Baby despite of what your first impression might be, and Kaoru… is kind of… coquettish, so I’m not particularly interested in him. Oops. I don’t know what the deal with Adonis and Kaoru is, but there’s a vampire ossan and a werewolf man, so that’s probably why they’re called UNDEAD.
【L→R】Ritsu Sakuma, Arashi Narukami, Izumi Sena, Tsukasa Suō
Knights ➽ Ritsu is Rei’s younger brother, and is always asleep. Same, Ritsu, same. Arashi’s kind of like… a big sister (I wish I was joking, but that’s what the official website calls him). Izumi is Ōgami when it isn’t a full moon, but only in terms of appearance, because he has quite the sharp tongue. Tsukasa is that one kid who keeps speaking in English and really needs to stop calling me onee-sama. Seriously. Tsukasa’s random English throws me off while reading, and even I get confused. Since their group name is Knights, you’d expect them to be, er, knightly, but I think only really Arashi and Tsukasa [barely] fit the description.
Interestingly enough, all groups have leaders, but Knights’s leader has yet to make an appearance. Wow. It is a mystery.
【L→R】Kanata Shinkai, Tetora Nagumo, Chiaki Morisawa, Shinobu Sengoku, Midori Takamine
RYŪSEITAI ➽ POWER RANGERS. Kanata is the blue ranger, and is kind of… airheaded, to say the least, and has an extreme fascination with marine life! (In short, he is me, except 10000x cuter. Also, this explains why he’s the blue ranger. Also, his signature is THE CUTEST and he “talks” in hiragana, which makes life easier, and this is the part where I stop.) Tetora is the black ranger, a hot-blooded karate child. Chiaki is the red ranger, and that means obviously means he’s the leader! He’s also… er, very touchy-feely, and the captain of the basketball team (? Whatever, I love him.) Shinobu is the yellow ranger, and is… obviously trying to be a ninja, and is in fact the only member of the ninja club! Will he ever outgrow his chuuni stage (I hope not)? Stay tuned to find out. Lastly, we have Midori (isn’t he supposed to be in Twinstar with the rest of the swimming club?), the sonnest son of them all, my handson grandson. He became an idol by accident, and because of that, he must be protected at all costs.
NEGL, I’m… really glad… that they aren’t actual Power Rangers… because… I wouldn’t feel very safe. Sorry, guys.
【L→R】Hajime Shino, Mitsuru Tenma, Nazuna Nito, Tomoya Mashiro
Ra*bits ➽ Don’t these guys belong in kindergarten? (jk, maybe more like elementary school. Their uniforms are approaching Tomoeda level, y’know.) Hajime is a Pure Cinnamon Roll, Too Beautiful For This World. Mitsuru admires Chiaki, maybe. I think he’s the one who always goes “DASHDASHDASH”? Slow down, son. Nazuna’s the only senior amongst the first year kids in this group, and that probably gave him a complex. (For the record, he likes being addressed as お兄ちゃん. Or was it お兄さん? お兄様???) And Tomoya’s probably the most normal person at this school, save Midori.
Everyone in this group is taller than me. I don’t understand.
【L→R】Yūta Aoi, Kanata Aoi
2wink ➽ … I’m just gonna throw this out there, but that is one really unfortunate name. (… You know what, let’s just… not talk about it, shall we?) Yūta is the younger, quieter twin, while Kanata is the older and louder twin. Except for their faces, they’re not actually very similar at all. (I feel like Yūta is so tired of Kanata’s shenanigans, but this seems to be a trend when it comes to sibling relationships in this game, doesn’t it?) The twins are so so so precious, but since character events are one-on-one, I can’t really see their appeal as a group that emphasizes on their ~twinliness~. Also, their nails are painted according to their assigned color and I think that’s super cute.
【L→R】Keito Hasumi, Kuro Kiryu, Sōma Kanzaki
Akatsuki ➽ No, not that Akatsuki. For some reason, Keito just really, really gets on my nerves. (Okay, okay, I’m just not a fan of smug-looking glasses characters.) Apparently, Sōma really looks up to Kanata, which is really cute.
At the start of the game, they ask you to pick a group, and they pull your first 4☆ card from said group. Naturally, I picked Ryūseitai. Because Meteors. Duh! (That, and I have a very soft spot for stuff like Super Sentai.) And thankfully, I got their leader, Chiaki! 🙏🙌🙏🙌 Love that Chiaki.
Onto the actual gameplay. Let me just say that if you’re going into this game looking for Love Live! except with dudes, this isn’t that. It’s a card game, to say the least. (And on that note, I’m going to affectionately start calling Izumi Blue Eyes White Dragon from now on.) You level up the cards through something called “producing”, and once they hit their MAX level, you can raise their stats even higher through something called Idol Road! Idol road doesn’t only give you higher stats, but depending on the card you have, it can unlock other costumes, backgrounds, and voice snippets. You do need jewels for this though, but those are things you can collect through producing.
By having higher-powered cards, you can find success at the game’s Dream Festival, where you’re pitted against other players. Dream Festival… is kind of like… a…
hoedown throwdown. (I’m kidding.) Battles work like this: there are five rounds in a battle, and you’re only allowed to play each of the five cards in your deck once. There’s a determined category (vocals, dancing, and um, performance, whatever that means) for each round that you can see before the battle starts. Keeping this in mind (and looking at your opponent’s cards’s star rating!), pick the card you think will win you a round! Winning 3 battles out of five makes you the winner, and you’re awarded with something called Produce Points~. Though I’m gonna be honest and say I SUCK AT DREAM FEST SO MUCH LOL. They always pit me against people whose power is at least 20k above mine (well, now that I’ve leveled up, that’s changed, but still). Where Is The Justice, tbh!!!! (basilyo-lord_patawad.mp3)
I covered other people’s names for their safety. Please download ハンカメ. You will regret nothing.
Now these produce points can be used on Scout Gacha. Have you ever seen those capsule toys at the mall that dispense toy-filled capsules when you put in money/tokens and turn the knob? That’s exactly how it works. (Uh, except that the guys don’t come out of a machine in a plastic ball. That’s just sad.) There are three kinds of gacha–the diamond gacha, which guarantees higher-level cards, 10 000 PP gacha, which guarantees that you get at least a 3☆ card, and plain old gacha, where you get… um… cards. You can get diamonds from producing, or you can buy them will real people money.
And get this: Ensemble Stars limits your spending depending on how old you are! I can’t believe I can only spend 20 000円 on diamonds and stuff because I’m under 20!1!! (Jk, I don’t have that kind of money anyway. And even if I did, I doubt I’d be spending it on fictional idol boys.) (Maybe.)
Oh, and by increasing ~trust~ (or something) with the characters, you get to unlock side stories and voice snippets! (Which is very much worth it if you’re into seiyū, I think. I mean, look at that cast.) Also it’s worth noting that I’m at lvl 31, and save for the few guys who call me uh, ね〜ちゃん, 嬢ちゃん, and uh… テメェ, they won’t calling me 転校生 (transfer student). (I have Chiaki at lvl 9 but he still calls me transfer student. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!!)
But that’s the bare bones of it. There’s actually a lot to do in Ensemble Stars, especially if you’re keen on completing each producing course 100%. (2x FEVER in one course is a pain in the booty, I know, but you get the hang of it eventually.) Since it was just released recently so I’m looking forward to how it develops! There’s an event coming up with Hokuto as a promo, and hopefully that means more free diamonds!
As for the story… well… to tell the truth, I don’t have the patience to read walls of text in Japanese. When I feel motivated, I’ll go back to reread chapters I’ve unlocked so I can actually understand what’s going on. (+++ when you read a chapter for the first time, you get 200 PP! Nice.) The animation is smooth and the art is crisp and clean, making the entire game very easy on the eyes.
I’ll have to leave you with this note: fictional boys are actually Very Stressful. Take caution.