The IDOLM@STER Million Live Theater Days – First Impressions

MAXIMUM PRODUCTION ENGAGE!!!

Hey all! Rab here. Sorry for not posting recently, been busy with lots of stuff. But a new mobile rhythm game came out today in Japan that’s part of The IDOLM@STER franchise, and I just had to talk about it!

So if ya don’t know what The IDOLM@STER is, then Google is your friend. The gist of it has you, the player, take the role of the Producer as you’re put in charge of a bunch of blossoming idols, of which you must train to blossom even further until they’re popular and awesome! You of course, will engage in many scenarios with your Idols, as you learn more about them and make them happy! 

At least, the console games are like that I think. As for the two major mobile games The IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage and The IDOLM@STER Million Live Theater Days (yes, the one that this post is about), the basic premise of being a fledgeling Producer put in charge of an Idol group remains the same. However, these games differ in the fact that they’re straight up rhythm games instead of the coaching you would do in the console games, with a Gacha available to recruit new Idols. 
I played Starlight Stage quite a lot, honestly! The game has been out for a few years now and featured all the Idols (and then some) from the titular Cinderella Girls subseries. The game features high quality 3D models of all the Idols, on top of VA work and a 5 Button Rhythm Game! The reason I talk about Starlight Stage is because Theater Days borrows a lot from that game.

What makes Theater Days different is the fact that none of the Cinderella Girls are present! Nope, the Million Live subseries features Idols from the main The IDOLM@STER franchise (765PRO) alongside a host of brand new Idols exclusive to this subseries. The main 3 Idols of Million Live being Mirai Kasuga, Shizuka Mogami, and Tsubasa Ibuki.

Shizuka, Mirai, and Tsubasa.

These are the 3 Idols introduced to you at the start of Theatre Days, and you get to choose which one will be your groups Center. This basically means “choose your favorite!” and since I don’t know any of them, I opted to go with Tsubasa. Just because she seemed fun! Regardless, you obtain Rare versions of the 3, with Tsubasa automatically set as your Center. You can get other Idols, or even higher or lower Ranks of these 3, from the Gacha!

The Gacha, like the one from Starlight Stage, requires 2500 Platinum Gems for a full 11 Gacha Pull, or just 250 for one. Of course you can buy these Platinum Gems, or alternatively, you can earn them through interacting with your Idols, going through their stories, or playing LIVES. LIVES are the main rhythm game, where your group of 5 Idols go out and perform for a live audience! Hence the name “LIVES.”

A LIVE being played in Portrait Mode.

Unlike in Starlight Stage, where you only had the option of playing the game with 5 buttons in Landscape Mode (that is, holding your phone horizontally), Theatre Days gives you a lot more options for playing! Now you can play the game in Portrait Mode (that is, holding your phone vertically), but you are limited to only 2 Buttons for play. As you play in Portrait Mode, you unlock 2 Button+ Mode, which is a more difficult 2 Button Mode.

Landscape Mode also has several more options. You can indeed play 2 Button Mode in Landscape Mode, as well as 4 Button and 6 Button Modes. Of course, the more Buttons, the more you’ll be tapping or dragging all over the screen. Whichever mode you play, the game remains the same: tap the buttons in time with the song, represented by falling circles. Tap the circle when it’s just about in the center of a button to get a PERFECT, and keep it up without missing a circle to build up a combo!

You are rewarded a lot more by getting a FULL COMBO, which means hitting every single Circle in the Song without any BAD or MISS. If you hit the Button when the circle isn’t all the way in the Button, you could also get GREAT or GOOD, which don’t ruin your Combo, but also don’t give as much points as a PERFECT would. Managing to get a FULL COMBO with all PERFECT is one impressive feat, I’d say! Since I haven’t been able to do it yet…

One of the “Story Mode” scenes, featuring the Idols training.

Anyways, the game features… a story mode, I guess. Not so much a story mode really, but it does follow the main 3 Idols of the game as they get over their faults, usually with the help of the more experienced Idols in 765PRO. If you don’t know about 765PRO, the group consists of the Idols from the original The IDOLM@STER games, as well as the Idols features in the anime and movie. Basically, they’re the Idols that EVERYONE knows about in regards to the entire franchise.

Of course, you can acquire the Idols from 765PRO just as well as any original Idols. One thing that I think Theater Days butchered from Starlight Stage is the Idol Room. In Starlight Stage, the Idol Room has 2D chibi versions of the Idols roaming around a customizable office room. You could use the generic money you get from gameplay to buy furniture or objects for the Idols to interact with. My personal favorite was a little piece of a castle that the Idols would hop onto, then sudden their clothes would transform into that of a prince’s, prompting them to strike a pose until it wore off. The Taiko no Tatsujin Arcade Cabinet is a close second.

The “Idol Room” in Million Live Theater Days.

But Theater Days unfortunately doesn’t have this mode. Instead, the Idol Room is the main menu of the game, where you can see your Idols (and even Idols you don’t have) roaming about. You can switch between several other locations to find any of your Idols who happen to want to talk to you. Talking to Idols raises your Medal Meter a tiny bit, of which filling it to the top will reward you with a Medal that can be used for a Special Gacha. This is also where you go to progress through the Story. 

The problem with this Idol Room is that the customization is gone, and you can’t really see your Idols do stupid stuff like have a Jenga battle with plushies or turn into prince’s. The Idols instead talk amongst one another (a good time to let you know that Theater Days features full voice acting), while occasionally doing other things like sitting down and texting. Speaking of texting, you can receive texts from your Idols when you interact with them in certain ways, such as going through their substories. These texts usually feature screenshots from the Lives they just performed, as well as a ton of emojis.

A text from Shizuka. She’s more serious than most, so her text unfortunately isn’t filled to the brim with emojis.

I like the text feature, especially since you can like the messages sent to you… for some reason. But still, you can’t customize the Idol Room, which is unfortunate. Well, one of the prompts did show that you could slowly change things such as adding a flower pot… wow, what customization.

Another thing to note is that your Idols ALWAYS appear in 3D. The models are very high quality, and considering that the Idols are the only 3D models in the game aside from the Stages, it’s a given why they’re so high quality. This might be a problem for folk with weaker Smart Devices, but there are plenty of options you can tinker with. You can customize how your Idols are rendered, from low resolution (or as the game puts it, Lightweight) to the Highest possible quality. If the Lives are too intensive on your device, you can even set the Idols to Super Lightweight and even 2D! Get rid of 3D altogether! But only for LIVES, not anywhere else.

The LIVE Quality Settings change how the Idols appear in the Gameplay portions of the game. There’s a separate Quality Settings screen for how the Idols appear in cutscenes and the Idol Room.

I haven’t tried 2D, but the default Lightweight setting wasn’t too bad a drop in quality. I mean, if you could handle the jaggies from the lower resolution model. I set it to High Quality (just below Highest) for now, and the game runs fine. I also recorded a whole song, which you can check out down below!

Aside from all that, I do believe that’s all! I think I covered all the bases, anyway. I do think the game is a huge improvement over Starlight Stage, especially since I tend to like the original 765PRO Idols over the Cinderella Girls. I also mean that in terms of songs, but I haven’t heard any familiar songs in Theater Days yet, if they’re even in this game.

Overall, I think the game is very high quality! It’s really matter of preference of course; do you like Cinderella Girls, or Million Live? Or just get both, but that’d definitely cost you a ton of space on your phone or tablet! For now though, I’ll continue playing Theater Days since I want to get some of my favorite idols,and hopefully a chance to play my favorite songs!

With all that said, thanks for reading this post! I play a good amount of Japanese mobile games, so feel free to offer suggestions for ones you’d like my opinion on! Otherwise, I’ll take time to post once a week about a game I play often, like DanMachi Memoria Freeze, Yo-kai Watch PuniPuni, and Kinmoza Memories! I will also be giving impressions on regular PC games that I’ve been playing recently, from classics such as Half-Life to newer games like Wolfenstein: The New Order!

Until then, thank you for reading and see ya’ll later!

The Theater where most of the LIVES take place.

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