Ai Chu is a rhythm game with a hint of romance, where you, the player, is the Producer/Teacher for these ‘Idols in training’ ranging from different ages and personalities. This mobile game was released late June, 2015 but because my internet ran out of data just before its release, only recently have I been getting into. Now that I played enough of it to understand how it plays and it’s mechanics, I’ll break it down in a way that I have come to understand it but is prolly inaccurate. I’ll review it some other day because I have a feeling this breakdown will take a while.
This’ll be my first break down and it’s a long one so please bear with me lol.
So what is Ai Chu? What does Ai Chu even mean? I still don’t have the slightest idea. At first I thought the title was just cute nonsense: 愛 (love) and misread チュウ as チュ (kiss) but it’s explained later that it just an abbreviation that goes along the lines of ‘Idol in the midst of training’, which is used as a collective term for the main guys. Who would’ve thunk it. But I’ll still romanize it to Ai Chu rather than Ai Chuu.
The gameplay is a bit complicated but simple, if that makes sense. Gameplay consists of rhythm sections that are sung by different Units, story sections, gachas, character cards & rarities and a friend system. If it wasn’t for Koe Kare I would have no idea how character cards work and how to get up their rarities, however in Ai Chu it’s best for me to throw out some bits I’ve learnt from Koe Kare because in this game they do things a bit different.
Rarities consist of ‘groups’
- N – Normal
- R – Rare
- SR – Super Rare
- LE –
??? I have no idea what LE stands forLegend Rare (?)
On top of that, within these groups you can upgrade the card’s rarity, but they can only be upgraded to one higher rarity within it’s rarity group… or so that’s how I think it goes. The process of upgrading a card’s rarity is called “change” and requires two of the same rarity cards of the same character.
However you cannot use two RR cards to form an SR card because it’s not within the rarity group (I think that’s why, I’m not sure). I think the only way to gain an SR card is through gacha/scouting.
So with that information rarity upgrades go as following:
- N -> HN (High Normal)
- R -> RR (Double Rare)
- SR -> UR (Ultra Rare)
- LE -> GR (God Rare)
I’m not kidding its actually called 「ゴッドレア」
Character cards come in three styles: Wild (red), Pop (yellow) and Cool (blue). A Character card that is blue specialises in ‘Cool’ and will have a higher cool value than a card that may specialise in Wild or Pop. Levelling up character cards will level up their stats, skill points and HP.
One thing about these character cards is that the N rarity is reserved for アイ★キッズ (Idol Kids). These kids are not voiced and are mainly used for lessons or as I would call it, cannibalism lol. Ai Kids are more like Idols in training for babbies, so they’re part of another section of the school (whose name I cannot read for the life of me and can’t remember. I apologise 許せ♪（＾ω＾）ニコッ) that specialises in training kids from elementary school (4 years old) to middle school (14 years old) to become idols who then go into studying into the mainstream course, where the main guys are… I think thats how it works.
When I first played the game with these kids in my team my first impression was (;;;ﾟДﾟ)＜Who let these toddlers on the stage?! It’s so weird to have them around too. I guess if you want to read their stories you’d keep them, but seeing they come so abundantly and are kind of weak they’re more useful as exp fuel for your main guys lol. I only made HN cards for each kid and cannibalized the extras. Sadly Ai Kids do not go any higher than HN.
Bear Principal….. thing–
So the Principal, who wears a bear mascot suit for some reason, has a set of cards too?! However they cannot be used in lives like the Ai Kids or Ai Chuus, he’s more or less used for cannibalism lol. Depending on the type of card, he can grant special upgrades to the card you want to level up. So far I’ve seen him level up one of my card’s skill, but I’m not sure what else he does.
Rarities SR cards and up are dedicated to the main guys, Ai Chuu. I mainly use these guys for lives/rhythm games because they can be unbelievably stronk with each rarity and can improve your score quite a bit with skills that activate during a live and group attributes when a team has all the members of a Group/Unit.
LE cards and up have CGs as their card illustrations rather than the usual sprite. Of course LE cards are card to come by, especially when you have to spend premium tickets which are also hard to save up when they’re given out very little. The royal gacha has about 30% chance on getting a LE, tho it costs about 5 tickets per turn and theres always the possibility on getting just an SR card (I got an SR Seiya card when I was hoping to get Satsuki, tough luck).
Scouting/Gacha & Currency
There are about three main currencies (actually there’s 4 but these main three are used for gachas) in Ai Chu, the one that’s easy to come by is Friend Points. Friend points can be gained so easily I sometimes forget that I am even receiving any rewards and find myself with 2000+ friend points. They can be gained as rewards from clearing ranks in lives/songs, through friends, reading story parts, daily missions etc. The two others that are hard to come by are Ai Chuu Disks and Premium tickets (which are tough to get). Disks can be gained as rewards from clearing ranks, reading stories, daily log in, daily missions etc. Premium tickets on the other hand can be given out rarely when completing a story part, through daily log ins and possibly bought with real money (though I haven’t done that and don’t plan to no matter how desperate).
There are three kinds of gachas available:
- Normal Scout– Can be turned for free once a day | 1 turn for 100 points, 2~10 turns for 200~1,000 points (max is 10 turns for 1,000 points)
- N and R cards can be gained here
- Bear Principal cards are also gained here
- Premium Scout– Consumes both disks and premium tickets | 1 turn for 5 disks, 11 turns for 50 disks / 1 turn for 1 ticket, 2 turns for 2 tickets
- R and SR cards can be gained here
- At least one SR card is guaranteed during an 11 turn Scout
- Not sure what is the difference between using disks and tickets. I used one ticket for 1 turn and got a regular R card so I’m not sure if using a ticket increases your chances in getting an SR or possibly an LE
- LE cards can also pop up during a Premium Scout (You have a better chance with an 11 turn Scout)
- Royal Scout– 1 turn for 5 tickets, ?? for ?? (I’ve yet to see a second option)
- SR cards and LE cards can be gained here
- Event Scout– 1 turn for 5 disks, 11 turns for 50 disks
- These are limited time only scouts with limited time only cards
- Event Scouts work just like Premium Scouts, however they do not take tickets
- SR and LE event cards can be gained here but theres always a chance on getting regular R cards
- I’d advise on saving up for a 11 turn Scout, you get a better chance on getting event cards amongst the regular cards
Of course the No.1 currency that comes in such abundance that I have no idea what to do with it is coins. Coins can be gained in almost the same way as Friend Points as well as at the end of songs, no matter what rank you clear. What am I to do with all these coins? Well, use them to upgrade my cards of course (Sadly I still have a lot of coins afterwards).
Ai Chuu Menu/Upgrades
The “Ai Chuu Menu” is the fourth icon from the home button and is the place where you can modify your teams and upgrade/level up your cards. I’d recommend to use it’s service often because cards can pile up quickly and you’ll be drowning in kids.
Actions with Ai Kids&Ai Chuus are as shown:
- This option allows you to modify your teams. Teams consist of 6 characters and there are 6 team slots you can save. You can appoint leaders to each team. The leader of a team gets the most love points out of the team (love points are used to unlock love storylines).
- Lessons are preformed here. This is where you choose the card you wish to level up and choose up to 12 other cards to cannibalize. Of course, the characters don’t really each other lol. Just think of it as idol lessons with other characters and when its over those characters just poof into a pile of smoke never to be seen again. Cards that have been locked cannot be selected to be sacrificed. When sacrificing rare cards a prompt will pop up asking if you’re sure you want to continue knowing theres a rare card amongst the selected cards to be sacrificed.
Coins are consumed during this action. Amount of coins depends on the amount of cards, rarity and possibly level.
- This is where you change the rarity of a card. Cards that cannot be upgraded into a new rarity will be blacked out while those that are available to be upgraded are selectable. Only two cards of the same character and rarity group can be selected.
Coins are consumed during this action. Amount of coins depends on the cards rarity.
- This is where you sacrifice cards for coins. ‘Nuff said.
- Here you can view the cards you currently have & their profiles/skills/stats. You can lock cards here so they won’t be sacrificed accidentally.
- This is your card album. Here you can see which cards you have received and their profiles even if you have sacrificed them to the great beyond. It also helps to see which cards you have yet collected and so on.
- Group is where you can see each unit’s profile. I haven’t looked at it much so I can’t remember the details.
Main Storyline & Love Storyline
The main storyline unlocks as you level up. I was already 10 levels deep into Ai Chu before I realised “Oh yeah, this game has a story doesn’t it?”, so I’m not sure how the early chapters were supposed to be unlocked. But from what I’ve gathered, each chapter consists of about three parts. The first part unlocks when you clear the main song for the chapter on easy (for the first chapter that would be ‘I am a Hero’ by F∞F), from then on the next two parts will unlock depending on your level. So far for the later chapters I’ve noticed that they unlock on odd numbers (lv 13, 15 etc), so keep that in mind.
The first few chapters are just introductions to the characters and their units and for the most part the Protagonist (aka you, the player) is nowhere to be seen or mentioned yet you still have to choose dialogue choices for other characters lol what? I’m not sure what those options are for, I mean you could go back and pick a different option… right? I’m not sure, I’m just confused (´・ω・`)
The love storylines unlock when you fill up a character’s love meter (I’m just gonna call it that for now) and gain a full heart. After each live, your team gets love points. I’m still unsure what influences the number of love points given but I’ve noticed the harder the song you clear the more love points are given out. As mentioned before team leaders gain the most love points (the base value of love points given out) and the rest of the team gets what seems about 1/4 of love points lol
Love storylines are split up in chapters depending on rarity. For example, R/RR has only 1 chapter consisting of three parts, SR/UR has only 1 chapter consisting of three parts and so on. If you own cards with the base rarity (N, R, SR, LE) you can only unlock 1 part of that rarity’s love/chapter. Having both the base rarity and upgraded rarity gives you all three hearts for you to fill up instead of the single one with a base rarity.
Ai Kids also get the chance for… love? I don’t know, I see them more as character stories because they’re kids. One chapter per kid, 3 parts in total. Not much of character development, maybe… Ai Kids really don’t get much love now do they? (´；д；｀)
Interestingly enough, there are some parts that have randomly spoken sentences. However you have to download those sound files, but good thing you can say no and just skip out on it.
The only downside about chapters by rarity group is that it’ll prolly take forever until I get an SR card of someone I like, let alone two. Getting just one LE card is beyond me.
The Rhythm Game
Ah yes, now how does the Rhythm game hold up? Let’s just say it’s ok, not too bad, except for some things that are holding it back *coughlagcough*. I was expecting the worst but it’s playable and even alright? I’m not sure, I was never good at rhythm games and I never will be.
You have three modes for the main lives: Easy, Normal and Hard. Easy doesn’t throw shit at you, normal gives a bit of difficulty and hard is…. well, just don’t blink at all during hard mode. Aside from main lives you also have daily lives that change each day. Daily lives have an extra difficulty: Expert, a mode I have yet to experience and don’t want to experience.
Each difficulty takes up different amounts of LP. Easy takes 5 LP, Normal: 10 LP, Hard: 15 LP and Expert takes 20 LP. In the beginning you start off with very little LP, so as you gain ranks/levels your LP grows a little but not a lot. I’m at Rank18 and I have about 30+LP. LP takes about 5 minutes to regenerate 1 whole LP and levelling up stores your LP to max. The game gives you some restoring items (theres an item that restors about 50% and another that restores to max) but that only happens sometimes. You can restore LP with Ai Chuu Disks but seriously why would you? ≧(´▽｀)≦ｱﾊﾊﾊ
Explaining how lives are played out is gonna be difficult but all you gotta do is just hit the incoming icon note when it reaches to the circle spot at the bottom. Icon beats come in at the same rhythm of the song, sometimes more frequent depending on the difficulty. There are three types of icon beats, the normal one that just needs to be tapped at the beat, the ones that need to be held down and then released and then the ones that need to be tapped simultaneously as a parallel incoming icon note that always messes me up. Then you have the simultaneous incoming notes that must be held down and different variations that just messes with me.
HP is the amount of times you can mess up before you fail the live. The amount of HP depends on your team, each card has an amount of HP. Weak cards have little HP while stronger cards have a bit more. When going into a live you can choose a random player or one of your friends to borrow their main leader’s card which will give you an added HP and stat bonus. So it’s best to look out for the player with the best card skills/stats/HP when going for harder songs.
Getting Perfect & Great combos are key to this game. Getting a good combo breaks the combo, getting a bad or miss affects your HP. Even if you may get an S Rank score, if you falter at least once or twice or more it’ll affect your combo rank and your total rank. Combos…. they mean so much. Everything relies on your combos.
More or less, it is important where and how often you break your combo. Breaking your combo in the middle of the live/song will result in a C or D rank depending on how often you mess up. In my experience, breaking my combo (getting one GOOD) really early into the live or at the last second gave me an S rank either way as long as everything after/before that was a full combo.
Even if you may get a good combo, your team must be strong so you can get a good score. Your score is based on your team’s stats in wild, pop and cool, depending on the type of song you are playing. When I first played I was shocked to find I got a bad ranking because my team failed me. So it’s not only about your skill but also the team you have.
Your team is important. Some members have skills that heals your HP, boosts your score for a short time etc. Having a team that has all of the members of a group also brings privileges. An example is Twinkle Bell’s special team skill is to boost the total score just a bit. It’s quite helpful but I can’t help but feel like I’m cheating in some way lol
And that’s about it for the breakdown. I know I left out some stuff out but I think it’s getting a little bit too long and my mind is all empty now. For those who read the whole lot, you have my thanks. More or less I was planning to write this a few days back but I kept on finding different stuff about Ai Chu as I went deeper into its hell. Hopefully this might clear some stuff for some people, then again some of these are just my speculation and they’re prolly not accurate.
Next time I’ll write up a review/opinion on Ai Chu because boy oh boy… do I have a lot to say about it (´∠_｀;) But I don’t think I’ll do it for my next post, I have something else in mind and I hope I actually go through with it.
So expect some stuff in the future.