mobile · otome gaming · review

[Mobile] Review- アイ★チュウ – Ai Chuu (I Chu)

I wish I knew how to quit you.

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This review has been a long time coming but hey I’m finally writing after playing it for a little bit longer and now I’ve come to a final verdict: Its a nice rhythm game but I can’t see myself playing it anymore… or I would say that until just now did I found out that you could turn off the one thing that lets down the game aka the effects used in the lives/songs that just lags the hell out of it.

Only as I was writing this review did I find out you can actually turn off the effects and holy hell does it make a difference. I’ll address the problems I came across with Ai Chuu before this revelation later, but before going on with the review here’s a diagram on how to turn off effects to improve gameplay:

diagram

I haven’t really fiddled with the cut-ins options so I’m not sure what the middle one is (I think it’s no cut-in picture but skill name), but the one on the left is “no cut-ins” and the one on the right is the default showing cut-in picture and skill name. The one on the bottom fixes the game’s rhythm timing, or so I think because I haven’t really fooled around with it. Anyway if you are experiencing lag or crashes it’s best to turn off the live effects because oh boy do they really break the game, but I’ll explain that later.

Ver: 1.0.7 Update | 7th August 2015

As of version 1.0.7, there are added options that modify Ai Chuu’s performance. The game is now set on default to 60fps as opposed to what it was before (possibly set at 30fps) as well as the added option of playing Ai Chuu at its max frame rate (something I have yet tried to do because I’m afraid my iPod might blow a fuse).

1.0.7update

Another option was added to Live Effects, the left option excludes background animation (aka crowds and other animated background objects) as well as having no live effects.

Try messing around the options to see which best improves its performance. In my opinion I just stuck to 30fps and no background animation/effects because I’m using an iPod and its prolly not the best hardware to play Ai Chuu on. For those who are experiencing heavy lag I’d recommend using 30fps and no background animation/effects. If you have something like a tablet then go ahead and try playing it in MAXfps or 60fps if you like playing games with high frame rate. For me 60fps was a little to fast to what I was used to, especially when it came to playing on hard difficultly stuff was a bit too fast, but thats just my experience.

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First Impressions

As mentioned in a previous post where I kind of broke the gameplay down, Ai Chuu is a rhythm game and an alright one at that. It’s simple, not a lot of gimmicks going on and at times can be a little bit too easy with the exception of trying to get those S Ranks. I guess it’s a perfect game for those who don’t play rhythm games that often or suck at it like me and if you’re not interested in the rhythm game there’s always the ‘visual novel’ part to it. However, you can’t really get to that part unless you play a few lives/songs to unlock main story lines or character stories/love story lines. On the other hand, the stories are nicely written and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Protagonist/Player have actual dialogue/interaction with other characters( ̄□ ̄;) This is a mobile game, right? Usually the protag is just plain old silent, right? Well I’m not complaining, because it’s less awkward than just seeing the main characters talk to thin air… I’m looking at you Ensemble Stars (jk)

The characters/Ai Chuu’s are interesting to their own degree and you’re prolly bound to find your favorite. You can really get to know some of the characters through their love story lines, but as of now there are about ‘3 Chapters’ per character (which are split into 3 parts) and its kind of a downer when you have their R/RR & SR/UR but can never get their LE/GR unless you pay for more tickets to get a better chance on getting them. So in reality you get about 2 chapters and if you’re really lucky you can get to read their third chapter. If they make more cards in the future then there’ll be more love story lines but until then ??? But that’s just my minor gripe about the love story line and it’s not really game breaking to me, I mean theres about 20+ characters here so i can explore their story lines no biggie.

When I first played it I was so nervous and taken back because I had never played a rhythm game with a touch screen especially when I had my eyes glued so close to the screen of my phone which made it even nerve wrecking, but it was easy to get used to it after a few songs. I’m sure those with experience with these kinds of rhythm games will feel at home but to me it was my first so my palms were sweating and I felt like I was going to die lol. Like I said earlier and prolly in my break down, the controls and rules are simple and not complicated so even those new to rhythm games can take their time to get used to controls and as they move up difficulties they’ll learn different control/rhythm patterns that the games throw at them. In my first week I prolly S ranked all the easy modes and moved onto a couple of normal and a few hard modes, so yeah it’s kind of easy.

Further Gameplay & Problems I came across

So what exactly put me off playing Ai Chuu after about 2~3 weeks of extensive gameplay? Well I guess a lot contributed to it and turned into this one big snowball of “please make it stop” tumbling down the hill to despair. There were things that were game breaking to me and just took me out of the enjoyment of playing it. A lot of happenings made me angry at Ai Chuu but for some reason I couldn’t stay mad at it and continued playing lol Somethings that kind of got to me are as followed:

Are mobile games usually this big?
Are mobile games usually this big?

First off one thing to warn people before getting into Ai Chuu: The amount of downloading and size

There are about three times you have to download Ai Chuu, the first is the initial download from the app store or google play (or qooapp for those who bypass google play’s ridiculous region locking). The second time is when you open the game and the third one is after you finish the tutorial or input your transfer data code. The second and third download takes around 30 minutes each and they’re huge, the game even warns you to use wifi rather than mobile data. Even once you fully download the game, if it updates you’ll have to download yet another big (or small) file to continue playing. For me I had to go through this 3x downloading thing for about maybe 3~4 times because of issues Ai Chuu gave me. The second time was a disaster because the game just updated and I couldn’t install the new update via the qooapp because apparently my game was not installed lol So I couldn’t go into my game and get my ID and transfer code because the game would keep saying “Please update me” and I had to say goodbye to my old progress and start a new account on my new iPod.

this kills the man
this kills the man

Which then goes to another occurence I had with Ai Chuu: It crashes like crazy on my iPod

When I was on my android it seemed alright but the screen was too big for me so I thought “Hey, maybe with this small screen my iPod will be great for it” and at first yeah it played smoothly but then the first crash happened during a live and it all went downhill from then. From what I’ve gathered the iPod i just recently bought really can’t handle games, Ensemble Stars sometimes crashes but not that often but Ai Chuu just crashes almost every 2 lives/songs or after a scout and then I go to a story chapter and it just crashes. It may not be entirely Ai Chuu’s fault but all that crashing had really pushed me to the point of just ( ´ _ゝ`)フーン I could always transfer my data to my android again but honestly it can barely charge anymore. I had even tried uninstalling the game and reinstalling but its still the same. It just really pisses me off when I think I’m safe from the game crashing by after playing one song  and then just play a live on hard and then bam, it crashed even before the game could start and there goes my 15 LP (´;д;`). However, as I looked into it, my iPod just couldn’t handle all the lag the live effects did and just crashed the game. I can’t blame ’em, the iPod was designed for playing music after all.

srsly who needs all these effects
srsly who needs all these effects

Now we’re on the case. So what really killed the game? It was the lag and live effects (maybe). As repetitive as this may sound I can’t help but think that the live effects really killed it. It can really lag during a hard or expert live/song mainly because there’s more incoming notes and all that fanfare of special effects. Are those effects really needed? I’m mainly concentrating on the notes so why does the game need to have so many effects going on the background. It can kinda lag the game, even one second of lag can really throw you off your game but hey, git gud. Even during the recent Twinkle Bell event I found it impossible to play the game with just the twins in a team on a hard difficulty because of the effects that pop off whenever you hit a twin icon. I think one time during a live with just the twins during the event, the song and the notes were so out of sync that I had to second guess when the notes are supposed to be pressed. I had to give up my pursuit on getting that Satsuki LE ( ゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \ (i want to die)

Not really immersion breaking but kind of entertaining is the bugs that I sometimes come across. My favorite is when you tap the screen too fast when in a lesson with an Ai Chuu and the “TOUCH SCREEN” icon just sticks around for a while even though its not supposed to. I was shown a rare bug where two sound effects simultaneously repeated over and over again for no reason at all on a never ending loop.

Honestly it was just the god awful lag and crashes that just took me out of the game and just made me want to just stare at a wall instead. Thankfully, after turning off those live effects that lagged the game so badly, I could actually play lives normally without being scared of it crashing and get shit done for once. Turning off those effects reminded me that Ai Chuu can be a really fun game, addictive even so seriously, don’t let my horror story get you down in the dumps.

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Final Verdict (for real this time)

The game has numerous of great and catchy songs some of which I have yet to unlock because in my rank 20s hell, the characters are interesting and fun and they really make you strive to get your favorite character’s LE, the way the protagonist’s dialogue 2015-07-15 13.01.35 copyis written makes me glad they’re representing us, the player, and could just be their very own character/individual, the rhythm game part is easy but does not let you off easily with its ranking system so it makes you strive to get S ranks and all in all it can be very addictive. Pretty much Ai Chuu is at least one excuse on why I didn’t review it sooner because I was mainly spending most of my time playing it lol.

And seeing now that I kind of fixed my problem with the crashing I can actually start to enjoy playing this again and in the nick of time too because the idol unit re:berserk wil release next month. To be honest I mainly got into this game because of Hiro Shimono’s character, Bloody Master, a chuunibyou that talks like an old man… and is also 29 years old ?? (゚д゚) wait what

look me in the eye and tell me you're 29
look me in the eye and tell me you’re 29

And with the first event over and done with, I’m sure there will be more in the future and hopefully ones that don’t last for oh I don’t know 5 days? I’ll be looking forward to future development and sticking around with Ai Chuu for a little while.

Recommendation

So do I recommend playing Ai Chuu? Maybe. If you’re looking for an app to kill time with or procrastinate with then I’d suggest to maybe try out Ai Chuu and if you don’t like it then just don’t play it, nobody is holding a gun to your head. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it to expert rhythm game players seeing its a bit easy and not quite challenging, but hey have a go. Even if you’re not interested in the story you can always just play the rhythm game, however as I said before, completing the main story chapters unlock songs but thankfully theres a skip button. If you’re into romance elements then I think this will suit you, even though you really do have to work for your love for these Ai Chuus lol

Ai★Chuu is available in the Japanese Google Play store for android phones/tablets and the App Store for the iOS (iPads, iPhones & iPod Touch) for free with in-game purchases.

2015-07-24 18.52.05
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[This was my first review so I hope it was ok. If you have any suggestions for me to dig into about Ai Chuu and talk about feel free to suggest. I’ll try my best. Thank you for reading again even if it may be small bits, or that you skipped till the end thank you for reading.]

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