Otomate back at it again with their mobile game release. This one has been in the oven for quite a while where it had been announced back in 2016 with no set release date and had been quiet for 2 whole years until just recently when it poofed out of thin air to be released in app stores.
So Dance Trips seems to be some kind of project between Otomate and Kenjiro Tsuda. I don’t know why but the subtitle or extra text would always mention that its “Tsuda Kenjiro x Otomate” as if it’s Tsuda’s idea with Otomate to have this BDSM strip club where he’s the owner and Daisuke Namikawa, Tetsuya Kakihara and Wataru Hatano are his strippers. Like, I’ve seen a couple of pics in B’s Log promoting this game where there’s photos of him showing the voice actors their characters and some other papers lying on the table so it makes me wonder how much was Tsuda was involved in this 🤔
Gonna keep this review brief because I don’t have much to go on here. I’ll run down each aspect of the game and say what I have to say about it but all in all, I honestly just want to uninstall it as soon as I finish this review haha. I’m sorry if I’ll be harsh but the mobile market is getting so saturated that even the mediocre apps seem like total shit/not worth your time, and Dance Trips here… is just one of those mediocre apps.
So let’s get this BDSM strip show on the road….
So you, the heroine, is a down on her luck kind of gal that just has the worst of luck and everyone pretty much looks down at you. Due to plot, you end up working for this ‘dance bar’ or whatever it’s called (code for strip club) as the seamstress who makes the BDSM outfits the boys wear, as well as maybe a waitress/manager of the place (but Kenjiro Tsuda is the owner of the place).
The way they handle the story in this game is utterly bad. You can unlock each guys’ story by feeding them any kind of food (which will always rank up his affection), you’d think you’d get unique stories but alas… Almost everything is on this framework of cut and pasted common route with one of the guy’s story spliced into it and it gets harder and harder to read all of their story chapters back to back because you have to repeat the same text that was established in another guy’s route and you cant skip it or else you’ll skip the new text that centers around the guy that you’re reading.
Also there’s heavy use of flashbacks in the story, like some chapters will start in medias res (where it starts with a future event), then we flashback to what happened previous to that event only to retread the start scene so you read it twice. Then if you want to read another guy’s parallel chapter you’ll have to read that same scene again so you may end up reading that scene 6 times if you read all of the three guys’ story and it’s like… Where’s the skip read text option? This kind of shit doesn’t work in mobile games.
Also fanservice can be a bit cringe, as well as seeming like a dude wrote it going “This is what girls like, right?”. On top of all that you’re a eyeless mutant so have fun with that.
Each dude has something messed up to them, which is aight but a bit ‘edgy’. One dude has some unknown disease and he got emo about it and lives in a pigsty of an apartment, another dude has father/mother issues and may possibly be schizophrenic or at least has a split personality, and the other dude just doesn’t want you touching his piano. So if you’re interested in exploring these characters, knock yourself out but the story as it is now is pretty hard to trudge through.
Overall its ok. It’s one of those time management type of games mixed in with a ‘restaurant’ minigame where you make pasta 95% of the time, all the time. The steps of preparing the food, making the food then handing it over to the costume is very tedious but I guess it can be a nice challenge for others. At least Tokimeki Restaurant cuts some steps in the food getting to the customers (if I remember right they automatically get the food once its placed on the counter?).
The addition to gacha cards is what makes it kinda iffy. All ingredients take real time to complete cooking and you can cut down that time if you have the right gacha card, put that card into your stripper team and then have your dudes dance for the costumers. I think you have a limit of 5 minutes to whatever cooking you want, e.g. if you have a card that cut down the cooking time of prawns (around 4~5 min cooking time, may be cut down to a few seconds in stripper time) you can cook those prawns like crazy during those 5 minutes, which then in turn gives people the incentive to pull in gachas like crazy to get the right card to make it easier to cook, so that’s where the iffyness comes from.
You can also do some interior design. I made mine so none of the customers can watch the guys dance–though not like they ever react differently when the guys do dance so what’s the point lol. Bad thing about this is that there’s not a lot of furniture to choose from, heck most, if not all the furniture you can choose from is shown in the picture above. In other games that I played that have interior design as a feature have different themed furniture sets during launch day but Dance Trips…. there’s not a lot left to the imagination here. The events seem to have new furniture but you have to use accumulated points that is sometimes hard to gather so what’s the point?
That said, the events are pretty bare minimum in terms of gameplay. One of the events you just swipe or tap at customers and have them drop event points and that’s about it.
Illustrations are ok, there’s pepperoni nips on the guys (except in CGs), nothing to be in awe in though it is kinda mediocre. The GUI is either a hit or miss, sometimes it aint easy on the eyes but what can I do.
3D graphics used for the interior and chibis are pretty standard however the guys kinda look emotionless most of the time they’re dancing which is funny to me, it’s like they don’t want to be dancing on stage for a crowd that hardly reacts to them.
VR is ok, though you’re limited in doing stuff so it’s only good for one look and that’s it. Above video is something I recorded so it actually renders your layout/club which is why you cant see the tables and chairs beyond the barrier I made lol. It’s impressive to me that it does render your club but that’s about it.
All you can do is stand in the same spot, look around your club, activate the dance show on stage where you can take screenshots (that is not saved to your device’s library, it’s saved in-game which you can use on your profile) and that’s about it haha. I guess they added this in because they can?
Apparently in 2016’s Tokyo Game Show, Dance Trips had a VR tech demo, at that point in time a lot of mobile games were dipping it’s toes in VR tech demos, of course it wasn’t made to be put in the game. The demo looked janky as hell 😆 The way the 3D model moves and contorts towards you is pretty hilarious in my opinion, so enjoy:
Kinda bland and forgettable. Get used to that moaning song sung by Daisuke Namikawa, Tetsuya Kakihara and Wataru Hatano because it appears everywhere in the game. They couldn’t be bothered making other songs to play I guess, or they thought it was a good idea to repeat the same song for a good 5 minutes for when the dudes dance.
Like I said, mediocre and I want to wash my hands of it especially having to go through that grueling experience of trying to read the story. The only ‘good’ thing about this game is the restaurant mini-game which can be very engrossing and I would find myself wasting my time on it and ignoring every in-game message saying I unlocked a character’s story because I don’t give a damn about it, just let me play restaurant lol. I wish the game had a limiter when playing the restaurant mini-game like you use stamina each time you make food or something so you can stop and take a break when you use all your stamina but I don’t think they’ll do anything about it.
It’s also fun unlocking different cooking stations like a fridge, waffle maker, beer station etc. every time you rank up but it makes you wonder stuff like “how did we keep the prawns and eggs chilled if we didn’t have a fridge/freezer in the first couple of ranks?”, I guess just don’t think about it…?
Overall I give Dance Trips a score of: neverwannadoitagain/10. Feel free to try it out though, if you like playing it then more power to you. As for me I’m just gonna uninstall.