Idol Fantasy–released on 18th July, 2018—is Square Enix’s second female oriented mobile game. Their first female oriented mobile game, Kimi to Kiri no Labyrinth, was a hot mess upon release and stayed that way, full of bugs and zero content until it’s death almost a year later after it’s release in June 2018. Now Square Enix is back with a vengeance in this okay, probably decent, by-the-numbers boring idol game. There, that’s all you need to know about Idol Fantasy.
Just kidding (though this game is pretty boring), I’ll go a little bit more in-depth with this game to explain why I’m pretty disappointed with this game when Square Enix gave us this beautiful mess:
The story, as far as I have unlocked, is pretty okay but a bit bland too. Square Enix tried to spice things up in the idol genre by crossing idols together with the fantasy world. The main cast came from a fantasy world–ファンタジアス (Fantasias?)–and have come to our world to look for the missing heir/scion who they believe may be residing here with no recollection of Fantasias, they also become idols just because lol (I’m sure there’s more reason to why they became idols but it’s glossed over once). In the fantasy world they take the forms of your usual suspects of RPG Classes (knight, mage, oni, samurai–there’s even a character whose fantasy world form is just a gotdam sword… he’s a talking and walking sword lulwut).
One day the heroine–Aoi Nishizono–, aka the player, goes to an idol concert where the fantasy idol boys are performing. She also finds a stuffed animal–that turns out to be a magical girl mascot voiced by Akira Ishida and only speaks by saying “Puno Puno” all the time.
Seems like during the concert a beam of light comes off you, which is a signal to the fantasy boys that you may be the heir that they’ve been looking for but the edgy rival idol boys crashes the party, making it rain and forcing everyone out of the stadium only for you to come face to face with the fantasy boys–“Finally, we’ve found you”.
Long story short, you wind up being the manager of these boys which makes me wonder how the hell did they survive up until now without a manager. Hell, they even managed to get a full stadium of cheering fangirls during their performance. The key to this story is to not think too much about it, because if you do you’ll notice some weird things about this whole situation.
And to be honest, in places the story just made me think “Is there really a need to make them fantasy boys?” when most of the stories I’ve unlocked is just doing the usual idol stuff you’d see in any other idol game lol. I’ve yet to unlock the whole first volume because it’s a chore to level up your rank in this game, I’m at rank 20 and I need to get to rank 33 to complete the first volume so I’ll update this part once I unlock it–I have a sneaking suspicion that this game doesn’t have a lot of story to it.
Also, something to take note of is that: The story is not fully voiced. You’re lucky enough to get a few grunts or one worded phrases when reading the main story but despite this big cast and Square Enix’s abundance of money this game is not fully voiced, which has become a staple for most mobile games. Having the story fully voiced would create needed ease when reading the story because it just gets so bland I can’t be bothered taking time to read it and just quickly skip dialogue.
At least the heroine has a voice (not literally, I mean she has dialogue) in this story, despite having a couple of lines. So props for that.
The 3D models are a big step up compared to Kimikiri, but that’s not really saying much when Kimikiri is such a low bar. Also this time they managed to make sure Idol Fantasy is optimised for the iPad, unlike Kimikiri where it would look like this (which is pretty much the default format for apps that have not optimised their app to fit iPad screens):
Though the animations for the 3D models in Idol Fantasy are a bit over-expressive, its the type of movement you’d see when actors can only express themselves with hand movements and gestures, similar to power rangers/other tokusatsu actors where they can’t express themselves through facial expressions as they wear masks so they have to dramatically express themselves through hand gestures–that’s what Idol Fantasy’s 3D character animation is like. Which is either a good thing or bad thing but at least it wasn’t Kimikiri’s shitty tweened animation.
The character graphics are kind of disappointing, especially when Square Enix advertises how they got on board all these popular artists (Tetsuya Nomura [Kingdom Hearts series], Teita [Norn9, Charade Maniacs], Izumi [Touken Ranbu’s Tsurumaru Kuninaga], Sou Kirishima [Marginal #4] etc) but in the end they all look like potatoes because they redrew them all in one unifying style that doesn’t flatter their original designs. Here’s a comparison:
Left Image is the “Official Design” used in the game, Right Image is the “Original Design” by the artists Square Enix used to advertised
You can see for yourself on the official website. Here is the official designs, and here is the original designs. Kinda makes you cry at how badly the designs transitioned to the current style they’re using.
Also the main idol unit that’s pretty much the poster boys of this game doesn’t look too great visually:
Another problem I find with these designs is how almost all the idol boys look like they should either be in middle school or high school when some of them should be in their 20’s. Try and guess which one of these three are supposed to be 24 years old:
If you guessed the boy on the right then you are correct. In fact the whole group of E-Lements consists of guys in their 20s, the youngest being the short guy with the yellow accent who is 20 (who is a gnome in the fantasy world so it makes sense he looks more youthful than he really is), their ages really show in their original design however the official design makes them look too young and the 3D models don’t help when the blue haired guy looks as young as the glasses dude, who is 16 years old, in the above picture.
Also what’s extra funny is that these guys don’t have casual clothes. They’re mostly doing ordinary stuff in their idol unit uniforms (like playing soccer or baking) and I’m sitting here thinking “Damn, they’re gonna need to mend those clothes daily if that’s the only thing they can wear”.
The in-game graphics are all right, nice user interface and doesn’t hurt the eyes to look at. There are some cute easter eggs in some of the menu’s graphics which is a nice touch.
The “Fantasias” gameplay where you go to the fantasy world to farm orbs, the graphics are pretty and cute. You can see all the boys in their fantasy form wandering around, chatting with each other etc. It’s a shame you won’t be going to that screen often.
The graphics for the cards are all right, pretty adequate and not much of a spectacle. This is what the CG for an average 5* looks like:
Kinda looks like in the same vein of Uta no Prince-sama Shining Live’s cards.
Gameplay is what I would call “Zero Skill, Zero Effort” gameplay in which the player just does nothing at all, lays back and watch the game play itself. There’s about 3 parts of gameplay:
1. a) The “Course/Lesson” part which is a prelude to the Live Performance– In this part you choose the unit you want to do the live performance with, but before you can do the live performance part you have to do this ‘lesson-esque’ part where you either group up, up to three guys in hopes to get their tensions up which will boost their appeals during the live performance (you also gather some ‘orb parts’ which will eventually adds up to proper orbs which are used to upgrade your boyo cards). Once the time is up you go into the live performance part. You can pretty much put this part on auto if you don’t want to bother with it and it still works.
1. b) The “Live Performance” part– this part follows up the course/lesson part, and depending on which course/lesson you chose the performance will either be a Song Performance, a Scene from a Movie, Variety Show or a Commercial/Ad. You don’t do anything, you can change the camera angles or skip to when the idols show off their appeal skills (or just skip all). Just sit back and watch it play itself. You have to gain enough score or more with your team, which is pretty much your unit’s appeal skills during the middle of the performance. Even if you fail to gain enough to beat the score border you still get the orbs that you gathered during the lessons, you just don’t get EXP lol.
2. The Card Collecting/Raising Card Stats gameplay–If you’ve played card collecting mobile games then you’ve played it all and you already know how this gameplay goes: you do the gacha, get cards, collect enough resources in courses to unlock nodes in a skill tree for your card to make your cards strong enough to clear a more advanced course, get gacha diamonds/coins/whatever currency it is from completing course missions and repeat the whole thing again.
3. This part you won’t be using a lot because there’s better ways to get orbs (through events or through the daily courses that give out certain colored orbs), but if you want to waste 3 or 5 hours waiting for your boys to get a small amount of orbs then you’ve come to the right place with the “Fantasias” gameplay–which is the screen with the chibi characters wandering about. You select the portal you want your characters to explore (so far there’s only a cave or a water well your characters can explore), you have to pay gold coins to do this action and then wait for about 3 or 5 hours for them to come back with orbs. Now, the 3 hour exploration only gives you maybe 1 or 2 orbs at random (either the small, medium or large ones) while the 5 hour one might get you 3 or 4 orbs… all of which is a massive waste of time and gold coins.
There’s other stuff like “PVP (player vs player)” where you choose a player who has X amount of stats and you do a performance (be it a song performance, movie, ad, variety show) and try to beat their stats/score. You get orbs from this if you beat them and its pretty damn easy to beat other players if you’re OP and Square Enix makes it easy by giving you opponents that are 10 Ranks below your rank. It’s almost as if Square Enix thinks that female players are too dumb to play games… 🤔 Here’s a flashback to a review for Kimikiri:
The music is pretty bland for me. The BGM is alright, it has a lot more variety than Kimikiri’s which was just variations of the “theme song”, but the idol songs… goodness gracious, they’re like your typical idol songs but more dull. Like, you could play them in the background while you’re doing work and it’ll be just that, forgettable background music. Most of the songs I wasn’t feeling it, unlike Readyyy’s songs where I get so hyped about it whenever I hear the first few songs, the only song I felt was all right was “El Dorado Zippangu”, it’s got a nice tune. Other songs did seem to get stuck in my head but it made me want to tune it out with something else.
Here’s an example of one of the unit songs (as well as the gameplay):
^This one is a bit corny because it makes me think some 40 year old dude wrote these lyrics, trying to keep it hip–either way this song is a guilty pleasure where i know its bad but hey, y’know what, it’s enjoyably bad
There’s at least one song per unit and then the theme song by all the idols.
There’s not a lot of bugs this time around (Kimikiri launched with an abundance of bugs that they had to put it into a 4 day maintenance just to fix things), but a few things did slip through like for example this bug for the Live Performance “REAL X FANTASY”:
This “light bloom” is actually a bug. If you skip during the start the lighting will carry on to the next scene which is the idol’s appeal skills. This disappears after the appeal skills finish, but it’s still hilarious how the model lighting is too intense that it makes parts of the model full on white.
Another 3D model blunder is when the glasses dude does this appeal skill animation:
His teeth would pop out whenever he smiles. It only lasts for about a second but god, once you see it you can’t unsee it and boy is it hilarious.
Another unintended model slip up is that the lights in the home screen are on a layer above the 3D models so if a 3D model happened to overlap where the lights from the chandelier are you will see the lights on top of the model rather than hidden:
In the left image, the guy on the right’s top hate seems to have the chandelier lights on top
This isn’t really a bug but more of a mistake where one of the staff did a terrible job cutting out this dude’s portrait during the gacha pull and damn… how did someone see this and go “Yeah this is good”.
There are some other stuff that’s best shown through video like part of a person’s costume wigging out, a shoulder of a character twitching when they’re not in the centre of the scene as well as the eye tracking for the characters being weird where it doesn’t look like they’re looking at you, the player but in different directions.
There might be more small oddities in this game that I’ve yet to find but it’s still a bit disappointing that it didn’t have the same amount of bugs as Kimikiri.
Overall I think this mobile game is a bit boring. It doesn’t do anything to set itself apart from other idol mobile games, it just does the safest thing possible with a cast of well-known voice actors and say that the characters were designed by popular artists but at the end of the day it has zero substance and just fades into the background of other mobile games.
You’re free to like it or hate it, for me it’s just meh. I was hoping to have some fun but instead got some super ultra easy mode gameplay and nothing to laugh at as Kimikiri did. The story is ok at best but nothing grabs my attention. One of my favourite characters is pretty much a support character because he’s part of the newbie unit that Square Enix didn’t want to push as being a big part of the main 4 units in the game so they get less content and no 5 star cards so thanks for nothing, Squeenix.
Also the only fun thing about this game is the selfie feature where you can pretty much take photos of the characters with yourself or in different places. I mainly use it to take pictures of them with a green backdrop so I can photoshop them into situations. That’s as much fun I’ll get out of this game.
Feel free to photoshop this dude in anything, here’s my take on it:
Thanks for reading!