Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 7.3

(+)Pros: - Great song selection for each character featuring beautifully rendered music videos with amazing visuals (considering that this is the PSP), - 4 difficulty modes for each song, - Easy to pick up, - Each version has different songs and characters, - Customizable notes and music gear, - Exclusive anime episode bundled with each version.

(-)Cons: - No crossover support, - Having only 2 buttons means that you will never ever fail any song (though scoring high can still be a challenge on higher difficulties), - Individual versions can be lacking and slightly overpriced. 

Gameplay time: - 

So if you checked out my "Idolm@ster" anime review awhile back, you will know that I love this franchise, almost as much as I love other franchises like "K-on" or "Hatsune Miku : Project Diva". I am, however, not a huge fan of the idol raising simulation thing that the original "Idolm@ster" games have going. Basically in those games you just choose an idol, and then you send them for training sessions, spend time with them, then finally send them for concerts to gain fame. Not my cup of tea, but luckily, "Idolm@ster : Shiny Festa", is a full blown music game, with songs, difficulty levels, and notes to hit!  Needless to say, if you like music games or the franchise itself, these are the games you may be looking for!

The "Idolm@ster" franchise has always been quite ample with its story, and for the most part it has been handled well. These games each have their own story as well, though its told in 3 different iterations in each of the versions. The games follow up the story of the anime, using the same producer and character cast. Basically, it speaks of a new resort that opened overseas and that many idols/music groups are going there for a music centered festival. Of course, the idols of 765 pro cannot forsake this opportunity, so the producer already managed to book a slot there for a performance by the idols. However, not everybody gets a chance, and the girls who get to perform there are......

Beautiful visuals for the PSP.

...varied depending on your version, more on this later. "Idolm@ster : Shiny Festa" tries to go for a more "Pokemon"  feel, by selling 3 different versions, each with its own differences. The games split their song selections over 13 different characters, along with plenty of collaboration songs. There are 20 songs for each version, with each character getting their own songs exclusive to that version, with the inclusion of songs that are present in all 3 versions. Each version tries to portray a "theme", which the song genres will fit into. "Groovy Tune" goes for a more serious tone, having the most epic songs out of the 3 versions. "Funky Note" has the catchy and super cutesy songs that will get all the loli-cons raved up into the air. "Bright Sound" is a middle ground for both, having a mixture of catchy and serious songs.

Its also worth a note that the visuals for the music videos as you play through the songs, are absolutely beautiful. Since you can't customize the outfits for your idols (each song has them automatically switching outfits), most the music videos consist of short animated clips and CG graphic dance routines. These look great, among one of the best I have seen for anime themed games. Though there are quite a few modes right off the get-go, there are only 2 related to gameplay. Stage and festival. Stage is like a free play mode where you just play songs whenever you want, while festival is more of a "story" mode where you go into an event and try to perform as well as you can to outshine other idols.

Keep pressing those buttons!

The main gameplay is easy to pick up. Whenever a song plays notes come out from the left and right side of the screen, and will close in on a center circle. Pushing any button on the D-pad registers a left side note, while triangle, square, X or circle registers as a right side note. As the notes come in you just push buttons from the left and right side of the PSP, simple! Though in higher difficulties, this still proves to be very challenging as multiple sections appear on screen and the lines carrying the notes will be twisted or distorted, making it very confusing at times. There are 4 difficulty types, and those apply to the higher level difficulties. There are different songs and characters for each version. "Groovy tune" hosts Miki, Makoto, Yukiho and Takane. "Bright Sound" hosts Haruka, Chihaya, Ritsuko and Azusa. Finally, "Funky Note" hosts Yayoi, Iori, Ami, Mami and Hibiki.

Playing songs earns you two things, money for customization and items, as well as fans. Fans are divided into a few tiers, leading from D to S rank, with a maximum of 200000 fans at the top of the chart. That is hardcore, though I managed to hit that amount for 2 of the versions. Items you buy either make you account out for a mis-note or give you more fans for the next song you play...the effect varies on what you buy. You can also customize the music notes, lines and gears to your liking. These unlock as you progress up the ranks of your fans, which gives us incentive to get more fans. Each version also has an anime episode, chronicling the adventures of the different girls at the festival for each different version.

Exclusive anime episodes serve as an extra goody.

Now it stinks hard that the games lack any feature to let us play with other players with different versions. I mean, that is the point of making 3 versions ain't it? To share among others? It sucks that this is not the case. Also, this may be a problem for the hardcore music players. A 2 button music game is sure to turn off those hardcores, though I will come to their defense. While it is hard to score in those high difficulty songs, its almost impossible to fail a song. Even by mashing buttons you can get past them. Also, the fact that all 3 of these games combined feel more as a whole, each individual version might be a little underwhelming, considering that it is a full priced game. FFS the IOS app costs $54.99 US PER VERSION, which is ridiculous.

This is already a dream for "Idolm@ster" fans who love the franchise, but don't initially dig the idea of an idol raising simulation. What other way to bring out the music in "Idolm@ster"? A rhythm game its the bill correctly, and "Shiny Festa" will probably appeal to a much bigger audience, seeing how not everyone wants to raise virtual idols. In my opinion this is a better step forward for the franchise, though there are improvements to be had. Lets hope the western side sees some future "Idolm@ster" content, seeing as how they managed to localize this for the IOS on English.

Happy gaming!