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CONSOLE: Nintendo Switch DEVELOPER: syn Sophia PUBLISHER: Takara Tomy
RELEASE DATE (JP): March 22, 2018 GENRE: Rhythm
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Waifu Maker.

Idol creation sim and rhythm dancing game PriPara has been hugely successful in Japan. The 3DS and mobile iterations have made Takara Tomy a lot of money, so it was somewhat inevitable that a Nintendo Switch entry would arrive. This version, like the others, is almost entirely in Japanese and therefore features quite the language barrier.

Upon starting the game, you'll need to name your first idol. The immediate issue will be that PriPara only allows Japanese input. This made the 3DS game unplayable using import loader software much to my dismay, as the keyboard would only be available in your system language. The Switch will let you change your keyboard language to Japanese by clicking the "Globe" symbol. Switch it to Japanese, and type in Romaji to have it converted to the appropriate Hiragana. Nothing offensive, though; the game won't let you swear in Japanese...

Next, you get to create your first idol. Nothing you set here is concrete; you can switch it up at any time. The first set of options are voice and mannerisms, then the rest is self-explanatory. Right now the selection of customization options is pretty limited, but playing the story and earning points will unlock many more. Every time I unlocked something cool, I was so excited that I just had to go back to "My Room" to switch to it.

There are two main gameplay modes: Performance and Story. Performance lets you pick any unlocked song, but there's only six available when you start off. Story is how you unlock exclusive songs, backup dancers, and customization options that are not available just through performance mode.

Do you have the "Prism Voice"?

As for clothing, you can grab that from Gacha machines! Each machine is 100 coins a play and can yield some really nice-looking rare clothing items. The clothing is used during Coordinator Mode before each song. The more impressive and rare your clothing and how well coordinated the outfit is, the bigger the boost to your score before you've even started playing the song.

General gameplay involves pressing buttons in time with on-screen cues or rotating the analogue sticks quickly to transform into a magical idol girl. You go, sistah. By far my only real complaints with the performances are that the songs are far too short, and there isn't enough rhythm based gameplay within them — with all the "microgames" within each song, it feels like they missed the point of making a music- and dancing-themed game.

The story goes through the entire story of every season of PriPara so far and has extra chapters where you play as your custom idol. I'm sure if you are a fan of the show you might get a kick out of this, but it's walls and walls of text you can't just skip with a button press but have to mash like an idiot to get through. It sometimes feels like there's a 22 minute anime episode's worth of preamble before each song.

If you're absolutely dying for a rhythm game experience on the Switch, you could grab PriPara. There is plenty of stuff in here to get, from customization options to clothing, plus songs and backup dancers to discover. It is pretty obvious, however, that the real audience for this game are fans of the show. If you don't have any affiliation towards PriPara, then you might not enjoy all the mindless chatter.

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