Love Live! is a Japanese rhythm game with a few other elements mixed in. There's a lot going on and it's really a pretty enjoyable game. As much as we like to joke that the games I play are absolutely terrible (mostly yes) Love Live! is actually insanely popular, according to a blurb in one of their updates a few weeks ago there are 15 million players worldwide, and according to a blurb yesterday, 2 million players in North America. For reference, World of Warcraft peaked at 12 million subscribers in 2010.
The purpose of this article is to explain this game to people who are used to more "stereotypical" games like we usually talk about, and hopefully to get someone to try it out. Full disclaimer: I love Love Live! and have absolutely nothing bad to say about it.
When you first long on you get to select one of the nine members of μ which becomes your first character card. Typically people select their favorite, and the debates about which idol is the best idol get really really heated, and I recommend you never, ever go there (Eli is the best). From then on when you log in you see this page:
Below that is your presents box, you get a daily log-in bonus and sometimes other bonuses, which can be redeemed in your presents. What's New is the section that tells you what your friends are up to, and Friends is where you can add people with a friend code or as you play songs.
The next box down is your goals box, or what you have to do to progress in the story portion of the game. You could completely ignore the story portion but it's cute and you get stuff for doing it. After that is a scrolling box of the events that are going on so you can check on your progress.
That's all just your homepage. The tabs at the bottom take you to different things you can do within the game. The first tab is "Stories" and when you click on that you see this:
The "Leader" position is actually pretty important, since the member cards (the ones of the actual Love Live! cast) include two different kinds of boost. The first boost will happen during the song and can do things like widen the range of "perfect" hits, boost your score, or heal stamina. The second is just a pure score booster. Only the members of μ carry these boosts.
You can also let the computer decide a team for you.
Special practice involves "Idolizing" the club members into their idol outfits. Sadly none of my μ members are idolized because you can only idolize a member by combining two of the same card. The cards merge into one and the character's outfit changes and their stats increase.
The icons next to the song title are what tell you what "type" of song this is, and in my case, which team to use. When you selecting a song you then select another player to "help" you, AKA give you a points boost based on their main team's leader. You also get friend points for selecting certain people to play with you. After that you select your team and the game starts.
Once you're done with the song you're given 3 grades. One for your numerical score (based on your boosts, player skills, and how well you tapped to the beat), your combo score based on how well you tapped to the beat, and how many times you've played the song. The rating scale is C, B, A, and S. S rank is essentially near-flawless. You hit all of the notes at "great" or "perfect" and your team scored enough points to be past that song's "top" threshold. Each song has a predetermined score to beat for each rank. If you don't even hit the "C" threshold, you fail the song.
After the song your scores are tallied and you're awarded three cards at random. As you play songs your bond with the idols also increases, which unlocks side stories if you both idolize and max your bond with them.
Honor Student scouting is R+ only, where you can scout for just the members of μ. It costs 5 love gems for 1 card. I personally think that the game gives you enough love gems just by logging in and clearing stories that you don't need to actually purchase any love gems, but that is an option.
After that is just the "shop" where you can go to buy love gems if you want to, but that's really the only thing you can purchase in this game. Other contains the settings and news updates.
That is essentially all there is to this game and I obviously love it a lot. Go play Love Live! it's an excellent game to play when you're out and about. Though you do need either an internet connection or 4G/LTE because the game communicates to the servers to download songs and transmit your scores.
Also the Love Live! movie is coming to Kansas City in September, so there's that. I already bought my tickets.