Review by: Blue Protoman
So it’s got the words “Pop Star” in the title. Big whoop, no need to call it gay and insult whoever plays it. (You should never call anything gay, as it’s offensive.) What we have here is a unique mix of music/rhythm, RPGs, and The Sims. How well is it done, though? Is it executed flawlessly, with each element done right, or does it come off worse than a Sonic game made after the Dreamcast? The first one.
To all you Europeans out there, look for Pop Superstar: Road to Celebrity in the DSiWare Shop. You should be looking for it wherever you live, as this game is incredible. In this game, you walk around on an overworld, RPG-style. You have motives like hunger or fatigue you need to satisfy (more later), and there are music minigames. Said minigames are composed of drums, dancing, guitar, and singing. Let me clarify this right now; no, you do not actually need to sing into the DSi’s microphone. You “sing” by sliding your stylus on a wavy line at a certain speed. Harder than it sounds. There are also four other minigames, including washing dishes, making burgers, posing for the camera, and knocking down a door.
The game’s characters are very detailed and well-animated, complete with actions and expressions. The game is in an isometric view, and everyone is somewhat super-deformed. (Big head, small or medium body) You even get to create your own character at the beginning of the game. You set your skin tone, hair style/color, clothes, gender, and name. You can change your hair and clothes any time in the game. Problems? Some animations seem out of place. I can’t remember any examples at the moment, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. Also, some character’s mugshots (which are not super-deformed) have a generic “?” mark, when other just-as-obscure characters have a full mugshot. The menus are nice and easy, but the game’s theme (“Girlfriend”, by Avril Lavigne, I think) is enough to make anyone jump to a “That game is gay!” conclusion. Just don’t boot up the game near any high school jocks, and you’ll be fine.
Gameplay comes off without a hitch. 3 out of the 4 main minigames are even original. (The guitar is pretty much the same as Guitar Hero, except with a sixth note and chords are next to each other) Even the dancing minigame isn’t a DDR knockoff using the D-Pad. It’s all done well, with the notes in perfect sync with the music, and with the minigames actually being fun. Complaints? First, the overworld. You can earn money, but you don’t seem to be able to do very much with it. To my knowledge, you can only spend it throughout a few places in the storyline, and at a fountain you only have access to for a little while. That’s about it. Also, the motives don’t seem to do much. You have skills like charisma and humor (which affect conversations), but the motives don’t really affect gameplay, to my knowledge.
This game has a pretty deep story for its genre. You are auditioning at your high school to get on a TV show called American Pop Star, which I guess is a takeoff on American Idol. However, so is your crush and your rival. The story’s pretty nice, with conversations, different locations; hell, your character isn’t even a silent protagonist! (Nice plus) Small problem, though; there are only 3 songs in the game. That’s it. Granted, they are nice, and you play them at different difficult levels… But still. Good thing there’s several minigames to play them in. There’s multiplayer, but you need someone with a DSi and the game. Which sucks, because Art Style: CODE (a game that’s not out in America yet) can do multiplayer with DS download play on a regular DS. The screenshot on the right is from multiplayer mode, I believe.
Do I recommend this game? Yes, if you like music, and hang around with people who won’t make fun of you for this game. Don’t play this if you call everything you don’t like “gay”. (Sharif Shawky, I hope you’re reading this. –Jesse) It’s got a problem with the fact that there’s too few songs, plus the game takes up a lot of memory. This game should have been on a card, that way Gameloft could’ve added more songs. But, oh well. At least the songs don’t suck.
By the way, this was originally a cell phone game. Supposedly the DSi version is better, but I don’t have a cell phone, so don’t ask me about that version.
Back to Game Reviews