PriPara is a girls idol fashion and rhythm game series that started as arcade machines back in 2014 and has been adapted into an anime, manga, and numerous games. I’ve always thought it was adorable, but I’ve never gotten into it… Until now! Thanks to my awesome Patreon supporters, I was able to purchase PriPara All Idol Perfect Stage for the Nintendo Switch to review. Since the Switch is region-free, it’s easy to import Japanese games to play, no matter where you live! Check out the video below for the first 20 minutes of gameplay:
PriPara All Idol Perfect Stage doesn’t really require any previous knowledge of the series, especially since its story mode summarise the first three PriPara anime seasons, along with Idol Time PriPara. It even features still images from the anime! It’s fun to follow each short story vignette and play the corresponding song, and there’s also a short game-exclusive story that features the player avatar you create. Playing through these stories unlocks songs (32 total), Tomo Tickets, and character customization options such as hair and eye colors. I would’ve preferred that they had more character customization options from the beginning, as it was pretty jarring to find out there was only one skin color (called “normal,” and it was a very pale Caucasian skin color) when I made my first character.
But for me, the real fun of the game comes from dressing the characters up in the huge range of clothing options available and watching them perform onstage during the rhythm game portions. Clothes are randomly unlocked though two different in-game gachapon machines using coins you get from playing songs and the story mode, and there are 1300 different adorable pieces in total! The character and clothing models look great on the Switch, and I found myself wishing for a new Style Savvy game for the Switch (subsequently, Style Savvy developer Syn Sophia also does the PriPara games!).
You can clothing items of a specific style to the song you’ll be performing for more points, but I found that the rhythm game was so easy and I got so many points anyway that I didn’t pay too much attention to getting the best possible score. There’s a regular mode and a “gold disk” hard mode, but if you’ve played any rhythm games before, you’ll probably find this one pretty easy. The songs are fairly short, too, but it’s fun to see how the performances look with the different character and clothing options.
There is a slight issue with occasional clipping/lag during the rhythm game portions, as well as some weirdness with clipping during the story sequences. There was a patch issued on March 23rd, but it doesn’t seem to have fixed these graphic problems. I don’t find that it severely impacts gameplay, but it’s a little jarring when it happens. You can see some examples of it in the gameplay video I recorded above, but I can confirm that the lag wasn’t due to my capture card.
PriPara All Idol Perfect Stage is particularly great for Japanese language learners, because it’s aimed at a younger audience and thus uses mostly hiragana (and any kanji have furigana). I did find that as someone who isn’t familiar with PriPara, there were a few terms and concepts relating to the story that they didn’t really explain, but if you know the anime or read a general synopsis of the overall story, it’s a great game to study Japanese with!
The game encourages you to make multiple avatars, and there are six slots for you to save created characters to. I had the most fun booting up the game for a chapter or two of the story mode and a couple rounds of the rhythm game, where I could glam up my characters as much as I wanted and watch them do their awesome thing. Then I’d have enough gold for a few spins of the gachapon machine, and I’d repeat the whole thing over the next day!
Since the songs aren’t really difficult, there isn’t much incentive to play them over and over again aside from watching the characters, taking screenshots, and doing more spins of the gachapon machine. Though it all was super adorable, after about a week of repeating the above cycle, I didn’t really feel compelled to keep playing just to be able to unlock a more outfits. But I’m not a completionist at all when it comes to games, so keep that in mind!
PriPara All Idol Perfect Stage is the perfect game to import if you know little to no Japanese, or are looking for something relatively easy to help you practice your Japanese. It’s super adorable and offers a lot of variety in the outfits and a fair number of songs for the rhythm game mode, though your milage will probably vary based on how long you can enjoy the game just for its sheer cuteness. But thanks to this game, I can’t wait to try the arcade machines in Japan and watch the PriPara anime!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Making purchases using my affiliate links earns me a small commission, which helps support Chic Pixel! Alternatively, if you’d like to support Chic Pixel directly and get access to lots of cool behind-the-scenes stuff, check out my Patreon!