For starters, I decided to post about something which I’ve briefly mentioned elsewhere. Star Project is a Japanese online otome game, which was adapted from the Korean version. As suggested from the name, your counterparts are well, stars. Or rather, potential stars.
You basically act as the manager of the guy. In order to groom him as a star, you shuttle him around to take lessons (which cost money), do work offers, or part-time jobs, in order to raise up his skills and star rank in different areas. Lessons and part-time jobs come in the form of mini-games, which you have the option of doing “auto”, but the success rate differs. There are basically three different “careers” he can go into: singing, acting, modelling. Skills vary from conversational skills, to singing skills, to acting skills, which are crucial in determining which kinds of work your star can take on.
In addition, if you successfully complete job/work assignments you get more experience as a manager, and more sub-characters trust you so you will be more likely to get even more job offers. You do need to learn when to reject though ‘cos sometimes the offers stack up so impossibly.
The otome aspect comes in with dates you can go on with him (and improve his mood). Sometimes random events may also occur as you move through the map. The choices matter in that sometimes they either up or down the stats of your guy. Also, there will be unique chapters that take place to move the story (yes, there is a story omg) and your relationship with him. However, these chapters will only happen if you have a high enough affection level, manager rank, and overall star rank. CGs happen during extremely successful dates, work assignments, and chapters.
It’s partially voiced, meaning only some lines are voiced. There are three guys you can take charge of, all which are free to try. However, only one is free to try all the time. He’s Touya, the blonde guy voiced by Terashima Takuma. The other two guys are only available for a trial period of three days, after you first unlock them. Once the trial time expires, you have to extend the contract by 10/30 days for an exorbitant amount of game money (２０万だよ！That’s 200,000 for 10 days! You start the game with about 10,000 but believe me, it’s not easy raising money). You unlock Ren, the dark-haired guy voiced by Ishida Akira, once you reach the 10th chapter of Touya’s. You unlock Trian, the blue-haired guy voiced by Miki Shinichirou, if you reach the 10th chapter of Ren’s. As for other seiyuu/voice actors, I swear one of them sounds like Hatano Wataru, though he acts as a rival to Touya.
All three of them have different strengths (ie. Touya starts off with a higher skill level for singing), personalities and back stories. Touya actually came looking for you to become a star (though he felt cheated by the elaborate ad you put up pfft), and by a turn of events, he also has a debt to pay off with you. Therefore, he’s basically willingly working under you. But as the story progresses, you get to see more of his complicated background. Ren approaches you to buy off your managing company, which you refuse. However, he ends up losing something important at the office, and you claim to have it. As a result, you forcefully sign him on to be a star. But as the story progresses, things really aren’t that simple since it is revealed that Ren has a bigger motive. Trian, surprisingly, has the most hilarious entrance. It’s too good to spoil so I will not mention anything about him, though you may have seen some screenshots I posted on tumblr.
Customisation-wise, you get to name yourself (…duh), your company, your guy’s star name and contract details (pfft you can write nonsense, it doesn’t really matter – I wrote “become my slave/wife!”). You can also purchase clothes to dress him up. Personally, my favourite character is Ren as
Ishida Akira bias as his sharp tone vs. his softer ones amuse me. Trian came as a pleasant surprise, ‘cos I was expecting him to be the regular casanova-in-disguise-of-a-gentleman. Touya is the typical simple, energetic guy, but his childish/embarrassed moments are rather cute.
Here’s a screenshot of the interface, though now with its official release, there is a chat section which you are able to log onto to chat with other online users to the right of the game.
There are restrictions, the most crucial one being your guy’s stamina level. Everything from dates to jobs cost him stamina. It’s 3000 in total, but it refills 1 per 30 seconds. Many people have expressed that they feel it’s too slow (can you believe that in beta period it was 1 per minute?). If you use it up too fast, he will faint and lose a few skill points. There are meal times though, so you can trade the game money for some stamina. But do take note that all the times occur in Japan time. Or, you can use real money to buy a stamina potion which will instantly refill the stamina back to 3000. Either that, hope that the sub-character, Aoi(?), randomly pops up ‘cos whenever she does, most of the times your guy gains some stamina/money.
There are still a few buggy areas, like the voices doesn’t always match the lines perfectly, and you can’t exactly type directly into the game screen. Also, there are still a few features missing, such as having a conversation with your star. But if you’re free I recommend trying it out, it’s pretty fun and the game just started not too long ago, so there’s plenty of ongoing campaigns to hopefully enhance your gaming experience. Clearly, you need to know Japanese, though you may feel your way through with common sense. In addition, there is a useful fanmade Japanese guide. However, be warned that for one mini-game, you need to know some Japanese ‘cos it’s filling-in-the-missing-character.
It’s recommended that you use IE to play this. Make sure pop-ups are allowed, and that you have the latest Flash system. However, it works fine when I use Chrome too. In order to start playing, simply register an account, confirm your email, log-in, and play!
If you have any problems, I can try to answer them since I’ve progressed quite a fair bit into the game (though I have been ignoring for the past few days ‘cos I’ve been playing PSP games instead). But if you know Japanese, you may also check out the in-game tutorial, website’s FAQ section, or file in a feedback form. The staff have been pretty friendly and helpful so far, though you may get the automated response at first and/or if your problem’s a “common” one. Sometimes they also drop in the chat area. Though at all times, do remain polite!
If you start this game, I hope you enjoy your time playing it!