Popstar Idol Survival Game

by CrunchMasterGowon

Simulation, Romance

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Number of Reviews: 6
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not currently survivable, July 29, 2022
by Kinetic Mouse Car
Related reviews: Twine, IFComp

The premise is a spunky one. Enter a tv competition show for popstar contestants (99 total). It follows a familiar reality tv pattern. Everyone is presented with a challenge and is ranked by their performance. At the end of the season the top 5 ranking individuals win. Unfortunately, this game never makes it past challenge 1.

You are Kim Nayoung. Your mother was a famous performer named Anna Nayoung and it is implied that she died. Being the daughter of icon adds some flair to the contest, but we never have a chance to learn more about the protagonist or the circumstances behind Anna’s death. As Kim you eagerly apply to be a show participant and are accepted. You pack your bag and are transported to a world of competitiveness, glamour, and talent. Players choose which abilities to specialize in, such as singing or dancing, and your actions are largely based on stat management. The player must also manage the fine line between working with others to advance through teamwork and weathering the other contestants by only focusing on yourself. Your personal skills and relationship with others impact your performance and rank.

The gameplay has flaws. Some of it is formatting. If you choose to help Fuko with dancing the game says, "Fuko's Affection +10, Fuko's rank improves by 10, You should have already reached the Dancinggoal for this challenge but if you haven't Dancingprogress increases by 10 for helping out Fuko. Lucky you!" This was awkwardly worded and reduced the polish. Another problem with the gameplay is the flakiness of some of the stats. It seems like they always match with the player’s choices. For the first challenge the (Spoiler - click to show) judges gave me an F, but then the next day when everyone meets in the pyramid room for the overall results I am announced as the challenge 1 teamwork winner (and if you try all the "bad" options with Fuko, such as shoving her on stage, you still win). And yet, they rank me in the 80s (it varies, which means at least the stats can be functional), which is confusing. The best I have been able to place is 84th. Even so, I was still looking forward to more gameplay.

What frustrates me is that the game is clearly broken. It just stops. After the first challenge (Spoiler - click to show) you get these tokens that you can use to buy things that upgrade your relationship with other characters or improves your stats. Unfortunately, the game breaks afterwards. There are simply no links on the screen for the player to click on. The only thing you can do is quit. If the author intended for it to end there they could have said, "that's all folks," but instead the player is trying to see if perhaps they clicked on a wonky link and wonder if they should retrace their steps to try a different route to bypass it. Regardless of which path I took I could not make any more progress.

Visually, it does fairly well. It uses a basic back screen and white text that is neatly spaced on the screen. On the left side of the screen is a list of stats for your abilities and rapport with other characters. When I first played the game, I thought it was going to be a jackpot for players who like stat-based Twine games, but sadly it becomes unplayable early on.

It was a promising start but a letdown as an entry to IFCOMP. Based on the detail I have seen so far if this were a completed game it would have had an immensely improved reception. I encourage the author to finish the game because a lot more people would be interested in tuning in.

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deathbytroggles, July 29, 2022 - Reply
The game was completed and it can be hacked to see the whole thing. Unfortunately, this bug was never fixed
Kinetic Mouse Car, July 30, 2022 - Reply
You're kidding. How do you do that? I had no idea.
deathbytroggles, July 31, 2022 - Reply
Read the review by Joey Acrimonious
Kinetic Mouse Car, July 31, 2022 - Reply
I can't believe I missed that. Thank you for pointing that out.
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