NIS America / IDEA FACTORY, COMPILE HEART, TAMSOFT
ESRB Teen, PEGI 12
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is a spin-off to the Neptunia series, bringing us back to the franchise in a very different way. It provides an alternative gameplay experience to that of the JRPG mechanics found in the main series. We return to the world of Gamindustri and meet the four CPU goddesses; each a cute personification of different consoles. There’s the sweet and innocentNeptune who represents Sega, Noire: the Sony tsundere, Vert: the big breasted Microsoft and Blanc: the quiet one with an awful temper, Nintendo. The gaming girls are losing their fans due to the idol group, MOB48 (inspired by the popular and similarly named idol group AKB48). In order to win back their followers, they decide to become idols themselves and summon an amazing producer from another world, which just happens to be you.
This is an idol management game, not a rhythm game. You won’t be hitting buttons while your idol of choice dances around and sings for their adoring fans. Before concerts, you’ll be dressing them and during you’ll be controlling the camera, deciding the angles, using lighting and visual effects to help your little star look the best they can on stage. Understanding Japan’s love of idols and how the system works is quite important for the game’s satire to work, and that’s one of the reasons why NIS America releasing this in the west is such a nice surprise. Sadly, however, there are only five tracks in the game, so it’s clear that most of your time won’t be spent on concerts.
There isn’t a great deal of substance found in Producing Perfection. You’ll be spending time with your idol in a cute, light novel environment. The story isn’t canon, it doesn’t run deep and even at the start of the game, it tells you to enjoy it and not to think too hard. It simply allows you to spend more time with the CPU girls. Their personalities aren’t particularly unique, but they are all charming enough and have their own quirks. The dialogue and localization is great, with many witty comments thrown in which will make fans of Japanese culture smile.
Each day, you’ll need to decide which course of action to take in order for your idol to reach the top and gain fans. This section of the game shows you just how whimsical the entertainment business can be. Your idol can go out to meet fans at events, appear on TV or record a radio interview, all these things are designed to help you gain a greater following. However, you can’t neglect practise, otherwise, your concerts won’t go down as well. So your idol needs to study, practise their vocals and dance routines in order to raise their stats, finding the right balance is key to your idol’s success.
Naturally, if you work your idol too hard she will become stressed. If you don’t let her have time to rest, either by relaxing with you or giving her a few days off to go on vacation, then the stress bar will reach 100% and you’ll find yourself viewing the game’s bad end. Each character has three endings, a good, bad and true ending, which adds to the game’s longevity. There are issues however, the game can lose its pace at times and feel a bit repetitive if you don’t enjoy idle chat (haha), then this game is not for you. Expect conversations about food, how great little sisters are and how Vert has voluptuous breasts (yes, the game actually uses the term ‘voluptuous’).
Later on, in the game, you’ll be able to form an idol group with the other CPU’s and perform concerts together. Outside of the game’s main producer mode, you’ll find an Unlimited Concert Mode, which as the name implies, is where you produce as many concerts as you like, which is something that can get tedious very quickly. You’ll also have access to the Viewer, where you can view 3Dmodels of the characters, allowing you to dress up and erm, interact with them…
HyperdimensionNeptunia: Producing Perfection is not perfect, it isn't trying to be, it makes you well aware that it's all just pointless fun. The fact it isn't a rhythm game and does nothing to progress the franchise's story further. This may be an issue or simply disappointing to some, who will find the game boring and pointless. For others, it'll be an addicting experience, where you'll want to max out your stats and see 100% of your favourite character's events. Overall it's an enjoyable, colourful, niche game. It has most certainly made me want to play the other games in the Neptunia series. If you're a fan of cute anime girls or idols, then this is for you.