Love Live! School Idol Festival

Around the beginning of October 2022, I started playing the Love Live! School Idol Festival mobile game. Just a few months later, in January 2023, Bushimo (the game’s development company) announced that it would be shutting down in March of that year.

Love Live! School Idol Festival was a rhythm game with 2D artwork. It consisted of events featuring competitive ranking boards where players tested their skills tapping along to songs from the Love Live! franchise (including selections from Muse, Aquors, Nijigasaki, and Liella). There were also simplistic stories featuring basic interactions with the major Love Live! characters, plus longer event stories that went along with the competitive events.

The SIF mobile game was apparently a big money-maker for Love Live! in its heyday, but perhaps the biggest creative contribution it made to Love Live! was the introduction and promotion of various side characters not shown in any of the Love Live! anime. Famously, a fan vote for the most popular side characters resulted in a similarly-titled spinoff game, Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars (SIFAS), which later became the foundation for the third Love Live! anime, Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. Through that chain of events, things went full-circle, and the game based on an anime ended up being the source material for another anime.

I didn’t get the opportunity to play too much of School Idol Festival, but I did participate in an event shortly after joining the game. The event, Learning from the Fireflies, featured Ruby and Hanamaru attempting to view fireflies at a festival for a school project, while Dia worries they’re focusing too much on seeing the insects and not enough on actually doing research. Being an Aquors story, the Medley Festival event type provided a pool of Aquors songs and randomly picked three at a time (plus a possible fourth song as an encore) for the player to take on.

I recorded a two-part video touring the School Idol Festival app the night when it was about to shut down. In the first part, I took a look through most of the menus, played some songs, and showed the character-collecting and team-building mechanics:

In the second part, I played through the Learning from the Fireflies event story, then wrapped it up with a couple more songs as part of a cooperative Rhythmic Carnival event:

The game was fun, and I’m glad I got to see what it was, even though I didn’t get to play it for very long. I’ll be doing another post in the future about the All Stars sister game, which was also discontinued a few months later (with School Idol Festival 2 replacing both games).

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