Important Importables Review: K-ON! After School Live!! for PSP

December 11, 2010 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: K-ON! After School Live!! for PSP

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Music

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K-ON! After School Live!! Houkago Live!! けいおん!放課後ライブ!!(特典なし)

Title: K-ON! After School Live!! (K-ON! Houkago Live!!)
Price: Around $69
System(s): PSP
Release Date: September 30, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Sega (Sega)
ESRB Rating: N/A, “Cero A” for All Ages
Pros: Lots of songs from the first season of the anime, clear graphics, nice assortment of costumes to earn, can decorate the club room, can watch event segments from the series, five player multiplayer over ad-hoc, two levels of difficulty for each song, five instruments to play and gameplay is reminiscent of games like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva and the Rock Band series. Easy to play even if you can’t read Japanese.
Cons: Every person needs a copy of K-On! to play together, K-On!‘s music may not appeal to everyone and it is extraordinarily expensive. Only 19 tracks, which is a bit small for a music game.
Overall Score: 9/10

A prior installment Hot Japanese Imports talked about the manga and anime series K-ON! and how it had experienced a massive popularity boom in Japan. The series is so popular in Japan that Sega stepped up and created a music game based on the series. So, thanks to a friend who invested in a copy, this week Hot Japanese Imports will review K-ON! After School Live!!.

K-ON After School Live PSP けいおん!放課後ライブ!!(特典なし)

“Cagayake! GIRLS”

The story for the K-ON! After School Live!! is pretty much identical to the K-ON! anime and manga. A group of four girls come to high school and all end up joining the light music club, which is about to be disbanded. Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Tsumugi and later Azusa become friends and form the band Hokago Tea Time.

While the story is really put on the backburner for K-ON! PSP, since it is a music game, the skit segments that unlock and appear as you play the game and decorate the club room are based on shorts and segments that appeared in the manga and anime. They’re usually cute and funny, with the characters from the series represented in chibi-form as they re-enact classic moments.

“Don’t say ‘lazy’!”

K-ON! After School Live!! is similar to the Rock Band portable games. At the bottom of the screen is a music staff. As the song plays, images of the directional buttons or face buttons will appear on notes. Players press said buttons to play the song. The song won’t sound different if you flub some notes but still. It’s presented very well so it’s easy to see what you need to do and it’s fairly easy to watch the characters perform while you play. You can play five different instrument parts for all 19 of the songs (all taken from the first season of the K-ON! anime) and there are two levels of difficulty for each song.

I also found it handy that the video playing in the background while you play is never too “busy.” It’s cute, but it’s never too distracting. That way you can really focus on what you’re doing. This gets important when you start playing the more difficult versions of songs, since there are a lot of combos and there’ll be a lot of chords.

There’s also a lot of opportunity for players to customize their K-ON! PSP experience. You can unlock costumes for the characters to wear. You can even earn items to decorate the characters’ club room. It’s a cute feature, and a nice way to motivate people to keep playing through the songs.

Unfortunately, there are some rather noticeable downsides to K-ON! After School Live!!. The track listing is a bit small at 19 songs. Yes, you can play five parts for each song (two guitar parts, a bass, drums and keyboard) but still. Given the price of the game, you’d expect a little more for your money. Also, the daunting price could make it difficult to find people to play K-ON! PSP with. Since there’s only local ad-hoc and each person would need a copy of the game to play, that can make creating a multiplayer jam-session quite a feat.

K-On After School Live Houkago Live けいおん!放課後ライブ!!(特典なし)

“Heart Goes Boom!!”

If you love K-ON!, then you’re going to love K-ON! After School Live!! too. It’s just a given. All of the catchy tracks from the first season are included, you can see mini-skits of some of your favorite events, decorate the club room and the girls and even put on your own Hokago Tea Time performance with friends. Best of all, it’s very import friendly since the PSP is region-free and there’s very little text. It may be best to wait a few months and see if a Best version appears though, since the game is surprisingly expensive.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Wand of Fortune Portable for the PSP

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week provided a 2010 Japanese novelty gift guide.

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