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idolYAKI: From Delinquents to Pop Stars Review

Official Score

Overall - 40%

40%

The bad girls of idolYAKI are certainly bad, but for all of the wrong reasons. While this visual novel has got a novel concept, the execution and presentation prove to be too much of a has been to make an impact.

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KPOP and JPOP have taken stages, music videos, and karaoke parlors by storm, but Yacht Party Games takes a look at three unlikely idols with their new title idolYAKI. Does its three malcontent youths have what it takes to shake up the visual novel space?

idolYAKI: From Delinquents to Pop Stars Review

As a devout fan of idols (and the glowsticks to match), the protagonist Kazuo Tamara joins the idol club in an attempt to get immersed in what he loves. There’s just one problem; the three other members are criminals that have a bit of a reputation.

For one, Mako Fujiwara is a bit of a pyromaniac, and has previously set the school on fire. Hana Miki’s not much better, stabbing an unlucky student she didn’t like with a pencil. And then there’s Eri Morozov, who is said to have family ties to both the Russian mafia and the Yakuza. As the Director of said club, players have four days to get these three ladies ready for a pop idol contest.

It’s an interesting enough premise that puts the heat on players with a deadline, but the prep time fails to let the delinquent nature of these girls shine. Non Sequiturs about bullying or wanting fireworks somewhat match their personality, but it’s hard to buy into their mean girl persona when they’re doing a photoshoot in a cafe. Though the game is a bit on the short side – the average playthrough is around 30 minutes – more should have been done to sell the fact that these bad girls are really bad. As a result, their “redemption” arc somewhat falls flat.

As players take control of this club and set things up, they’ll have to make a number of decisions along the way. One could chalk up Kazuo’s attitude as being somebody not wanting to stir the pot, but oftentimes the three choices are a bit too upbeat and positive for their own good. Certain choices will change up where players will go or who to agree with, but most playthroughs will likely be the same until the very end. On that note, there are six different endings one will be able to find.

It’s just a shame that for a game that stresses idol worship, the audiovisual presentation falls flat. The music in idolYAKI really misses the mark – there’s not a single KPOP or JPOP song to be had, and even a royalty free generic version would have made more of an impact. The artwork doesn’t fare much better – the rough doodles and giant googly eyes of each of the three pop stars is a hallmark of Lisa Frank sketchbooks the world over.

Outside of the six different endings, there’s not much to encourage players from coming back. There are no achievements and not much variety between playthroughs; what you see is most certainly what you get.

The bad girls of idolYAKI are certainly bad, but for all of the wrong reasons. While this visual novel has got a novel concept, the execution and presentation prove to be too much of a has been to make an impact.

This review of idolYAKI: From Delinquents to Pop Stars was done on the PC. The game was freely downloaded.
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Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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