It is difficult to innovate on and redefine a genre as rich and storied as the rhythm game. With the new gacha rhythm title World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium, Bandai Namco has proven innovation entirely unnecessary. Drawing design and gameplay decisions from familiar titles like Project Sekai: Colorful Stage, World Dai Star is a competent and fun rhythm game that focuses its innovative efforts on character design and story. Planting the player in a world where theatre has experienced a boom in popularity, the game follows an eclectic cast of girls who join competing troupes, each young woman aiming to be the World Dai Star: the peak performer.
Fun as a rhythm game that polishes the design decisions of its predecessors, World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium becomes a fantastic rhythm gacha experience through the art and voice acting, which enliven the game’s characters and their emotional journeys as performers. Recently released on iOS and Android, though only in Japanese, this title has a sturdy rhythm game foundation that allows its massive cast of interesting characters to flourish.
▍A Rainbow of Character Types
As much as the core rhythm gameplay, the cast of World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium is an essential make-or-break for potential players. Fortunately, a fantastic variety of performers to choose from and expressive character models help distinguish this mobile title from its rhythm peers. Across the game’s various theatre troupes, each character model achieves a level of expression and visual detail that adds emotion to the game’s story scenes. The 2D artwork for characters in the gacha and the posters they can equip to power up look fantastic, with the posters imagining wonderfully creative and dramatic scenarios.
The sheer number of girls in World Dai Star checks off every character type imaginable. The stories of the different performers can be explored as the player levels up, with different girls associated with various theatre troupes that contain separate story arcs. Focusing on four different theatre troupes runs the risk of creating stale and repetitive scenarios about similar issues with fame and performance.
And though some of the early story chapters offer the cliches you can expect within a story about idols or performers, the personalities and emotions of the characters shine through. For instance, Daikoku, a member of the troupe Eden, is at times troubled by self-doubt over past experiences with other performers and troupes, and yet at other points dazzlingly hopeful. Fantastic voice acting and pleasant character models help elevate these promising story experiences, and the connections and threads across characters and troupes are fun to untangle.
Extra touches, like the ability to customize the characters around your home screen, meet characters across various map locations, and build up your performers’ stats through missions, make great use of the game’s stellar character designs and models. The fantastic recent anime adaptation of World Dai Star shows the peaks that this franchise can reach; the involvement of story writer Takahiro is another good omen, given his work in creating the memorable anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero.
▍Tried and True Rhythm Gameplay
The gameplay of World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium feels very similar to other mobile rhythm gacha titles—Sega’s Project Sekai in particular feels like an inspiration for Dai Star’s mechanics. A player taps notes as they cross the screen, with visuals indicating when notes need to be held or flicked. Like with Project Sekai, the game’s difficulty is incredibly versatile, and tougher charts for songs will add additional note lanes, multiplying the intensity of the musical bombardment.
The title makes up for a lack of gameplay surprises with plain competence. Note charts feel incredibly precise and fine-tuned, syncing up with the music very nicely while offering challenges appropriate for each difficulty level. UI can make or break a rhythm game, and luckily World Dai Star offers the player a clean and clear experience. The transparent note board lights up spectacularly when flashy skill effects activate while offering an effective view of the animated music videos paired with select songs. The UI allows a player to easily track important information about their score and note streaks and colorful notifications on character sense usage to brighten up songs with their favorite performers.
▍Smart Gameplay Depth with Character Sense and Leader Skills
Character Sense (abilities) and Leader Skills are the main mechanic for team synergy in World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium. Though complicated on the surface, the game’s system for skills is easy to grasp while offering a great amount of gameplay variety, based on the song you’re playing and team lineup.
Essentially, characters have different senses of various colors, which activate throughout a song. Activating a sense produces a diamond of the corresponding color; acquiring the correct number and type of diamonds activates the Leader Skill of your team’s lead performer.
Matching your team composition to the song chart in order to maximize your activations of leader skills becomes a fun challenge, made tougher by the fact that character senses have cooldowns—a sense will fail if activated before the cooldown is over.
This gameplay system of sense and skills offers interesting complexity that allows unique combinations of characters to shine across songs, and this diversity is helped by the fact that different events in-game offer bonus rewards for using certain characters. But confusion about the skill and sense system may be easily avoided with a clear menu screen that shows your sense usage, leader skill usage, and any sense failures for a song chart.
World Dai Star doesn’t reinvent the wheel for rhythm gameplay but does polish it until it shines. The clean UI and fairly simple, but interesting, incentives for planning your team composition liven up a genre that can easily become a repetitive drone of hitting notes and rolling for characters just to add a few points to your song scores, through the system of leader skills and character sense.
▍An Enjoyable but Uninspired Music Tracklist
A rhythm game needs rhythm, and good music, to keep you hooked. And the original music in World Dai Star generally impresses with vocal performances and catchy tunes. Variety in the tracklist can, however, be a bit lacking, and I did not feel like the vibes of the different theatre troupes were fully represented by the current song selection.
It is difficult for any rhythm title to match the variety of different genres you get to experience with the Hatsune Miku games, but an unfavorable comparison to Project Sekai is hard for World Dai Star to avoid. World Dai Star, of course, is a new title with plenty of room to grow, and I hope to see more covers and songs that expand outside the conventional anime pop sound.
▍Fair Gacha Elements With an Uncertain Future
Rhythm games can be particularly brutal when it comes to gacha elements, with players who spend money gaining an advantage over free players in the player-versus-player competition. Currently, it is impossible to say how impactful spending will be until future in-game events, but spending does certainly offer gameplay benefits. In particular, there are strong incentives for obtaining multiple copies of a poster, which may be equipped on a character.
On the flip side, World Dai Star is very generous with its currency, offering a massive amount through story chapters, and players are able to obtain strong posters through free tickets. World Dai Star could change to more actively promote whaling, but at the moment content and progression feel very accessible for free-to-play accounts. And rerolling is very easy—you are provided with free rolls right after creating an account, and resetting your account can be quickly done through a menu at the top right of the title screen.
▍World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium Promises a Strong Start
World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium feels incredibly reminiscent of other rhythm titles. But in every way that it doesn’t innovate, the title still impresses. Any lack of originality in gameplay or design decisions is compensated for in the stellar cast of characters, which look great and sound great in story content and artwork. The story can at times feel cliche but will surprise you with emotion you wouldn’t expect in a tale about idols or performers.
The UI is fantastic, and while the track listings aren’t incredible, there are strong vocal performances across all of the game’s songs. There are no exceptional, new, standout features within World Dai Star, and you’ll be left wanting to see more of the character models outside story scenes. But the future seems bright for this young rhythm game, given the success of the anime, the staff involved, and generous gacha—now is absolutely the best time to check out World Dai Star.
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World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium Review – A Beautiful Encore in Gacha Rhythm Gaming - QooApp Review
World Dai Star: Yume no Stellarium feels incredibly reminiscent of other rhythm titles. But in every way that it doesn’t innovate, the title still impresses with fresh story scenarios and vivid characters.
Operating System: iOS, Android
Application Category: Game