The world of Gamindustri is in trouble and it’s up to you to save it. Half visual novel and half idol simulator, Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection puts you in the role of a young producer summoned by the console themed goddesses of Gamindustri to help them save their home. How? Not through epic RPG styled combat or anything of the sort. No, in Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection you save the world through the power of song.
The four goddesses, dubbed Console Patron Units (CPUs) combined the last of their power to bring you to their world. An idol group called MOB48 has won over the favor and shares of Gamindustri, which means trouble for the four girls who draw their power from those shares. Naturally, the girls decide to become idols themselves and compete to regain control of the shares. And it’s all up to you.
The majority of the game is found in the Producer game mode, which is equal parts training, performance, and visual novel fan service. You’re able to manage the daily activities of your idol, choosing whether she should focus on increasing her fanbase, improving her skills, or just taking it easy to reduce stress. Letting her stress reach 100% will end the game instantly, as will letting 180 days pass. Feels like the kind of situation that would require careful time management, right? Not so much. Without much effort on my part, I was able to beat the game right around the 100 day mark my first time through.
After training, you’re able to show off your idol’s abilities in a concert. As the producer, it’s up to you to select the venue, song, stage effects, and your idol’s wardrobe. Admittedly, I enjoyed the costume changes. Each girl starts out with alternate hair and costume colors, but additional outfits, colors, and accessories can be unlocked as you progress in the game. The dress up aspect of of Hyperdimension Neptunia was ultimately my favorite part of the game.
Following stage setup, the producer is then in charge of managing effects while the idol performs. Different stage effects can be equipped, each with its own effect on ‘Audience Glee’ and with its own cooldown time. The game explains that timing these effects with audience excitement will maximize your score, but I found that hitting them immediately after they came off cooldown was just as effective.
While managing stage effects, you’re also in charge of controlling the camera for the show. The d-pad offers four unique angles, each of which can be modified in another four ways. This is another tool to be used to raise audience glee, but really you’re set as long as you keep the camera moving around. Scoring well isn’t hard. I was able to set my Vita down for an entire concert and still walk away with a ‘Standard’ score. Oh, and there’s also a camera angle dedicated to a shot of your idol’s chest because of course there is.
The third aspect of the game, and the one I wish would have been given more of a focus, is the visual novel gameplay. All the dialogue in the game is fully voiced, including both main plot sequences and small conversations between you and your idol. Additionally, the 2D anime sprites shown during dialogue are not only detailed, but also animated. The animations are minimal and mostly confined to breathing and blinking, but I loved them all the same. And while I understand that the animations were likely included to show off the chest sizes of certain characters, seeing a character’s shoulders rise and fall with breath, or even seeing her blink, positively affected the overall feel of the game.
The UI offered for interacting in conversation with your idol, though sparsely used, was simple yet expertly crafted. At times, three different responses are available. Each is assigned to either circle, triangle, or square. It’s a simple method of entering a response, but it works very well and I wish it had been implemented more.
Through certain ‘Relax’ menu interactions, you are able to raise your affection with the CPUs. As someone who generally enjoys visual novels, I was disappointed by just how little the affection actually matters in game. Despite going out of my way to max her affection, I rarely noticed any differences in the way Noire regarded my character. There were no subtle changes in casual dialogue, no heartwarming romance or friendship scenes, just nothing. Like many other aspects of Producer mode, the visual novel side of the game started with good intensions and ultimately fell flat.
Producer mode is just one of the three gameplay modes featured in Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection. The second mode, unlocked after reaching a certain point in Producer mode, is the Endless Concert. This mode is exactly what it sounds like. From here, you are able to choose a single idol, a duo, or a trio to preform a song on a set of your choosing. Unique to this mode, you’re given additional accessories to place in the background of your concerts. But unlike producer mode, you won’t receive a score at the end of the set.
The final mode is definitely the most interesting of the three. Viewer Mode, which is described as a way to “carefully examine your idols” is just as sketchy as it sounds. This mode flips your vita into portrait mode and evokes a more touch sensitive control scheme. You’re able to select from 14 possible 3D models, most of which are unlocked via producer mode, to interact with. If you haven’t guessed it by now, that interaction comes from poking at different parts of the idol’s body and watching her react to your prodding. I’m not about to spell everything out for you, but you’re able to use both the front and back touch screen here. If this mode weren’t creepy enough, the look of violation on the girls’ faces when you touch a butt or breast is enough to make this mode even seedier.
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is an interesting spinoff from the main series of RPG centric games. The game dabbles heavily in fanservice, sometimes to the point of uncomfortableness, but generally doesn’t become overwhelmed with it. Though gameplay can be mindblowingly easy at times, the Idol training and preforming elements still make for a fun experience if you’re into that kind of game. Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection certainly isn’t for everyone, but it will no doubt be a welcome addition to Vita owners craving a dose of dancing Anime girl fanservice.
[+Strong Visual Novel UI] [+Fully Voiced] [+Animated Anime Sprites] [+Simple Gameplay and Concept] [+Unlockable Costumes] [-Easy. Too Easy] [-Lacking Core Visual Novel Elements] [-Awkward Amounts of Fanservice in Viewer Mode]