Idol Manager

released on Jul 27, 2021

Idol Manager is a business sim about conquering the entertainment industry using any means you deem necessary.

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A very cool idea for a game, but I'm not really sure of the driving reason to keep playing. I always liked AKB48 as a kid, but this game just showed me that the business side is super boring. Sucks since its a concept thats right up my alley, but 90% of the game is just watching your interns work at a desk until a bar fills up. If there were like 50 different NPC girls with actual depth instead of random names and one liners, I'd actually care about my lineups instead of just using the Special idol you always get as my Acchan.
A cool game that I wish I could get into, but its just kind of boring, and far easier to fuck up than Game Dev Tycoon.

Melhor jogo de adm de idol não há! Go Purple Velvet!

Ver llegar a tus idols (que en mi caso son las protagonistas de Idolmaster Shiny Colors gracias a un agraciado mod) a la cumbre de las listas de éxito con canciones que tienen títulos de discos de pornogrind tras obligarlas a trabajar 24/7 como una suerte de esclavista del mundo del pop es catárquico.

Gets really close to making interesting points but stays to the end as a standard tycoon game. A lack of fleshed out mechanics and a lack of variation in the randomized content is clearly apparent, but it's not a bad game still.

The thing that piques my interest with Idol Manager is that the developers seem to have a genuine interest in painting the idol industry as something that brings joy to a lot of people, but has a number of less glamorous elements to it - the exploitation, the scandals (and non-scandals), the fact that a lot of these idols are still just kids and bullying is a real thing that you will need to address. There is a surprising amount of work that you and your staff will have to do, split between doing things that are financially rewarding and things that you need to maintain the wellbeing of your idols. Given that you as a producer/manager need to touch everything that goes out the door in some form or fashion, you really begin to feel stretched thin as you are increasingly unable to maintain a personal relationship with each one of your idols. This becomes a complaint of mine as it means as your operation grows in scale you will have several things being held up while you personally put the finishing touches on every project, but it also makes for some of the most effective moments in the game when you realize you’ve been lost in handling business, haven’t paid much attention to your idols lately, only to get the pop-up that one of them is having a birthday that she’s spending alone in the break room.
These small moments of drama are obviously intentional or the game wouldn’t bother showing you the specific girls at a birthday party, or who is using the break room (and how) during the course of a normal day. While the focus on the joy the idols bring makes sense and makes moments like the one above more impactful through juxtaposition, there are a few elements of the game that detract from the experience due to a conflict in tone. The scandals are the most notable example of this, often referencing real life incidents - there are events referencing Japanese VTubers saying the N word while playing GTA V, and some events that might be references but are already so ridiculous as an inclusion to this game that I have to wonder why they decided this was appropriate.
Perhaps the most bizarre inclusion to me, though, is the inclusion of a whole visual novel-style dating subplot that you access by flirting with one of your idols (only possible if they’re over 18). The game seems to be of two minds about this, given how often it reminds you that dating an idol is a bad idea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that you’re their employer. However, there’s still a LOT of writing dedicated to dating an idol (most of which is your employee GF coming up with absurdly profound small talk) up to and including marriage, where the game forces one of you to leave the company and gives you a random Fallout-style ending that tells you all about life after marriage. If you pursue this route and the idol quits the company instead of you, the game continues on as if nothing happened, save for (hilariously) replacing the enormous “Flirt” button with an enormous button that now reads “You are faithful to your wife”.
It frequently stumbles, but the game is still engaging, and if you’re trying to be successful you’ll always have enough plates spinning at once that it’s hard to find a clear stopping point. While there’s always a lot that needs done and there’s never really a big single moment of triumph, the fun comes from sitting back and realizing that you have successfully turned a handful of recruits into genuine stars, and almost being proud as the ones who have been there the longest decide its time to graduate and move on to better things. There’s not enough at play here to be a proper tycoon game, but as a blend between tycoon games, visual novels, and like… a particularly intense clicker/idle game, it works well enough that I don’t regret spending 20 bucks on it, but I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to recommend it to anyone.

Managed to crash the agency into the ground 3 times, owed 9 billion yen and got all my idols injured due to exhaustion
Despite that managed to get a happy ending by ignoring all my responsabilities while they were closing out my business and asking out one of my idols over and over until I retired from the company and proposed marriage to her
10/10 would manage again