Shining Song Starnova caught my interest as it’s an idol story that delves into the behind-the-scenes of the business, and it isn’t all glitz and glamour. I wanted the girls of Starnova, who are considered past their prime or not suitable to be an idol for other reasons, to succeed, and it was up to me to see that it happened!
As an ex-producer of the illustrious Golden Calf company, you play as a producer who has one dream — to help develop the greatest idol group that Japan has ever seen! Hired at the small and far from wealthy Shining Star company, your idol group consists of seven girls who seemingly don’t want to get along, and who don’t trust you based on their prior experiences. This is far from the perfect idol story, but that makes success all the sweeter — if you manage to get there, that is.
This is far from the perfect idol story, but that makes success all the sweeter — if you manage to get there, that is.
Shining Song Starnova does have its fair share of anime cliches, but it subverts them a little by acknowledging that idols are expected to play a part to cater to a specific set of fan’s tastes. Julia is the pretty tsundere type, Aki plays up the little sister anime stereotype, and Nemu is the busty, but ditzy, rich girl.
It blurs the line between them playing a part and who they truly are, which makes for an interesting narrative that digs deep into each girl, and working towards having them be able to accept themselves for who they are. These girls aren’t perfect and, thankfully, this story isn’t about them trying to be.
The game’s flavour text does a good job in describing the events and emotions of the girls, without giving image to some of their more horrific experiences.
I played with the 18+ patch, and the game’s flavour text does a good job in describing the events and emotions of the girls, without giving image to some of their more horrific experiences. With multiple routes and endings to tackle, and the option to begin a route without having to replay the entire game once you’ve cleared it once, it’s easy to go back and see all that Shining Song Starnova has to offer.
Some of the bad ends are pretty out there, and the game did a great job in peaking my interest in each character’s story. The more time I spent with them, the more they grew on me, and the more I shared the protagonist’s passion in creating the ultimate idol group.
This is a visual novel heavy on colour, and the abundance of imagery is befitting of a story which focuses so greatly on the entertainment business.
Shining Song Starnova features a great deal of CG artwork, as well as various portraits for each of the girls. The character design helps each girl and their personalities to shine and stand out from one another, and the background environments are gorgeous.
This is a visual novel heavy on colour, and the abundance of imagery is befitting of a story which focuses so greatly on the entertainment business. There’s a fair bit of nudity, usually breasts, on show with the 18+ patch, but the content added doesn’t necessary enhance the game. If you prefer playing without it, as I sometimes do with visual novels, then know you aren’t missing out on narrative content.
Its presentation, delivery and production values are impressive.
As you’ll have noticed as being listed on Steam, Shining Song Starnova has voiced lines. Not all lines are voiced — most aren’t, actually — but snippets are voiced in Japanese, and they don’t disappoint. As someone who doesn’t understand Japanese, and is a fast reader, I found myself skipping some of the voiced lines, although the ones I stuck around for were enjoyable.
The original music, especially those made for the idol groups, are catchy, and I’m considering picking up the soundtrack myself via Steam. There is no English dub, but there is the option to turn specific voices on or off, scroll back to previously seen text, change the visual quality, and more.
It delivers on what it promises.
Shining Song Starnova isn’t cheap at £23.79, but there’s plenty of content and its presentation, delivery and production values are impressive. I recommend checking it out if the premise interests you, as it delivers on what it promises. If developer want to tackle more idol-inspired stories, then I’m in for it!
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