Is BanG Dream! Becoming the New Love Live?

Many people compare BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! to Love Live! School Idol Festival since it was also produced by Bushiroad. However, there are a few notable differences between the two which allows them to stand on their own.

BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!, otherwise known as Bandori, is a Japanese rhythm game developed by Bushiroad and released in Japan early Spring 2017. The game was so well received that a worldwide version was released. In just a few weeks, its music reached the #3 spot in the American Google Play Store.

Gacha—Loot box

Within smartphone games there is a mechanic called gacha. It is a lottery that can provide the player with powerful cards. These cards can ease gameplay and score challenges. Bandori has three levels of rarity, each represented by stars, with two being the lowest value and four being the highest. The gacha rate for two stars is 88%, while 3 stars is 8.5%, and 4 stars is 3%. While these values may seem low, they are much higher than Love Live!’s rates, where there are five levels of rarity with the most powerful cards having a drop rate of 1%.

Gacha in both games also requires special items that can either be purchased or gathered through gameplay and events. The difference is that Bandori allows free gacha item gathering via promotions with other companies and sponsors. For instance, watching a trailer for another game can grant you 50 items. This is a great resource for players who aren’t interested in spending actual money for their waifus.

Story Modes

Bandori and Love Live! both feature story modes to give players a closer look at the lives of their characters. Love Live! focuses on the interactions between its two idol groups, µ's and Aqours. Both the main and event stories are very light hearted, focusing on the daily interactions between group members and providing explanations behind the costumes featured within character cards.

Bandori focuses on Poppin'Party, Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Roselia, and Hello Happy World. Every band has its own story mode and events that really flesh out each idol group and its specific members.

Roselia for instance focuses on the formation of the band itself and its member’s personal conflicts, while Pastel Palettes focuses on the dark side of the entertainment industry. 

No Stamina System, Live Shows, and Leveling

Fundamentally, Bandori and Love Live! are the same as rhythm games. Both involve the player forming teams, playing songs to gain high scores, and unlocking story content and bonus items featured in events. When compared to Love Live!, Bandori has several features that allow for a better gaming experience

Firstly, Bandori does not have a stamina system and instead has a reward bonus system. These points are represented as flames and can be refilled over time or through the use of recovery items. The player controls the amount of flames they use in the live show settings.

Live shows feature a layout similar to games such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The player can choose between solo and co-op live shows in which they actively preforms with other players in order to clear high-score challenges. While Love Live! does have a co-op mode, it is exclusive to specific events.

During the course of live shows, characters can activate skills that provide a variety of bonus effects and lead the player to better scores. Characters stats and abilities can be improved by leveling them up and using special status boost items that can increase band member’s stats up to 5%. Using flames grants players more experience and higher item drop rates. These rewards and stat boosts can be obtained for free and don’t require heavy use of the gacha like Love Live!.

Finally, events require the player to simply play through live shows to gain bonus points based on difficulty level. While events have rare cards as prizes, they can be obtained by simply gaining a specific amount of event points as opposed to reaching a specific rank. This is a lot easier than Love Live! which requires both specific ranks and point collections to gain prizes.

Rise of Another Otaku Cultural Phenomenon

With its gacha, gameplay, and story modes, Bandori is definitely becoming a cultural phenomenon for western players, as did Love Live!Bandori has just been greenlit for two additional anime seasons and is ranking high on Japanese music charts.

While this does not mean trouble for the Love Live! Franchise as whole, this could spell trouble for its mobile game.