School Idol Festival started off as a humble rhythm game back in 2013. There weren’t a lot of features back then, and it’s really a very simple rhythm game, featuring the members of µ’s.
Fast forward to 2018, the game has tons of new features that made it an entirely different game from back then. I started the game in its early days, so I get to gradually absorb the new stuffs as they are added. However, with several features introduced all at once, the early game contents can quickly overwhelm new players, who have no idea what they got themselves into.
In this article, I would like to make a quick hand holding tour around the ways you can tackle this game. These are, by no means, the definite way to play the game, but I hope it serves as a decent roadmap for new players who just recently got into this game.
With the introduction out of the way, let’s get started shall we?
Scope and Disclaimer
First and foremost, this is not a tutorial for the game; it’s a quick road map at what this game has to offer for you. Hence, it is assumed you already have a vague idea of what this game is about or how each basic feature works.
I have several other articles planned out for the future, but those are a topic for another time.
1) Pick your best girl(s)
No, I’m not talking about the starter Rare member when you start the game, and you don’t have to stick to one and only one best girl.
As of this writing, there are two main groups of Love Live! School Idols – µ’s and Aqours – both groups having 9 members each. With 18 main casts to play around with, I found it helpful for new players to pick two or three girls that resonate with you, just so you have some point of reference for yourself. If you are not sure which member’s personality resonates with you, then just choose them based on their looks; no one will judge you, and your preference can change as you get to know the members more.
The reason I recommend picking a girl you like here is because you will be collecting cards of those girls in this game. So having a girl – or even a specific card set you want to have in your collection – would help you create a soft road map of what you want your dream team to look like.
2) Scout for members
SIF is a gasha game, so of course, to get the card that you want, you have to draw (or ‘scout’) new members from the “Honor Student Box”. There are many items that allow you to perform scouts in this game, but in its most basic form, you’ll need Love Gems – the premium currency of this game – which can be obtained through in-game rewards or purchased with real life money.
The card you get from a scout is entirely randomized – just like any typical gasha games – and you will, more often than not, get the card that you may not want. Obviously, this doesn’t make the game sound very appealing, but fortunately, SIF in its current state is VERY generous with the amount of free-to-play gems (“F2P gems”) you can pick up and there are numerous ways to put the odds of getting the cards you want into your favor.
I will talk more about Gem Gains and Savings Strategies as well as types of scouting boxes in the future, but for now, you can probably already see what your objective of this game will mostly be about; play songs, pick up stuffs, scout for your best girls, rinse and repeat. And with that out of the way, your next course of action would most likely be…
3) Farm dem Love Gems
At this point, depending on who you are, your goal as a player of this game may vary, but for most part, your goal will usually belong to one of the two following camps:
- Building the strongest School Idol Team EVER
- Gotta scout ‘em all waifus!! (or maybe just all cards of your best girl, that works too)
Which ever camp you fall under, you are going to need to scout for members, and you’re gonna be doing that A LOT. And as mentioned above, you’ll need Love Gems, lots of them. There are several ways to obtain them, but most of them universally boils down to doing one thing: performing live performances.
3) µ’s and Aqours side
Before we continue, it’s worth getting a quick refresher on what this entire game is about…
At the time of this writing, Love Live! School Idol Festival is a rhythm game featuring two groups of School Idols; µ’s (Generation 1) and Aqours (Generation 2). The game has two sides, corresponding to each member group, which you can switch on the fly by tapping on their icon on the top left of the screen.
You will have access to that button while you are on the following tabs:
Switching the sides bring up the Story Chapter List, Lists of Songs you can play, and Scouting Box for each respective idol group. If you are looking for certain songs or trying to scout for certain member, it’s worth noting which side you are on so you can properly get to the screen that you want. Your card inventory and teams are universal for both sides, and you are NOT required to have respective members of that group to play their respective songs.
Because there are two sides of stories, live shows, and scouting boxes, you will probably realize that there is a lot of content for you to tackle at first. Fortunately, it does NOT matter which side you want to play first. And heck, you can only play one side if you insist for some reason, but keep in mind that you will be missing tons of rewards from the other side.
4) Main Stories
Now that you know that there are two sides to this game, the question is what should you do first. And to answer that, I’d say it’s not a bad idea to start getting into this game by reading the girls’ stories, especially if you are new to this entire fandom.
As I said, it doesn’t matter which side you pick first. However, it’s worth noting that Aqours – being Generation 2 – briefly mentions µ’s earlier on in their story chapters, but their stories never actually intertwined, and you are not required to know about µ’s story prior to reading Aqours’s.
In order to unlock more stories for the girls, you will need to perform different tasks for each side.
For µ’s side, you unlock new stories based on your Player Rank; the higher it is, the more chapters are unlocked. On the other hand, Aqours’s stories are unlocked based on the number of “Aqours Missions” you cleared under the “Goals” menu in the Home tab. As such, if you are blowing through Aqours’s goals rapidly, chances are you are likely going to unlock Aqours’s story much faster than you unlock µ’s.
Finally, please note that µ’s story has more or less come to a conclusion. As of the date of this writing, µ’s side are not getting any new Main Stories upon each new update. Meanwhile, Aqours, being the currently active group, are gradually getting new stories after every event.
5) Live Performances – HITS and Side-B
Now, on to the main meat of this game.
For each idol side, there are two sides of Live Performances, “HITS” and “Side-B”. So, for complete clarification, there are a total of FOUR live show pages in total:
- µ’s – HITS
- µ’s – Side-B
- Aqours – HITS
- Aqours – Side-B
HITS are basically the “songs you have unlocked”, which you can play indefinitely as much as you want. New songs are unlocked as you clear the respective side’s Main Stories.
Side-B’s are songs that are ‘limited’ to certain occasions, such as the daily songs, random song selection by attribute, event songs, and other special campaign songs.
There are five levels of song difficulties:
The songs also have their own corresponding number of difficulty “stars”, which indicate their difficulty in relation to one another (for instance, certain songs within the Expert difficulty might be easier than another, so they have lower number of stars).
Now, obviously, this being a rhythm song, you’ll have to play songs if you want to make a significant progress. If you’ve never played rhythm games before, it is not a bad idea to start with the easier songs (check out the number of difficulty stars). But if you want to jump right into the hardest difficulty, no one will stop you (aside from, maybe your LP limit).
Many players tend to skip songs under Expert difficulty level because they give very little Player EXP and offers rather inconsequential rewards. Clearing and Full-Comboing Easy, Normal, and Hard Songs give you Gs (and in-game non-premium currency used for a bunch of trivial stuffs) and Friend Points (used to scout ‘regular scouting’ boxes). The rewards are not spectacular, but I highly recommend playing those songs to get S Rank Score and Combo anyway for reasons that will be more clear in a bit.
Another great way to partialize early game contents is check off the goals in the Home tab one-by-one. Most of the goals at the start of the game do not have a time limit, so you can do it whenever you want at your own pace. Aqours main story also requires that you clear certain number of goals listed under their category in order to unlock new ones.
Clearing goals give you a bunch of rewards; some are rather inconsequential (such as G’s and Friend Points), while others are really good (Love Gems, Blue / Green Tickets, etc).
However, there are certain goals that are available for only a short amount of time; these usually come around when no event is taking place, and lasts around a week or so. If you are up for it, consider attempting them as your priority, since they tend to give out good rewards. Some goals are also interlinked with each other (for instance, “Clear x number of <Campaign> Goals”, which can be completed only by clearing other goals of that campaign), so make sure to make a thorough scan of the goals list.
One final note to keep in mind, if the game gives you a time limited goal that requires you to play a certain song you haven’t unlock on HITS yet, chances are it will be briefly available in Side-B.
6) Album Completion and Side Stories
Regardless of who you are, completing the side stories of N and R cards are likely going to keep you VERY busy for a long time in early game. In case you don’t already know, upon idolizing and maxing the bond of a card for the first time, you unlock that card’s side story, and clearing it nets you a Love Gem (and 20k G). This will be the largest source of your Love Gem gain in early game. You can scout for N, and occasionally R, cards using Friend Points, which is why I highly recommended playing all difficulties of songs.
What I would like any new players to consider is the ‘Collection’ section of your Goals. You will notice that there are usually 4 goals within this section:
- Collect x number of different members
- Idolize x number of different members
- Max the bond of x number of different members
- Max the level of x number of different members
Clearing one of these goals give you a Love Gem, as well as unlocking another one that requires you to do another 25 of the same task.
With a little observation, some of you may realize that goals 2 to 4 of the above are tied, meaning 3 and 4 can be performed only if you already idolized a card, and hence the number of goal 3 to 4 you can achieve will directly be tied to how many cards you’ve already idolized in goal 2.
Because you get a gem clearing one of these goals, this translates to the game giving you 3 gems for every card you idolized, maxed bond, and maxed leveled.
There is no official term for performing these three tasks, but I like to shorthand them as “idolmaxing”. Keep that term in mind because I will be using it relatively often in future articles.
I highly recommend you to do all of these three tasks on EVERY cards you come across before you dispose of them from your inventory. This used to be a rather daunting task for new players because the sheer number of N and R cards at the start of the game is tremendous. However, now that the Waiting Room feature has been introduced, you can put the cards that you are not actively working with into the Waiting Room. As the catalog of your idolmaxed card grows, it will become easier and faster to idolmax the subsequent cards.
Events are special in-game activities that you can participate to obtain the SR cards featured for that event, as well as a bunch of other great goodies. Events usually last around 10 days, with up to around a week of down time before the next one comes up.
At the time of this writing, there are 6 types of events in this game:
- Token / Collection Event
- Score Match
- Medley Festival
- Challenge Festival
- Adventure Stroll (“Osanpo Rally” in JP)
- Friendly Match (“Nakayoshi Match” in JP)
You can participate the event activities any time you want during the event period once you’re done with the game’s tutorial. The specifics of each event’s activity may vary, but it will always involve you playing a bunch of songs. If you just started your game, I would not really recommend you to try attempt the highest tier of rewards. Instead, try dipping your feet into the activities to see what it is about and grab some of the low hanging rewards along the way.
None of the events are too complicated to understand, but because the event features are constantly evolving along with the game, I plan on making a dynamically updated guide to each event in the future.
So what do I do again??
What I listed above a bunch of things you can do when you start the game. Nearly all of those activities are interlinked, and with careful planning, you can tackle many of them at once.
- Playing a newly unlocked song will usually unlock a new story chapter for you to read.
- While you play the newly unlocked song, swap your team members around to make sure all of them collect Bonds at the end of the song. Remember, maximizing the Bond of a card for the first time unlocks that card’s side story.
- Aqours’s songs usually have goals that required you to clear the new song at least once, and upon clearing it, you unlock new story chapter and a separate goal that asks you to play the Expert Difficulty of that song for a Love Gem. To maximize your LP efficiency, you can play any of the lower difficulty version of that song, then play the Expert song to get 3 gems all at once (first clear reward, full combo, and from the newly unlocked goal).
- Remember, that clearing lower difficulty songs give you G’s as well as Friend Points. FP’s are used to scout new N cards, and more new cards mean more side stories to unlock.
If you play the game bit by by every day, it should take you no more than two or three months to check out all of the early game contents, after which you will most likely be hefty with several in-game resources.
If you’ve decided to scout and get a full team of SR cards or above, then you might start looking into how to play the events more efficiently for more rewards.
And this concludes my quick beginner’s guide on where to get started with SIF. If you find this article helpful, feel free to use it as a source of reference and share it to your friends who just recently started this game.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading, and I’ll see you guys next time.