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While I am not much of an Otaku myself, the cute cover of the Playism‘s Idol manager had me sold in less than a minute. One may easily be fooled by its squeaky-clean facade of a management simulator but what lies is no less a dark and gritty take on Japan’s one of the most booming and controversial business ventures – The Idol Industry. 

While starting off, Idol Manager can be really difficult at times, especially for the majority out there who may have picked up this game in the anticipation of cute waifus, and husbandos. But if you really know or want to know how management sims work, it can be quite a rewarding experience. 

The Idol Manager was released on 25th August 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch. The game was previously released on Steam in 2021.

Decisions That Define You

To start off, a wealthy businessman invests over 5 million yen in your Idol agency, and then you would be putting out Idol searches, leasing offices, and hiring the required staff members to run your agency. Sounds easy right? Well, it’s not. I went bankrupt 5 times on my initial playthroughs. Even during my current playthrough, I was in debt almost at all times. But once you get the hang of it, things will start going your way and so will the Idols.

Speaking of Idols, they are the true stars of the presentation. You will be managing salaries, staff, studio, and other ventures to cater to your Idol’s needs so that they can gain the experience and expertise to make it big on the stage. So in turn, you will need to shape the Idols to cater to the Audience’s tastes. Needless to say, playing it safe won’t get you anywhere.

Thankfully the game’s tutorial covers almost the majority of the jobs you need to do in the game. It is kinda the campaign roadmap for the game, but none is forced on you. You can hire/fire people and do things as you wish. But doing things haphazardly will most likely run you out of money in no time.

The Idols

Ok, let’s dive into the reason why I click baited you to this page – The Girls. As a manager along with nurturing the Idols, you would also be building relationships. I know what you are thinking, is dating allowed or not? Short answer – Yes and No. While it can be allowed as per the company’s preferred policies, finding an Idol who is open to dating is pretty rare. On top of that, the Acceptance/ Rejection ratio is quite uneven and you will end up being rejected most of the time.

That being said, there are a lot of things to look forward to besides dating. From Idol Searches to Releasing Singles and finally doing Stage Tours there’s a long road ahead. Depending on your need you can also stop or fast-forward time. And as you grow as an agency and collect funds as well as research points, you would be able to afford better Music Producers, Lyricists, and Choreographers. With the gained research points that you gain, you can unlock new Genres, Dance-forms, Costume-Designs, and Lyrics.

Now after unlocking numerous options, you will have to tailor your Idols to pertain to a sizable chunk of the masses aka building a fanbase. This includes their Costume designs, Music, Side Ventures, and overall Personality. To appeal to the younger masses you can go for EDM, R&B, or Pop with the right amount of Cuteness and an ample amount of Sexiness but you cannot have both at the same time. Likewise, the appeal level will be depending on the current trends and audience demography. At the end of the day, it’s going big or going home.

The Other Side of The Coin

The most important aspect of an Idol is to keep reinventing and remain in the spotlight. The good roads won’t always lead your Idols to graduate with stellar success. You will have to play it the dirty way by compromising on many things or creating controversies. Slacking on Security and provocative costumes with wardrobe malfunctions alongside sexy photoshoots will only assure your agency a short-lived success.

To take things up a notch, you will often have to impose certain measures on your Idols and their lifestyles. At the end of the day, it’s their performances, photoshoots, and singles that will earn you the bucks. Amidst all these, you will have to resolve various types of disputes amongst your hired staff and Idols. There will be liabilities and sanctions along the way that can crumble your established status. Making manual saves provides assured checkpoints in case you want to start things over.

Real Talk

If you are looking for 3D sims with a cute anime cast, Idol manager is not your piece of cake. However, if you want to take things up a notch and want to play management sims, it is a solid entry point for beginners and veterans alike. Its in-game forecasts and audience give the game a sense of realism rarely seen in such genres.  


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