The newest game in the long-running IDOLM@STER franchise has officially started. However, this one is a bit different from most IDOLM@STER games. The IDOLM@STER Poplinks is not a typical idol training game, but a puzzle game with some idol training elements.
The game (also nicknamed Popmas in typical Japanese abbreviation style) features more than 70 idols from multiple generations of the game. The games involved include 765Pro Allstars, Cinderella Girls, Million Live!, SideM, and Shiny Colors. Not all the idols will show up at once; new ones will appear over time.
The game was beta-tested in December 2020. Pre-registrations for download started on Thursday (Japan Time), and the game announced the official start on Twitter a few hours later.
Gameplay and Story
In the game’s story, you are an idol producer, and you have to create a three-person idol unit. The idols perform at the Pop Links Festival, which is the puzzle part of the game.
The puzzle consists of looping or connecting same-colored notes. The idols have different skills, which can be activated to help clear more notes. The producer can set or change the skills for each idol. Idol friendships improve through idol unit activities. You can coach and train your idols.
You can also customize the jacket cover for your idol unit’s CD.
The game is free, but you can buy Pop Jewels in the game. With Jewels, you can buy things such as new idol costumes, extra time in the puzzle game, or unlock certain ranks. If you download the game between now and 4 February, you will receive 750 Pop Jewels.
If you go to the official Poplinks website, they have a lot of extras. These include yonkoma manga, quite a few promo videos, a songlist, information on all the idols in the game, and so on.