Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is a spin-off Vita game based on Compile Heart’s popular JRPG series. The title sees Neptune and pals forego their dungeon crawling antics in favour of starring in a genre that seldom appears in the West – namely an idol simulator. It’s a bit like combining Football Manager with a visual novel, only that instead of coaching players you are tasked with leading a budding pop star to glory. Why can’t I manage both simultaneously? Anyone remember Diamond Lights? Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle prove that sporting superstars can storm the music charts too. Okay… maybe that wasn’t a great example.
Producing Perfection is set in the world of Gameindustri, which is ruled by four goddesses (Neptune the quirky heroine, Noire the mate-less tsundere, Blanc the angsty bookworm and Vert a compulsive gamer with massive jugs.) The quartet of female deities is presently in a pinch, as their fame is being supplanted by MOB48 (a pop group formed by their enemies.) This is bad news for the goddesses as the might of their powers is directly linked to their popularity. In order to remedy the situation it is decided that they must fight fire with fire. Each goddess sets off to pursue a singing career, which will hopefully see them become as popular as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or whatever star the kids listen to these days.
Players are summoned into the world of Gameindustri were they are employed to act as a producer for one of the gals. Once hired the aim is to eclipse MOB48 in the music charts and ultimately turn your girl into the most popular idol in the land. In order to accomplish this goal you get to select what daily activity to perform from the in-game menu. You could for example increase your fan base by participating in promotional activities or improve your dancing/singing skills by rehearsing. Be sure not to overwork your client though or she may become overly stressed and go off the deep end. It would be a terrible shame if Neptune snapped and turned into the next Britney Spears.
A good way to bolster the prominence of your goddess is to throw concerts, but be aware that the gigs in Producing Perfection are nothing as advanced as what you would find in rhythm games like Project Diva. When your idol takes to the stage all you can influence is the look of their attire, the design of the set they are performing on, what song they sing and the position of the camera recording their act. Some players may be disappointed by how basic the concert mini-game is, but I personally didn’t mind it. The five J-pop tunes on offer are catchy and watching Vert shake her booty beats the spectacle of Miley Cyrus twerking any day.
My rating for Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is a three out of five. Although I enjoyed the game it is strictly for fans of the franchise only. Your average player is unlikely to be impressed by the sparse gameplay, which pretty much boils down to selecting options from a menu. Although the game lacks the RPG battles of the mainline series, Neptunia fanatics should still enjoy the title as it is packed with humorous cut scenes. In terms of longevity the game can be bested in a few hours, but anyone wanting to 100% the story with all the goddesses will find there is plenty of content to keep them occupied. All in all Producing Perfection may not have the X-Factor of a five star game, but I wouldn’t give it a Simon Cowell scathing critique like other reviewers have.