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Back from my sudden hiatus with a different sort of blog post! I was supposed to post this last month, but then I got busy with winter school and a convention.

This year I’ve been on sort of a break from my 3ds and gotten into mobile games. I never really used to be into mobile games since I mainly use my phone for social media, music and photos; but nowadays games apps have iPad versions so now I don’t have to worry about running out of room!

I’ll be posting a brief introductions (coz I don’t want to ramble too much haha) about apps I’ve found addictive or interesting so far this year, so here’s the first part based on why I was attracted to them in the first place – who doesn’t want to play a game full of eyecandy?

Ensemble Stars
Cost: Free
Devices: Phone and Tablet
iOS | Android | Site
*Currently Japanese region only

Ensemble Stars is a card collection game and as the player you’re the new transfer student to Yumenosaki Private Academy, a school that specialises in idol training. As the first student (and only girl lol) in the producer’s course, it’s your job produce idols! If you’re thinking of playing this with the intent of there being music, there isn’t any but the unit groups will be releasing singles starting from October 2015.

There are 30 students, divided into 8 musical units, and 2 teachers at the academy. Everyone is voiced, though not all parts of the story will be read out, they mainly make noises (such as laughing) or have catch phrases. When you choose a main character for your main screen though, you can unlock voiced sentences as your closeness with them increases through mini events. There are different phrases depending on the time. There are also customisable options such as changing the outfit of the character and backgrounds.

Gameplay: You form a unit of 5 different characters and then choose a producer course or lesson to train them in. Depending on the characters you’ve chosen, sometimes there will be special skills activated during lives and the Dream festival which can increase the dance, vocal or performance.

Each course consists of 20 lessons and there will be missions to complete which can unlock character voices or diamonds. Missions will be tasks such as getting fever twice during a course or collecting a certain amount of jewels and so forth. You just basically just tap the location you want to choose at the bottom of the screen to complete what you want to do and watch them dance (like farm jewels, activate mini events or completing the missions). There will also be 2 lives during a course where your unit will battle against other unit of 5 members.

Dream Festival occurs during event periods where you make teams according to one of the 3 attributes and battle against one character. You’ll also have a chance of getting that character!

It’s super cute to see the characters have different outfits depending on what card version you have used. I got these cards from 2 events ago, so they’re wearing the summer uniform.

Cards: There are 3 card attributes: dance, vocal and performance and 5 card rarities with the 5th being the most rare. You can level up a card through producing them in lessons or using producer points.

The jewels collected from producer courses are used to unlock/increase stats in a card’s idol road. You can also use diamonds but I think it’s better to save for gacha rolls so you can have a chance at getting better cards. Through the idol road you can also unlock skills, outfits and backgrounds. Backgrounds are typically unlocked through 4 star cards, but you can also get special themed ones through events. Complete their idol road to make their talent blossom and reach a card’s sublimate form! The overall stats will rise and the card will change (sometimes the mini avatar of the idol will change it’s outfit too.

Thoughts: At first I was disappointed because I thought it was a music game like Love Live and that the game play seemed boring without any music but then I started to enjoy it for the different characters. They all have different personalities and quirks so it’s interesting to read their stories. Not to mention the art is really nice, I totally love the character designs, and it’s amusing to see all the different designs on the cards which are constantly released in new events.

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Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin Oujisama
(Literally. The Dream Kingdom and the 100 Sleeping Princes)
Cost: Free
Devices: Phone and Tablet
iOS | Android | Site

Shortened to yume100, this game is about the dream world which is being threatened by monsters who eat people’s dreams. You awaken the princes as you advance in the game and in doing so you can open sweet stories about them. Which prince will you fall in love with?

It is a puzzle rpg game with beautifully designed characters and voiced by popular and famous voice actors! There are constantly new events and princes being introduced every few weeks, so there’s constantly things to do.

Gameplay: Each coloured ball is associated with a prince of a certain colour – link them to make a chain of at least 3 balls to attack the enemy! Aim for at least 12 combos each turn, as you’ll get an excellent rating and your attack will be stronger. After you fill the meter, fever mode will be activated where you just tap combos for a short period of time. Also each prince has a skill which can be activated after a certain number of coloured balls have been linked. There are skill such as deleting random balls or deleting 3 rows etc. Depending on the enemies colour, princes of a certain colour will be stronger.

     

For the main story, you complete each chapter of it in different towns/cities in each world as you destroy the monsters, and when you reach the end of the story in that world you’ll get a prince! You can also get princes though events (these happen really often) or via the gacha using diamonds (these can be bought or earned in the game), opal shards (earnt through the challenge mode), event points or friend points.

Besides the main story and event stories, there are also character stories. As you level your princes up, you progress through their stories to awaken them. By choosing options in their story it leads to a sun or moon route which will changes their appearance and their stats. I highly recommend you look up guides to see which options correspond with which route incase you end up with the version you don’t like. It can be hard to shift it to the other option as you need moon or sun bottles which can be expensive to obtain. For example I’ve chosen the moon route for the character below.

     

Thoughts: It’s a really fun game to play but you have to keep things in mind such as to awaken the princes you need to specific fairies. So if you don’t stock up on the fairies you’ll have to wait another week! One of the features I really like in this game is that you can create communities to play with your friends! A benefit is that there’s some events which will have community rewards so everyone who plays during that event will contribute towards it, and you can get more prizes such as gems or princes.

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I tried to cover those 2 games briefly but with detail but if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below! I think it already turned into a mini essay haha. Hope my posts sparks some interest if you’re looking into trying these type of apps.

Some people have been asking which apps I use to edit my photos, so I thought I would post about them!

Camera apps are important to me because I always like touching up my photos after I take them. No matter what camera I use to take photo with, I think they can always use a bit of adjustment. I’m not really fond of using too much filters, I don’t want my photos to look too harsh or faded, I just want to enhance or bring about a tone/mood to the image. Decorating them with stickers/stamps aren’t that important to me, but sometimes I think it looks cute or they add a personal touch.

These have been listed by how often I use them.

Afterlight
Cost: AU$1.29
iPhone | Site

I used to use Picfx and the filters on Instagram to edit my photos, but I after using Afterlight I haven’t been using any other apps. I really like how it’s easy to navigate through and quickly preview all the filters. They’ve got a whole lot of filters – 59! – but each filter has a thumbnail of the intended effect and after a while of using it, you’ll figure out what type of look you’re going for so it’s easy to choose. Relic, Atlas, Coral and Magnolia are some of my favourites to use, but it depends on the image.

They’ve also got other editing tools such as

  • adjusting brightness, clarity, contrast etc
  • adding film effects
  • cropping or rotating the image
  • frames/borders

I don’t really use frames but sometimes I think it’s nice to add focus onto the subject. You can choose to make the frame solid, patterned (pay to unlock) or opaque as you like by adjusting the opacity.

It’s definitely worth to pay for this for the amount of tools that you get! It makes editing my photos a pleasant experience. Here’s a photo that I’ve editing using this app. There’s more on my instagram account if you want to see more examples. 90% of my photos nowadays are editing using Afterlight.

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LINE Camera
Cost: Free 
iPhone | Android | Site

I mainly use this app for the stickers, but their Delicious filter is a favourite of mine. I find it’s usually perfect for editing food photos! There’s free sticker sets, but I mainly used the paid ones. I guess I tend to get carried away, I’ve bought 20 sets already haha… :gloom I like stickers related to food, have phrases/words, and characters with cute faces/expressions.

Unfortunately the iPhone version has recently raised the prices in the LINE stores, so each set costs around AU$2.49 each. From memory it used to cost AU$1.99. I don’t think the android app has had an price increase. I probably won’t be buying more sticker sets unless they release more food related ones :huuu

I also like this app because they have a collage/combining photos feature. You can add up to 9 photos and can choose a square or rectangle format. It’s easy to change the layout of the frame, say if you want one photo to be larger than to other, and you can change the background’s colour or use a pattern preset. It’s very customisable. I used to use to Diptic for this feature, but now that LINE Camera has it, I don’t need to anymore.

Edited by adjusting the brightness level and using the delicious filter.
Stamps: Delicious Kitchen and Yummy Food+
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Rakuga Cute / 樂画Cute
Cost: Free
iPhone | Site

This is another app where I went crazy buying the collections, I think there’s only one I haven’t bought because I’m not sure I’ld use things from it lol :ugh2 I really like this app because it reminds me of purikura!

The difference with in-app purchases in Rakuga Cute compared to LINE Camera is that these contain different pens, stamps, rolling stamps and one-touch (borders) items, hence the term collection, while you’ll have to buy them separately on LINE Camera. Each collection costs around AU$3.79 and a lot of deco tools included – I would say roughly 40 stamps, 40 pens and 9+ one touch frames. While it’s more worth it to pay for and use this app to decorate photos, there’s just so many to browse and choose from, so I tend to use this app when I have more time to decorate.

It’s very easy to resize the stamps and there’s so many cute ones, I always have a hard time deciding which ones to use. The collections in this app are more related to fashion and beauty, so they have a very girly feel. I mainly like this app for their rolling and alphabet stamps.

The app also has a small range of filters and a collage feature. They’ve got a range of useful tips and tutorials under there “How to Use” section. I don’t tend to use them though since I used to use Papelook for collages but I haven’t used that in a while.

Another good thing about this app is that you can save it in high definition. If only they had an iPad version, then I would be decorating photos taken from my dslr :XD

I’ve recently started to use this app again since I’ve gotten back into decorating my photos, so here’s how I used to decorate my photos back in 2012. I guess I tend to go overboard using stamps and stickers :eheh

Left photo was also edited using Papelook
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InstaPicframe Pro
Cost: Free | AU$2.49
iPhone (Free) | iPhone (Paid) | Android | Site
*I paid for this a while back so I’m not sure if there’s a difference between the free or paid version.

I find this app useful when I want to post a portrait or landscape photo on Instagram in a square format but I don’t want to crop it. I also like using it to add a border so I can decorate it.

The interface isn’t that nice (I think the colour scheme could do with an update) but it’s simple to use use and gets the job done. You can also make collages with more images and there’s a range of frames and layouts such as the images in a star shape, but I usually only use it with 1 or 2 images so I can get the thick border.

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So these are the apps which I use at the moment, I’m always on the look out for camera apps to test out though.