Stars Connect review

Stars Connect is a new Facebook game from IsCool Entertainment. The game has been showing activity since October of this year, and showed up as the No. 13 emerging Facebook game last week.

Stars Connect is a game that combines the asynchronous music knowledge quiz of SongPop with the highly social, addictive nature of collectible card games. Players must earn “Stars Points” through playing against their friends, then use these points to purchase packs of cards in an attempt to collect complete sets and trade with their friends.

The player is initially introduced to the game’s quiz component through a mock competition against a computer opponent. Much like in SongPop, players are played a short clip of music and must identify either its title or artist from a selection of four different options. The faster they answer, the more points they receive. When both participants have had a turn, a winner is declared and rewarded; in the case of the tutorial game, it is assumed that the player wins against the computer opponent, who automatically forfeits all of the answers. Upon completing a competition, the player is awarded with Star Points, and may then take these into the Stars Club in an attempt to acquire new cards.

In the Stars Club, the player may either purchase new cards one at a time by spending 1,000 points, or may spend all their points (rounded down to the nearest 1,000) to purchase as many cards as possible. Some cards have artists on them, and are added to the player’s stock; others immediately award additional points, allowing for more packs of cards to be purchased. Cards are always “blind-bagged,” so players have no way of knowing what they are going to get when they purchase packs. Upon acquiring new cards, their relative rarity is represented by the color of their backdrop: common cards are bronze, rarer cards are silver and the rarest are gold.

Between games, players are able to review the cards they have collected, each of which includes a short snippet of information about the artist in question. They are also able to rate each artist between one and five “hearts,” and are awarded with 100 Star Points each time they do so. Cards may also be gifted to friends via an “Exchange” interface — it’s also possible to add up to five cards at once to a “Wishlist,” and to ask for specific cards via Timeline post. There’s also a daily “Press Review” game in which players must guess which fictional magazines have been talking the most about particular stars.

Stars Connect is a good idea that adds some replay incentive to the popular and lucrative Song Pop formula. The card-collecting and trading mechanics are somewhat reminiscent of a small-scale (800 MAU) but well-maintained Facebook game called Everything by Sega studio Three Rings, in which players work with their friends to collect as many themed sets of cards as possible. Everything involves sets of cards on all subjects ranging from music to science — hence the name — and can consequently feel somewhat daunting and unfocused at times due to the sheer amount of content on offer. Stars Connect, meanwhile, offers a much more tightly-focused experience with its emphasis on various types of popular music, and is probably a better “game” as a result — especially with the addition of the well-implemented asynchronous quiz mechanic.

Stars Connect is a good, well-presented game that deserves to enjoy some success. Whether or not it will manage to reach the dizzy heights of SongPop remains to be seen, but for now it’s well worth a play.

Stars Connect currently has 80,000 monthly active users, 30,000 weekly active users and 10,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.

Play

An excellent fusion of SongPop’s asynchronous music quiz gameplay and the compulsive collectathon that is Everything.

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