Utano Princesama Shining Live Starter Guide

Cute anime boys, right at your fingertips.

Despite its extensive international fan base, none of the games in the idol otome game series Utano Princesama (generally romanized as Uta no Prince-sama) have ever been localized. That is, until now.

This mobile rhythm game spinoff, Utano Princesama Shining Live, launched at the end of January for iOS and Android in English and Mandarin Chinese, making it both the first male idol game for mobile phones and the first game in the Utano Princesama series to be released in English.

Rhythm game aficionados may be familiar with another idol app, Love Live! School Idol Festival. Utano Princesama Shining Live takes many of its cues from Love Live and its imitators, featuring 11 handsome boys for players to collect in different outfits, numerous songs to play through in multiple difficulty levels, and extensive story and customization options to unlock. Read on for all the tips and tricks you’ll need to know to build the idol group of your dreams!

Items and Currency

The basic premise of Utano Princesama Shining Live fairly simple: you collect different images of the idol characters, called photos, and level them up using items earned from playing songs.

By increasing your photos' abilities, you’ll be able to achieve higher scores and thus obtain even more items, including special photos during limited time events. The currency used for obtaining new photos is prisms, which you can gain through missions, maxing out the level of your photos, and log-in bonuses. By saving up prisms for photo shoots, the game’s random gacha system, you have a chance of getting rare photos to make your idol group even stronger.

Auto Mode and Boosting

The rhythm game portion is where the app really shines, as there are dozens of songs that can be unlocked, as well as a handful of rotational songs.

Songs are split into two types: normal and campaign. Normal songs unlock as you play through the story, while campaign songs are only available for a designated period. Every song has four difficulty levels: easy, normal, hard, and pro. The LP required to play the song increases depending on the difficulty, but so do the rewards.

Once you clear a song, you have the option to turn on auto mode in the bottom left hand corner after choosing a guest. You won’t be able to get full combos or high scores this way, but it’s handy for when want to play but can’t devote your full concentration to the rhythm portions of the game.

Next to the auto mode is boost, which can be turned on to increase a song’s rewards by x2 or x3. Boost also uses extra LP, which is a great way to reap the benefits of LP you have sitting around if you don’t play as often. On the flip side, you will probably burn through your LP very quickly if you play more consistency, so choose what works for you! Auto does not affect drop rates, so you can use auto mode as much as you like outside of events.

Quick Grinding

The most efficient way to gain player and photo experience is to play on easy, as you get 80 EXP per song, and the cost of playing a song is just 10 LP. However, events will require you to play songs on higher difficulties and auto mode will decrease the number of points you get, so it’s worth practicing different difficulties before events, too.

As your player level increases, you’ll also obtain story tickets that can be used to unlock stories. For every story you complete, you’ll get a new song to play in the live show!

Choosing Guests

When choosing a guest for a song, be sure to select a character whose icon at the top right of their picture matches the icon next to the song. Each character photo and song have one of three colors: star, shine, or dream.

After selecting a guest, your unit will be automatically selected based on which characters will do best for any given song. Alternatively, if you want to build your own custom team, simply swipe left or right to choose from up to 6 custom units. For the most part, you should be fine with the auto unit, so don’t worry about custom units too much at the beginning.

It’s important to remember that no matter how well you do in the actual rhythm portion of the game, you probably won’t get high scores right away. This is because scores are based both on your performance and the stats of your unit. Rewards for each song correspond with the song type and are used to unlock memories for character photos of the same type, so it’s important to be playing the live shows whenever you have LP. Play songs, collect prisms, and upgrade and pull new photos from the photo shoots to reach higher scores in live shows!

Getting Rare Photos

While it may be tempting to use 30 prisms for a single shot in the photo shoot if you’re looking to get a new character, it’s best to be patient and save for the 300 prism 11-shot pull.

Since the photo shoots are a random draw with a very low chance that you’ll get a Super Rare (SR) or Ultra Rare (UR) photo, it’s much more beneficial to do the 11-shot pull with its 1 SR or higher guaranteed drop rate. SR and UR photos have much better skills and stats than N and R photos, so you want to try to get as many of them as possible.

Events are a great way to get URs, as you can obtain them by reaching certain event point goals. You may need to play a lot during the event, but it’s better than simply leaving your UR fate to the cruel gacha gods!

Leveling Up Photos

Photos will level up through playing songs, but they can also be leveled up more quickly through lessons. This is where you use EXP and skill gems to level up the photos of your choosing.

While it’s important to level up your best SR and UR photos for better performance in the live shows, reaching max level for N photos will net you some much-needed prisms, and multiple copies of the photo are not required, unlike photos of higher rarity. 

With all the 11-shot pulls you’re doing, you probably have some duplicate photos. Here’s where the game gets a little sinister: the best use of these duplicate photos is to “feed” them to other photos to increase their rank.

You can do this by selecting special lesson in the lesson screen and then picking the photo you want to rank up. It’s necessary to max out the rank of photos rarity R and above in order to level them up completely. Early on in the game, however, it’s best to save any duplicate SR and UR photos you get, since their stats are better than N and R photos. Later on, when you get more rare photos, you can “feed’ duplicates to the photo with the highest level.

Moments are yet another way to increase the stats of a photo. These bonuses can be unlocked with the gems you earn from completing live shows, as well as prisms, but it’s best to save prisms for pulling new photos in the photo shoots. There are special character stories to unlock, and photos of R rarity and above will change in appearance after you get to a certain point in their moments!

You may be tempted to move on to live shows or lessons immediately after booting up the game, but spend some time on the main screen! Here, you can check what missions you have available, as well as poke at your current favorite idol to raise your bond with him. You can tap the character on the main screen up to three times per hour to increase bond.

While tapping him in the normal horizontal view will net you 5 bond points per tap for a total of 15 per hour, you can change the view to portrait mode at the top left corner for an increased 7 bond points per tap. A character’s bond level doesn’t actually affect gameplay, but you’ll unlock new voice clips as they level up, and something special occurs when a character’s level reaches 50.

There’s also an AR photo mode so you can take selfies with all your favorite boys!


If you’re having trouble with the live shows, it may be worthwhile tweaking some of the game’s settings. Head to “other” and select “live settings” in the left-hand column. There, you’ll find options to change the speed for each live show difficulty, volume, turn on and off various effects during the live shows, and change the rhythm icons. Finally, you can adjust the timing of icon presses if things feel off.

With these tips, you have everything you need to be well on your way to building the ultimate idol group and topping the event charts. And it all can be done without spending a dime!