Year 1 Birthday Review – Nokto Klein | Ikemen Prince | Event Review
Ikemen Prince is currently in its first round of birthdays, and we can already see a pattern in the way they’re celebrated. October 9th was the Klein Twins’ special day, and, at the time of writing, their birthday events are still ongoing, with most ending somewhere between October 23rd and November 1st.
This review is called the ‘Nokto Birthday’ review because, so far, I’ve only participated in his birthday celebrations. However, I’ll also discuss the Year 1 Birthday events in a more general sense, including my thoughts on which parts are worth the money, and which could do with some improvements…
The ‘Year 1’ Pattern
First, a story sale is released in Ikemen Prince’s in-game store. There are three sets available; Mini, Deluxe, and Premium. These sets have different price tags and different contents, so you can choose based on how much you’re willing to spend, and which story and/or avatar attire appeals most to you.
Then comes the ‘spotlight gacha‘ banner – a special event gacha that boosts the odds of getting the birthday boy’s cards. There are no new cards added to the pool, but you’re more likely to get the standard gacha cards that are currently in the ‘spotlight’. Despite only being able to get standard cards, you cannot use standard gacha tickets – instead, you’ll need to use ‘Diamonds’ to participate.
Finally, a ‘Diamond Set Sale‘ becomes available in the store. This allows players to purchase a special set that contains 10,000 Diamonds and a birthday-themed 5-Star card. If you’re thinking of purchasing diamonds and you know you’re favourite prince’s birthday is coming up soon, it’s worth waiting until the set becomes available, so you can get the unique birthday card as well.
Birthday Story Sale
“I want to hear you moan my name and ask for more.”– Nokto Klein (Birthday Story Sale – Year 1)
The Year 1 Birthday Story for Nokto Klein is called ‘Emptiness Inside Me’, which should indicate just how angst-ridden it really is. Nokto’s main route hasn’t yet been released (upcoming release date of 22nd October, 2021), but, even so, ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ is set after Nokto and MC have become a couple.
I thought that Ikemen Prince would follow the pattern of the other Ikemen Series games, where side-stories published prior to a love interest’s main route release would also be set before the events of the main story – and therefore before any romantic development had taken place – but it looks like they’ve chosen to jump straight into the post-route romance for this story.
This actually made me a little wary at the beginning, as I didn’t want any spoilers for his upcoming release, but I was pleasantly surprised by the way the writers managed to allude to his main route without revealing any of the plot. There was even a hint at what appears to be a pretty big secret, but the flashback cut off before it gave away too much information.
This may sound jarring, but it was actually pretty smooth – it just felt like their train of thought was interrupted. The characters know what happened next, but the reader doesn’t, heightening our interest in the mystery just in time for Nokto’s route to be announced. Honestly, this is a pretty smart marketing move, and it shows that the writers have thoughtfully planned out their content and release schedule ahead of time.
Furthermore, the fact that ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ is specifically a birthday story, with a focus on one day and what it means to Nokto, means that we don’t need any details on how the couple got together. I wasn’t left feeling like the story was lacking in anyway by not knowing the events of the main route.
Plus, MC and Nokto already being a couple means they can get spicier than if they were only just starting to develop an interest in each other – a decision that led to a particularly ‘satisfying’ scene at the end that, in my opinion, is enough to make the story worth buying alone. I think most Ikemen Prince players have got an idea of Nokto’s character already, and if you’re drawn to his suave, dangerous allure, then you’ll definitely enjoy the ‘maturity’ of his birthday story.
In summary, ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ is short, sexy, and bittersweet. It’s a great way to get a feel for Nokto’s character, and it works well as a self-contained side story, even out of context. The ‘spicy’ scene at the end was creative, explicit, and made even more enjoyable by incorporating an indulgent infusion of angst.
Recommendation: If you like sad, tormented love interests who pretend to be flippant flirts, but secretly crave physical affection to heal the hole in their heart, then I highly recommend Nokto’s Year 1 Birthday Story, ‘Emptiness Inside Me’.
There are three set options available for the birthday stories: Mini, Deluxe, and Premium. The main differences between them are which perspective the story is written from, the avatar decorations you receive, and, of course, the price.
- Mini Set – 680 Diamonds
- Story (MC POV)
- 3-Star Card
- Avatar Attire: Nokto B-day Ribbon (3-Star)
- Deluxe Set – 1,200 Diamonds
- Story (His POV)
- 3-Star Card
- Avatar Attire: Nokto B-day Ribbon (3-Star) & Nokto B-day Dress (4-Star)
- Premium Set – 2,800 Diamonds
- Story (MC POV)
- Story (His POV)
- 3-Star Card
- Avatar Attire: Nokto B-day Ribbon (3-Star), Nokto B-day Dress (4-Star) & B-day Year 1 Nokto (5-Star)
All of the sets contain the ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ photo and 3-Star card, so the main differences are in the story and avatar attire. The ribbon and dress are both pretty, and I especially appreciate them at the moment, seeing as the game is still in its early stages and I haven’t collected much attire yet.
The 5-Star ‘B-day Year 1 Nokto’ is a chibi decoration of Nokto with a birthday cake. It’s cute, but I’m not particularly interested in chibis, so I’ll leave my recommendation for the avatar parts of the sets to your personal tastes and preferences.
I purchased the ‘Premium Set’, so I read the birthday story from both MC and Nokto’s perspectives. Personally, I preferred reading ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ from Nokto’s POV, because you get a little bit more of an insight into his personality, and it’s interesting to see the story from a perspective other than MC’s for a change, especially during the spicier scene towards the end.
However, the actual plot is the same for both versions of the story, so, if you find it odd to read from the love interest’s perspective and would rather stick to MC’s point of view, you can safely read ‘Emptiness Inside Me’ from MC’s POV, without missing any scenes.
Recommendation: Choose the version of the story based on which perspective you’d rather read from. The plot is exactly the same, and neither option is shorter or longer than the other, so the only difference is the POV.
Tip: If you’re not sure which perspective you’ll enjoy more, here’s a summary of each version’s appeal:
- ‘His POV’ has the novelty of seeing the story through the love interest’s eyes, and you get to see the sweet and romantic things that he thinks, but doesn’t necessarily say.
- However, MC’s POV is more consistent with the rest of the game, and allows players to remain as the protagonist. This is especially noticeable when it comes to the spicier scenes, as the two characters will inevitably experience pleasure in different ways, due to their different anatomy, and it can be disconcerting to read these scenes from a male perspective if you’re not used to it, or simply not attracted to female characters.
Ikemen Prince has an ongoing ‘standard’ gacha, with a set pool of permanent cards for each of the love interests. Every now and then, there will be a limited-time gacha event, which either temporarily boosts the odds of getting certain cards, or offers exclusive event cards that are not included in the standard pool.
‘Spotlight Gacha’ events are the former – a selection of cards from the standard gacha have their draw rate increased for a limited time, but only on this gacha banner. If you play the standard gacha, the usual rates will still apply.
Because this ‘spotlight’ gacha is considered an event, you cannot use any ‘standard gacha tickets’, despite only being able to win standard cards. If you want to roll on this gacha, you’ll need to use ‘Diamonds’, which can technically be accumulated for free, but will typically need to be purchased.
I understand the concept behind this event – it’s a way to improve your chances of getting specific standard cards – but it’s just so expensive. It costs 300 diamonds to do a single pull, or 3,000 diamonds for ten pulls at once, which guarantees a 4-Star or higher rarity card. This is incredibly expensive, especially considering that your odds of getting Nokto’s 5-Star card ‘Don’t Run Away’ on a 10 x pull on this spotlight gacha is still only 1%.
The cost for rolls are the same as gacha events that include exclusive cards, but the only cards available are ones you can get in the standard gacha, using standard gacha tickets that you can acquire for free. In the standard gacha, the odds of getting ‘Don’t Run Away’ is 0.3%, which is significantly lower, but at least you can gradually accumulate free pulls, and you know the cards aren’t going anywhere.
Due to the cost of diamonds, and how much they’re needed elsewhere in the game, I personally think you’re better off saving them for exclusive gacha events where the cards won’t be available anywhere else, and just using standard gacha tickets for standard gacha cards.
That being said, I did buy the Diamond Set Sale for Nokto, so I may have burned 3,000 of those diamonds on a 10 x pull on Nokto’s Spotlight Gacha, and I did get a little bit lucky…
Diamond Set Sale
Depending on your currency, this set may cost a different amount, but it’s listed in my game as $64.99. It’s fairly expensive, but you get 10,000 Diamonds and an exclusive 5-Star ‘Happy Birthday Year 1’ card that you can’t get anywhere else in the game.
If you’re a free-to-play player, then this set is not going to be for you. It’s not possible to grind the game to get the diamonds or card – it’s something that needs to be purchased. However, if you’re planning on buying diamonds anyway, it’s worth waiting to buy them in bulk, so you can get the exclusive card while you’re at it.
To get 10,000 diamonds without the special set, you’d need to buy multiple smaller sets, as there aren’t any permanent options that offer that many diamonds in one go. The usual set with the most diamonds is the 7,600 diamond option, which costs $47.99, and you could combine that with the 2,800 diamond set for a total of 10,400 diamonds at a cost of $66.98.
As you can see, the cost of the diamonds is basically the same, but you also get an exclusive card, and you can do it all in one transaction. While it may seem like a lot of money, if you’re the type to regularly top up your diamonds in smaller amounts, you may be surprised at how quickly those smaller, frequent payments add up to the same amount as a larger, one-off payment.
If you don’t care that much about the card, then there’s no giant discount to make the set worth getting just for the diamonds, but if you know your favourite character’s birthday is coming up, it’s worth waiting to purchase the birthday diamond set instead, so you can also get the exclusive card.
I love the art on Nokto’s card, and because it’s a 5-Star, it has a high BP score, so it’s useful in Salons. Plus, it comes with exclusive, birthday-themed voiced lines, which is especially great in Nokto’s case, as he’s voiced by Takuya Eguchi, one of my favourite voice actors!
Recommendation: Keep an eye out for your favourite character’s birthdays and wait to stock up on diamonds with their birthday ‘Diamond Set Sales’. This way, you’re still only purchasing diamonds that you would have bought anyway, but you also get the special 5-Star birthday card.
I like having a standard selection of events for each of the characters on their ‘Year 1’ birthdays, as this means players can plan ahead with their spending. The story sales and gacha cost diamonds, so free-to-play players can start their stockpiling well in advance, and anyone who wants to buy diamonds – but knows their favourite character’s birthday is coming up – can wait to purchase them with the bonus of a unique, birthday-themed card.
I can’t speak to the contents of the other birthday stories, but I really enjoyed Nokto’s Year 1 Birthday story, ‘Emptiness Inside Me’. If you’re just curious about getting to know his character, the Mini set isn’t too expensive, and the story allows you to get an idea of what it’s like to romance Nokto, as well as some hints to his upcoming route release.
The Spotlight Gacha seems like a good idea in theory, but having to spend the same amount of diamonds that I would for event-exclusive cards seems a bit too expensive for cards that I can get in the standard gacha using tickets I acquired for free. If you’re really desperate for the cards and don’t mind spending the diamonds, then go for it, but otherwise, I recommend saving your diamonds for limited-time cards, premium attire challenges, and store sales.
I particularly like the Diamond Set Sale, as one of these was enough to buy the premium story sale set, do a 10 pull on the spotlight gacha, and then still have plenty left over. It is pricey, so definitely save up in advance, and keep an eye out for character birthdays, so you know when they’ll be popping up in the store.
General Recommendation: For Licht and Nokto’s birthday, the diamond set sale wasn’t announced until a few days after the story sale was released. My recommendation is to wait for the diamond set sale to be available, and use the diamonds you get to purchase whichever story set you want.
If you really want to play the gacha, you can also use the diamonds from this set to do a ten pull or two, however I don’t recommend rolling on the spotlight gacha at all. Remember, there will always be plenty of ways to spend your diamonds, so don’t be afraid to just hoard them for a later date!
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