The gameplay is very much like its predecessor Love Live! School Idol Festival, but it introduces completely new features as well as a different interface. Advertised as the app which let's you bring your "Uta no Prince-sama guys wherever you go", this game is a fusion of a Visual Novel and a Rhythm Game, where you can interact with the characters by touching them on screen, change their costumes and backgrounds, unlock their interactions with other characters, and read stories about the idols' lives onstage/onscreen or behind-the-scenes. These may trigger motions, actions, and even fully-voiced dialogue. The game uses Live2D models of the characters.
The game's core gameplay revolves around the player's team of 7 idols (which can be composed of members of STARISH and QUARTET NIGHT) performing a live show onstage. The live show can either feature images of the player's team or the music video of a song, with notes spawning from the top of the screen towards six circles arranged at the bottom of the screen. The player must hit their corresponding icons when the notes overlap to score points. The live show is cleared when the player reaches the end of the song with HP remaining, and failed if you run out.
Unlike Love Live! School Idol Festival, though, there are three types of stats and three attributes. The attributes are Shine (a pink sun), Star (a yellow star), and Dream (a blue moon). The stat types are Dance, Vocal, and Charm. Each song is aligned with one of those three attributes, and the maximum value for hitting a note depends on the song's Attribute and how much value each member has in that attribute.
Though there are a maximum of eleven characters in the game, you can collect different cards for each member and even put these cards in the same team. Member scouting is done through "Photo Shoots", which work like a gacha system. This system uses Prisms, which can be earned through gameplay, reading stories, or event participation. To level up members, the player can use "Lesson" to have one member earn experience points with the help of other members or through experience boosts. A member can also undergo a "Special Lesson" with a copy of that member, raising his level roof, score potential and game stats. "Moments" allow players to unlock tiles that correspond to a stat boost or unlocking of a story or costume, provided you have the needed amount of stones, which you can earn through gameplay.
This game provides examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: The Shining Live seems to be this for the main franchise, as the heroine Nanami is never mentioned and many of the idols issues in the original game (Ai being a robot, Cecil is Otoya's half-brother, Satsuki note ,...) are almost non-existent here.
- Anti Poop-Socking: Each song play uses up Live Points (LP), with the more difficult songs requiring more LP. LP can be recovered at a rate of 1 LP every 6 minutes, by getting enough XP for a Rank Up, which occasionally increases LP capacity, or by using Prisms to refill it instantly.
- April Fools' Day: The game has a tradition of celebrating it every year, sometimes with stories, sometimes with a new banner.
- 2021 has the idols star in an in-universe fantasy game "Birth of the Frontier". During the event, the idols chibi versions in unique costumes would appear on the main screen and the player can talk to them to learn more about their adventures in the games fantasy world. The beatmap of some songs are also flipped.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When an event story involves a more foreign background, the boys name can be altered in a way no one would do to a real persons name so that it can fit the settings. Otoyarsène and Tokilock of its first story event Otoyarsène Lupin: Chronicles of a Thief, for example.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Prisms and Medals.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp":
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The characters' color coding is very significant in the game, especially in the live shows, where the color of the stage lights and the audience's glowsticks depend on who is singing the song and who the members of your team are.
- The three attributes: Shine (a pink sun), Star (a yellow star), and Dream (a blue moon).
- Costume Porn: Oh arent they going ham on this. Especially because you can dress up the guys in the very elaborate costumes found on the cards.
- Dolled-Up Installment: To Love Live! School Idol Festival.
- Experience Booster: Sometimes rewarded as a login bonus or for reaching a certain rank in events.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The Beloved Tales Jewelry series are advertisements for fairy tale-themed jewelries that are parodied so that there is no romance element (between the cast, at least), they can have two male leads and none of the idols star in it is portrayed as villainous. So far, the series has included parodies of Beauty and the Beast, The Snow Queen and Sleeping Beauty.
- Hard Mode Perks: You get higher rewards per unit of LP for completing higher-difficulty songs. To offset this, harder charts cost more LP.
- Harder Than Hard: Pro mode.
- High-School A.U.: The Shining Academy drama series Events included is essentially this, featuring the idols in a high school setting.
- Level-Up Fill-Up: Increasing your Rank will add points to your LP.
- Money Multiplier: Using a Boost in a Live Show will multiply the rewards you gain from it by either x2 or x3.
- Ninja: The Ninja Scroll Heist event is Natsuki and Ai doing promotion for a ninja park, and they dress accordingly.
- Nintendo Hard: Most songs on Hard and especially Pro difficulties.
- No Bulk Discounts: Averted with 11-Shot Photoshoots that cost 300 Prisms, whereas a One-shot Photoshoot costs 30 Prisms each.
- Play Every Day: You get a bonus for your first login of the day, and can get more rewards by completing missions. During events, more rewards are added for your logins.
- Set Behind the Scenes: Some stories are set in the waiting room or backstage before a shoot, fashion show, or performance.
- Scenery Porn: In order to match with the idols costumes, many of the wallpapers one can use for their homescreen are beautifully rendered.
- Score Multiplier: Depending on your combo and your card attributes.
- Ship Tease: Most side stories involve one of the guys talking about his interactions with another guy.
- Stop Poking Me!: On some menu pages, your favorite idol appears wearing your chosen costume. Touching him will trigger a dialogue (usually talking about themselves or their fellow members; referring to your stamina points, gifts, or game events; asking if you've eaten or reminding you to sleep; or romantic lines found in visual novels) and will raise your intimacy with him. Doing it too much won't give you more intimacy, though.
- Temporary Online Content: Some special UR cards, such as those from events, cannot be obtained through Photoshoots.