A trip to the XSEED booth is always fun, as I can get my fix for Japanese games. One of the ones that really stood out for more reasons than one was their demo of Senran Kagura Bon Appetit for the Vita. A music rhythm game at its core, the game’s theme is a cooking contest that relies on the player successfully pressing buttons to win each level.
The game’s premise is pretty vague on when it takes place, as each character’s story mode is played from their perspectives, but the gist of it is that there is a cooking competition that occurs in the local shopping district and the prize is a ninja scroll that grants any one wish. Each character has their own reasons for wanting the scroll, and story mode explains each girl’s motivations with fully voiced cutscenes. Cutscenes are portrayed through text and sprites, much like a visual novel, and original Japanese voices come standard. The entire cast is present, even the new characters who made an appearance in Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus make an appearance to make for a roster of 22 characters to play as.
While the game is called Bon Appetit, also as I mentioned earlier, the gameplay has nothing to do with cooking and instead is a music rhythm game. Commands show up on the screen and you have to press the right buttons in succession along to the beat of the background music in order to successfully “cook” the meal. While this part of the game is pretty fun, it’s probably not the reason why most people are going to buy the game. Each level is divided into three rounds and at the end of each round, the player’s performance is judged compared to the opponent, and the losing side loses a part of their clothing.
Did I mention there’s a lot of fanservice? There’s a lot of fanservice in this game, staying true to the original side-scrolling brawler’s spirit. This personally became a gift and a curse at the same time as it was the first time a music rhythm game made me want to look at what’s going on in the background, but it also became hard to stay in the groove. To add insult to injury, there is a heart-shaped gauge on the right side of the screen that fills up when on a long combo. When it fills up, a heart command shows up as a command and pressing any button will activate a short scene of your character doing a special action which is basically more fanservice such as giving a player a full on shot of her rear end.
Are you still there? The fanservice gets even better. Through gameplay, you can unlock new clothes for each character, and they really took a page out of Project Diva f‘s book for this one. The highly customizable costume mode lets you change up your favorite characters’ getup all the way down to their unmentionables. While I didn’t really get to play around with this mode very much because I was in public, it’s a nice touch especially when you have some “alone time” with the girls.
While not a deep game, Senran Kagura Bon Appetit is a solid music rhythm game with a twist, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone. You shouldn’t really play this in public – unless you’re a morally reprehensible person of course – but it would be nice for a change to have something to play on the Vita for once, though it’s too bad the touch screen isn’t an integral part to gameplay.
Senran Kagura Bon Appetit releases next winter for the Vita.