Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! Review – Rhythm Fantasy (Vita)
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! is a weird, strange, addictive, terrifying, wonderful game. It’s embarrassing to play, positively hilarious, outright gross and rewarding enough to fuel a small addictive nature.
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! is a rhythm cooking game set in the Senran Kagura universe. If you’re familiar with Senran Kagura Burst or Shinovi Versus, then you’ll certainly recognize these well endowed women and their typically spot-on fighting prowess.
They’ve traded their weapons, fists and kicks in for spatulas, whisks and tongues in this effort, and the resulting game is one that will likely appeal to an extremely specific slice of gamer.
Get Ready for Boobs
Let’s get something out of the way here and now. It’s not really my job, at least in my opinion, to slam a game for its sexual content in a review. Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! makes no qualms about what it offers. This game goes over the top with sexualization, both visually and in verbal innuendo. As I offered to our own Cameron Teague in a chat prior to writing this review, “I wouldn’t walk into a strip club and get upset because I saw boobs.” Localizers XSEED have been clear and concise about what’s in this game, so lets not trip ourselves up over that in discerning its value.
If you find yourself offended by sexually suggestive stuff of the most overt variety, show yourself the door. This is not the game for you. It’s packed with more sexuallization than you can probably handle. Just walk away.
Now, everyone else, still with me? Cool. I actually wound up liking Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! a whole lot more than I thought I would. In fact, I really only have a small handful of complaints, though I’ll hammer those out towards the tail end of this review.
For now, let’s start with the good stuff.
The Jokes Keep on Comin’
Far and away, my favorite part of this rhythm game is the writing. It’s all absolutely ridiculous, but the dialogue and localization are witty enough to push players to complete every single character’s story mode. Those modes aren’t long, and I believe they each check in at four cooking battles bookended by dialogue.
The dialogue, though, is absurd. Let’s take Asuka, the character most gamers would consider the main in the Senran Kagura line. Her story is all about her quest to change people’s minds about food. Food, she thinks, should be thick, long and offer plenty of girth. She’s talking about futomaki (a large roll of sushi), but it should be immediately obvious what the game wants you to infer with her dialogue.
It’s stupid, it’s cheesy, but it works. The one liners that piggyback off of the silly storylines like Asuka’s actually made me chuckle at a rather constant clip. That ever-present humor wasn’t really something I expected from a one-off cooking/rhythm game, but it’s there.
Mediocre Gameplay Holds It Down
Then we have the actual contests themselves. As a rhythm game, Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! is purely middl- of-the-road. The difficulty scales well enough, but the tunes you cook too are highly repetitive and don’t offer enough variety for the genre. I found the inputs precise enough, but there’s some unnecessary rhythm confusion when the game blares too loudly and the prompts line up with offbeats.
The contests come in three rounds. Each round scales up in challenge. Now, this is where those who get offended by the sex stuff will find a large chunk of their reason to walk away from Senran Kagura Bon Appétit!; the character who loses each round slowly sees her clothes blown away by the judge’s reaction. A perfect score earns the victor a shot of their opponent completely naked with censor marks and an absurd reaction from the judge (think Yakitate!! Japan, if you’ve seen that anime). Perfect scores will get players a scene of their opponent naked and covered in cream and chocolate as the centerpiece of a dessert.
Yep, you read that last line right. I typically skipped those reward scenes. I’m not normally bothered by gratuitous sex stuff (certainly bothered less by that than violence), but this made even me feel a little creepy.
Good play is also rewarded with costume options, accessories, outfits and, obviously, underwear. You’ll be able to customize every character in the game so that you can see them dressed up however you like as you play as or defeat them.
That Wall of DLC is Skeezy
I suppose my biggest complaint, aside from the pure middle of the road nature of the gameplay and music selection, comes from the huge wall of DLC that you’ll see on first boot. At the character selection screen, more characters are blacked out than are available. These blacked out characters aren’t unlocked through play; no, they’re DLC. The first pack will cost $14.99, the same as the game itself.
The selection just seems exploitative on the group of players that would enjoy this game. It’s like, “We know you can’t get enough of these big boobed ladies, so here’s what you’ll get if you pony up the cost of entry again.” I don’t know, I just found it really gross. Maybe even more gross than the subject matter itself, though that’s probably spurred on by my current view of DLC practices in gaming.
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit! certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a mediocre game by rhythm standards, but it’s held up by silly writing. If you’re like me and can deal with the game’s content, you might find something well worth your time. Senran Kagura fans will, of course, feel welcome here, though I have to warn you that the gameplay isn’t as strong as the fighting stuff typically is.
It’s serviceable. Both in that it’s fan service, and that it’s a game that can only be described as workable.
Review copy provided by the publisher. For more information regarding our review policy, please read our review policy here.