There is something familiar about this…
It feels almost like the late 90s again, when the PSOne was dominating console sales and every company had a new fighting game on a monthly basis. The only difference now is that a bulk of them coming out are anime fighters. Koihime Enbu is the latest from developer UNKNOWN GAMES (fitting name as I had never heard of them), and finally comes stateside in the form of a PC version; it was originally only available in Japan on PlayStation 3 and 4.
Featuring 13 fighters and 7 assist characters, I quickly got a strong vibe of Nitro + Blasterz as soon as I booted the game up. The visual flare is also strikingly similar. In a world where new fighting games are dropping left and right, it takes something to truly stand out in the genre. Koihime seems to want their bullet point to be simplicity. The game features a four-button setup, with three attacks: light, medium, and heavy, and one dedicated throw button.
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
There is no tutorial, something most fighting games these days seem to be lacking, but once I started digging I found out why. Every character in the game has exactly the same moveset. Every special move is pulled off with the same combination of moves, and even the finishing attacks are all the same layout. It is designed so that players can jump back and forth between characters without worrying about memorizing a long string of inputs. It’s brilliant, but sadly never advertised, and being only on PC in the states doesn’t help either.
I’m not going to pretend I know who these characters are either. In fact, most of them seemingly blend together. The entire cast is female, and each one carries different weapons and ways to attack. Nothing about them stands out though, which is another hurdle for someone coming into the game. They have the right of idea of making everything uniform and simple, but when someone like me who plays numerous fighting games can barely tell the difference between characters, that is a problem.
The action in Koihime Enbu focuses mostly on countering, which can make for some pretty intense matches. However, unless you have two controllers locally, don’t expect to get much versus action on. The PC online community for this game is a literal ghost town. I tried for days to get a match; when I finally did it was smooth, but then hours and days passed before I could find another one. There is simply no one playing this game.
Single player doesn’t offer much to compensate for that either. There is an arcade mode and a story mode, which is pretty standard fare, but that is where it ends. The story mode is entertaining if not a bit bland, and the arcade mode is quick. There isn’t much to unlock, and with so many other full-featured fighters vying for our time, it is hard to recommend the most bare-bones one of the bunch.
I applaud the developers for focusing on making an accessible fighting game. It is even more of a bonus that it plays extremely well and looks fantastic. Combine that with the fact that I can use my fight sticks on the PC to play it, and one would think it would be a dream come true. Sadly, the lack of interesting characters and modes to play, not to mention a barren online community, make this one fighting game that is hard to recommend.
This game was reviewed on an ORIGIN PC
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87N
- Liquid Cooling: Origin Frostbyte 120 Liquid Cooling
- Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K Quad-Core
- Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB 1600 MHz
- Graphics Card: Single NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN (6GB)
Review copy of game provided by publisher.