Say what now?
I love fighting games. I am not terribly good at any of them, but I really enjoy the entire aspect of them. I grew up in arcades; sticky joysticks and social anxiety were my allies, which likely sounds like a fairytale to modern gamers as arcades are all but extinct now. There are a lot of fighting games now, ever since Street Fighter IV brought about the resurgence of the genre companies have realized that people love to be competitive in one-on-one matches. In that time a sort of subgenre has also cropped up. Anime fighters that feature popular characters from various series and manga have flourished. While not as mainstream in the US as in Japan, these titles definitely have a hardcore following.
Nitroplus Blasterz: Infinite Heroine Duel is probably the most obscure one I have come across to date. I knew nothing about any character in this game. Sure I knew what Senran Kagura and Arcana Heart were, but I couldn’t name a character in either to save my life.
Platforms: PS4, PS3
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Blasterz breaks down that barrier though by delivering an extremely accessible fighting game that is very simple on the surface, with a breadth of complexity hidden underneath. I was able to land massive combos and perform flash moves with little effort right from the outset, but quickly noticed that there was a layer of systems beneath the surface just begging to be explored. Sadly this will either have to be discovered from the manual or practice, as there is no proper tutorial on the game’s systems.
Every character in the game is based on either a visual novel or an anime. The roster is also comprised entirely of female characters, and that includes the partner characters, which there are more of than actual fighters. There are no tag matches, but each match allows the player to choose two partners they can call for assists during the match. Each one is unique, and while the game recommends certain partners for certain characters, it is best to experiment to know the arc of their attacks.
There are two story modes in the game, with the second unlocking after completing the first. Both are as wacky and outlandish as one would expect from a game based on these characters. There are evil cell phones and plenty of dramatic music. The entire game is in Japanese for the voice work, with no option for English dubs.
The fighting itself is simple on the surface. There are three main attack buttons as well as a heavy attack. All the moves should feel familiar for anyone who has played a Street Fighter game before. As I mentioned partners also play a part by allowing players to call them in to assist, they are of course on a cooldown so players cannot spam them. Each character also has a special move, and a sort of ultra special that involves a unique anime sequence, and even some interaction such as the one that requires players to aim an on screen reticule at their opponent to land the attack.
I love that everything feels simple and flashy. Moves are satisfying to pull off, but it never feels like mashing buttons. The super moves are fun to execute, and feel great when they land. There is a lot of strategy here for a novel game of this type, and it helps that new users can jump right in and have fun.
If there is one area where Nitroplus Blasterz falls apart, it is the sheer lack of modes. There are two stories, both take less than an hour to complete, a score attack and online. That is really it. I exhausted all the content quickly, and the only real reason to come back is for online, and for solo players, to unlock all the endings. Outside of that the game just does not offer up enough content to keep most players returning.
Speaking of online, in my tests I experienced very little bouts of lag. Sadly, the community is certainly not booming with players. It is nice that it is cross platform with PS3, and even cross region, meaning I could play with players all over the world, but it was still light on player base.
While sparse on content, the actual fighting of Nitroplus Blasterz is surprisingly deep and enjoyable. Fighting game fans that usually scoff at these types of games should definitely check it out. It has been a nice title to tide me over until Capcom unleashes the big guns this month. I will likely come back to this game over time, as it is super easy to pick up and play; and most importantly it is easy to have fun.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.