Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars Review

Gaming
6.5

Fair

Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars

Developers: Tamsoft, Idea Factory, Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Switch (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: Available Now, May 11, 2022 (PC)
Price: $49.99 – Available Here

Overview

Over the last six years fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series have been waiting for a brand new entry in the main series and while the wait continues, there have been numerous spin-offs to fill in the gaps ranging from action RPGs, side-scrolling action games, shooters, and a number of crossovers with other series. Along those same lines, we have Senran Kagura as a series that has also dabbled between offering cooking rhythm games, shooters, and even pinball alongside the standard action format of the original games and just like Neptunia, fans of Senran Kagura have been waiting for a new mainline entry for six years. As such when it comes to crossovers Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is perhaps a natural outcome but does this game take advantage of what makes each series great?

Story

In the world of Gamninjustri many countries have their own ninja forces that train using different fighting styles with the two most powerful countries being that of Heartland who trains in Compa Style and are represented by the Neptunia characters Neptune/Purple Heart, Noire/Black Heart, Vert/Green Heart, and Blanc/White Heart, and Marveland who practices Honeypa Style with Asuka, Homura, Miyabi, and Yumi representing the Senran Kagura group. Due to their size, these two nations are constantly fighting and trying to obtain the others’ Share Crystal. 

During one such battle at the Compa ninjas’ city that sees the four strongest ninja from each country battling one another a new force by the name of Steeme Legion appears and assaults both factions. Led by Yoh Gamer preaching the Headshot style, the massive force proves quite difficult to handle but the Compa ninjas manage to repel the invading forces. It isn’t long however before the Honeypa ninjas are also assaulted, leading the pair to team up for the first time ever in an attempt to put a stop to the Steeme Legion’s plans, finding a couple of extra allies in the form of a brand new character named Yuuki and one that is a deep pull that many may not recognize along the way.

With Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars being designed equally as an action game with plenty of visual novel dialogue, players will be in for quite a treat when it comes to these characters interacting with one another. While boob jokes are always on the table, especially with the Senran Kagura girls worked into the mix, the comedic writing and fourth wall breaking jokes are in top form throughout the game with nearly every interaction having some great humor to it as the cast blends together better than most would expect, especially with characters often swapping between playing the straight-woman role when it comes to how ridiculous some events happen or how certain interactions play out.

The story itself isn’t anything too deep with many of the referential elements it touches upon being fairly simple and the few twists and turns that do keep things interesting are only helped thanks to how strongly the character interactions are handled. As mentioned before, fans of either series will be glad to see at least most of their favorite characters getting some fresh time to shine as all of their personalities remain the same only with a ninja twist. This is especially true for fans of the Neptunia series as more focus is placed on them compared to the Senran Kagura group.

The story is unfortunately rather short even for an action game and it is a downside in a number of ways as not only does it mean that players have less time to enjoy the character interactions and humor, but it also results in there being a rather small roster of characters to work with as a result. Only three Neptunia characters outside of the playable cast appear in the story in any way with the sisters only appearing as chibi characters with brief sentences and none of the extra Senran Kagura characters appear in any way.

Gameplay

As Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is designed to mesh both series together, it only makes sense that alongside the visual novel style story dialogue players will be spending the rest of their time undertaking missions where they battle inside small dungeon-like stages. Combat is fairly simple, allowing players to experiment as they wish as every character plays a little bit different from one another and has their own unique set of ninja arts that can be unleashed. Standard combat makes use of a basic attack button, a ranged weapon throw that tosses either a kunai or shuriken, and of course dodging or blocking incoming attacks. Arts make use of a character’s stamina meter and can be chained together within a limited “Trigger” meter to activate special effects when used in the correct order.

Alongside ninja skills each character will have their own unique ultimate “Shinobi Extreme” gauge that will charge by dealing and receiving damage and can be unleashed to deal massive amounts of damage to foes. Every character also has a limited number of “Fuurinkazan Drives” that provide temporary boosts in the form of increased damage at the cost of defense, health or stamina regeneration, and more. Since players will be able to bring two characters of their choosing during most missions they will be able to swap between these two ninja while in combat to chain combos together or simply outside of fights to allow their partner to recover health and stamina.

As a result, combat in Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars works quite well despite some limitations. Enemies tend to spawn in small amounts but deal a lot of damage when striking the player to balance things out and while it is certainly possible that players may not enjoy the way one character feels compared to others, there is a decent amount of variety of fighting styles to find something that works for you. That being said, just like with the story, it is disappointing that despite the large cast of characters available in both series that there are only ten playable characters which is a bit small even for a Neptunia game let alone an action game.

Outside of combat players will find that they can interact with chibi NPCs of guest characters, referential characters, and more to get snippets of dialogue, take on small quests from Iffy’s shrine to earn extra money and equipment, and take part in the only form of mini-game/side activity that the game has to offer. Equipment in the game comes in the form of different types of throwing weapons, talismans that provide various effects, and Spirit Gems that can be placed in various patterns on a character’s spirit board to provide additional effects such as increasing item drop rate, dealing extra damage to certain enemy types, and more.

Now as for the aforementioned mini-game, players will eventually unlock the “Peaches & Cream Meditation” mode that will provide small bonuses to the player’s characters when they go on their next few missions. This mode sees a chosen character balance on top of a giant peach and tasks the player with using motion controls to balance a ball for a set period of time, occasionally taking a risky lean here or there to speed things along.  This meditation mode is very simple in nature, even on the hardest difficulty and offers surprisingly little in the way of fan service. In fact, there is surprisingly very little fan service in any form in Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars outside of some lewd jokes/references and one or two scenes with no other game modes one would expect from either property or customization available such as a dressing room, interactions, or even a standard photo mode.

Visuals & Audio

Although the fan service is kept incredibly tame for either series, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars does still feature some gorgeous looking character art and CGs that are used during the visual novel segments of the game and even the character models during combat are nicely detailed with fluid combat motions. Ninja arts are nice and flashy, especially when it comes to ultimates, and while there is not a lot of variety to the enemy types players will encounter they will be quite familiar to fans of the Neptunia series. It is worth noting that the dungeons are simple in design but work well enough though they do get a bit bland considering the number of times players will travel through them when taking on side-quests.

Perhaps due to the fact that the Senran Kagura series has never been given an English dub in the West or for another reason entirely, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars does not feature an English voice track of any kind. While this will disappoint fans of the English cast, all of the original Japanese voice actors have returned to reprise their roles for the game. As for the soundtrack the title has a nice mixture of heavier rock themes to go along with the action as well as some nice themed pieces to go along with the ninja stylings that permeate the game.

Overall

Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars brings together some of the lovable and hilarious cast of the Neptunia series and Senran Kagura series and meshes them together with a fitting storyline that brings out the best in the characters but lacks much in the way of content outside of its solid combat systems. With a short running time, small cast of playable characters, and a lack of many features that one would expect from either series this blend of action game and visual novel is a blast to play for any fan of either series but won’t offer much for those unfamiliar with them.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is the highly specific crossover that fans will enjoy with a familiar cast, great interactions, and humor but lacks depth and content outside of its solid combat.
6.5

Fair

After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.

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