Fans of the Senran Kagura series have come to learn that the franchise is capable of crossing over into basically any genre at this point. With multiple action games released, a shooting title on the way, and previous titles making their way to the PC, the rhythm game Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! is the latest entry to arrive for PC users. Packing all of the content previously released for the PS Vita title, is this bursting offering worthy of a purchase?
When the legendary ninja Hattori Hanzo wants to hold a cooking contest, he knows exactly how to get everyone female shinobi in the area to attend. By offering a Secret Ninja Art Scroll that is capable of granting a wish of the user’s choice, the entire cast of the games up to the point of the PS Vita release come to the contest. Of course, with this whole thing simply being the whims of an old man who is hungry and wants to cause some trouble for his disciples, why not.
The girls of Hanzo Academy, Homura Crimson Squad, Hebijo, and Gessen are all included in this release and Hanzo couldn’t be happier as he is able to not only enjoy some delicious cooking, but also quite a show. Each of these characters is given her own unique story mode that will unlock special accessories and costumes as well as some visuals. These story modes range from ridiculously funny to just plain funny as none of them are meant to be taken seriously. Each story is told through a visual novel type narrative though only a few actual dialogue scenes populate each of the girls’ story modes as most of it is simply setting things up and then delivering a punch line at the end.
The barrage of humorous and racy jokes is upped immensely in Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit with constant food references and other bits of dialogue being double entendres. Everything is sexually charged as the girls talk to one another, barely veiling some of their flirtier or perverted attitudes, and it creates a hilarious experience that fans of the Senran Kagura series shouldn’t have it any way and neither would I as I found myself laughing constantly in-between cooking battles and simply enjoying the ride.
Once players select a character that they wish to play as, they will find a number of different modes available for them. Story mode is the main mode that allows players to take part in a number of cooking battles in a row that are occasionally interrupted with dialogue sequences as the story progresses, an arcade mode that allows players to take on girls in a randomized order of back to back competitions or finally the free mode that allows players to select their character as well as their opponent to begin a single three-stage cooking battle.
The food that is being prepared is determined by your opponent so players will find that some characters will vary wildly in difficulty depending on the songs that accompany each dish. This can create some rather unusual difficulty spikes, especially with this entry offering songs and characters that weren’t in the base version of the PS Vita release. That being said, the game is still played in the same manner as before with players needing to match the button prompts on the screen to the music in order to successfully build up combos and create a perfect dish.
Since this is a PC release, players will have the option of using a compatible controller or simply using the keyboard if they wish, with all keys being customizable to best fit your playstyle. That being said, despite the customization being available, playing with a controller is a much easier method in my opinion as the keyboard controls can be rather difficult to get used to, especially if you decide to take on a hard version of a song, though warming up with a few easy tunes can help you get there.
The closer each button is to the proper point the better score you will be given, which is to be expected, and it is worth noting that the more notes you successfully complete will build up a “combo” that can then unleash your chosen girls’ shinobi skill. These skills are all the same and do little to actually change the visuals of the game as they simply help you earn more points while also burying the chances that your opponent has to come back in round as the skill will stay active until you miss a note.
With each battle being a three part affair, each part is split into a taste testing by Hanzo where he will pick the winner of that part. This is chosen by a colored bar at the top of the screen pushing into the loser’s side of the screen and is determined by how accurate you are with the notes. Each round won or lost will result in the losing party suffering from ripped clothing. This means that by the end of the second round you can have your opponent stripped completely to their underwear and if you manage to pull off a complete victory in the final round, she will be stripped completely naked with chibi versions of her face covering her nipples and a bar of light covering her lower part.
It is also worth noting that doing well in the earlier rounds will fill up a heart meter that, when full, appears as an extra note in the song that, if activated, will zoom the camera around your opponent as she continues to cook. The camera puts emphasis on your opponents “life and hometown” and while there are two angles that the camera can take, it appears to be random which one will trigger.
If you have managed to obtain a perfect victory, you will be awarded something a little extra as your opponent is then placed in a situation where she is served up as a desert, covered in chocolate syrup, whipped cream and more to be as sexual looking as possible without going over the line. Each girl has a different pose and this is certainly a game that does everything it can to deliver that extra bit of service to the player.
This is continued into the dressing room where players can unlock countless different accessories, outfits, and underwear to dress up their favorite girls. There is so much to unlock in the game and so many different combinations to put together that fans will have a lot to unlock.
Visuals & Audio
With Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit!’s release on the PC the company hasn’t really done a whole lot to touch up the graphics of the title but thankfully the title still holds up fairly well as the models, while not exceptionally well detailed, are varied enough and have an absolutely immense amount of customization options that can be unlocked. By using the dressing room you can change the outfits that each character will wear while she is cooking and even the underwear she will eventually be stripped down to.
The cooking sequences change depending on the item that is being made at any given moment and some of the creations that come out of the final round are quite ridiculous looking and they match perfectly with Hanzo’s euphoric reactions to eating the winner’s food.
Since this release of the game features all of the playable characters that were ever released for the title players will find that they have quite a library of songs to choose from. Since each girl offered in the game has their own song there is quite a variety here though some of the tunes are a bit forgettable sounding for certain characters. Thankfully these are made up for by some great sounding tracks featuring some vocals.
Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! is a game that really only fans of the series would truly get the biggest kick out of as it offers everyone’s favorite characters in a unique setting but there is a little something here for rhythm game fans as well if they feel like taking and trying out something a little different and a whole lot more risqué than usual. With plenty of challenge, tons of content to unlock, and of course the humorous storylines that fans are familiar with, the PC release is a successful port of the game with everything a fan could enjoy once they learn how to use the keyboard properly or simply pick up a compatible controller.