Taking a collection of characters from the various visual novels and games created by the Japanese developer Nitroplus as well as throwing in a few guests for good measure can only mean one thing in the world of videogames; a crazy crossover with a story so ridiculous it’ll make your head spin.
In the case of Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel it’s presented in the form of a traditional 2D fighting game, which I suppose is fairly logical really. I mean, with its headstrong cast all brought together under mysterious circumstances, what else are they going to do but fight?
Overall 32 characters make up Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel’s all-female roster, although disappointingly only 12 of them are actually playable. The other 20 femme fatales act as support characters, of which you have to choose two to take into battle with you. With each supporting character helping in their own unique way however, choosing who will accompany you is a slightly strategic decision and one that also goes some way to making the somewhat brief assortment of fighters more dynamic. Not only do you have to consider your opponent’s moveset when entering into a skirmish, you also have be wary of the skills of the ladies that are backing them up. That’s not to say you can rely on your support characters to win fights for you though; you can only summon them into action sparingly as their use is tied to a cooldown meter.
Aside from the fairly unique support character system, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel‘s combat is otherwise business as usual. You have the standard assortment of light, medium and strong attacks, as well as heavy attacks that can be charged to send your opponent reeling. To really lay the hurt on your rival you’ve also got access to Variable Rushes that allow you to pull off fancy and highly damaging combos with ease, and Lethal Blazes, which are the game’s equivalent to super combos. Whilst both require the consumption of one or more segments of a power bar, the strongest Lethal Blazes often feel overpowered due to the fact that many don’t require you to connect with a valid hit on your opponent upon activation. These highly damaging attacks then, become lucrative to winning battles, as they can easily take away a third of a character’s health bar in one fell swoop.
It’s not all about offence though. On the defensive side, you have more than the option to simply block attacks, with the inclusion of an evade button allowing you to masterfully avoid them too. Better yet, with perfect timing, the evade button can also be used to launch an effective counterattack on your opponent, leaving them with a depleted health bar and a diminished sense of pride. It all adds up to a rudimentary combat system that offers a decent amount of depth without being overly complicated.
Whilst Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel’s combat is thoroughly enjoyable with its fairly fast pace and ample array of systems however, it would all mean nothing if it didn’t have the modes to back it up. Fortunately, it just about scrapes by. Not content with just the one story mode, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel has two, but unfortunately both are pretty unremarkable; the stories being highly inaccessible for those not familiar with the characters or the properties they come from. Other than that it’s a poor offering, with just a score attack mode complete with an online leaderboard and the obligatory versus and practice modes to eat away at your time.
As with any modern fighting game, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel‘s lasting appeal will come from its online mode, where like-minded players can beat upon each other until their hearts are content. Facilitated by decent netcode that enables stable bouts that are free of any discernible lag, there’s the usual choices of ranked and player match options, as well as a replay theatre to relive your most epic of battles.
The music throughout Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is generally enjoyable to listen to, but your eyes won’t be as pleased as your ears. Visually its a combination of the decent and not so decent, with colourful and well animated but a little pixellated 2D character models juxtaposed upon basic 3D backgrounds that are lifeless and dull. Still, the special affects are nice and the game runs smooth at all times so that’s some consolation at least. Also, the story segments feature some beautiful high definition artwork that is pleasing to look at if you’re that way inclined.
It should be pretty obvious that if you’re a fan of Nitroplus and the things they create then you’ll get the most out of Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel. Either way though, it’s by no means an essential fighting game. Whilst the combat is indeed enjoyable and quite fresh thanks to its support character system, it just isn’t enough to elevate it to the level of its peers such as BlazBlue, Guilty Gear and Street Fighter. It also doesn’t help that it is fairly light on gameplay modes and options. Overall then, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a competent fighting game but one that doesn’t really excel in any area, making it hard to recommend among the pool of more technically developed and feature-rich titles available.