Bringing together two series beloved by many, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is a game full of promise.
The Neptunia series is known for its over-the-top humour and old-school RPG antics, while Senran Kagura is equally comedic while providing fast-paced action that’s nothing if not entertaining. Both have an unhealthy obsession with boobs. Throw them both together and you should have a fun game full of jokes and engaging combat, complemented with a generous portion of heaving bosoms. And you do, to an extent.
Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars finds the characters of two worlds fighting for supremacy in Gamninjustri. The four goddesses of Heartland – Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert – don’t see eye-to-eye with the four shinobi of Marveland – Asuka, Homura, Yumi and Miyabi – and so are locked in a long battle. But things are about to change. An invasion by a force called the Steeme Legion results in an unlikely alliance being made.
Ultimately, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars plays how you’d expect. In between lengthy exchanges of dialogue, the girls spring into action, exploring fields to progress the story and complete quests. But rather than engage enemies in turn-based battles, they hack and slash at them in real-time, with you in direct control. And of course, there’s the occasional boss standing in your way that demands all of your skills to overcome.
The combat it easily the best thing about Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars, though that probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given Senran Kagura’s heritage. On a basic level, you can slash with your melee weapon, or make use of multiple throwables that have a varied range of effects. You can block attacks and dash out of their way, too. Turning up the heat, you also have access to numerous Ninja Art skills that can be chained together, and have access to what is basically an ultimate skill. Add in the ability to power up your character for a short while, and you have plenty of options.
The camera often feels like it works against you though, especially with default settings. You’ll get fed up of off-screen enemies hitting you with ranged attacks until you zoom the camera out to get a better view of the field. And you may as well forget about the lock-on system for the most part. It doesn’t track your target very well, and it’s a pain switching between enemies. It’s a shame, because this is an issue that plagued the original PS4 release last year. Something could have been done about it, yet it still persists on Switch.
Forget the combat, though; the truth is, Neptunua x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars‘ biggest problem just can’t be fixed. Now, we’ve got nothing against visual novels – some of them are very good indeed – but they need a gripping story and well-written characters. Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars unfortunately has neither of those, and the length and frequency of its conversations definitely puts it in visual novel territory. You simply spend too much time clicking though text, and not enough time actually playing.
Some people may not mind the vast amount of dialogue too much – there are some genuinely amusing gags in there. Persist with it, and you can have fun with the game’s action-heavy endgame content, too. But that fact is that Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars just isn’t as good as it could have been. And this Switch port does little to rectify the game’s issues.
So, what is new in this Switch version of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars? The biggest addition is the introduction of difficulty settings. You can now make the combat encounters easier or harder if you wish, eradicating the need to grind or challenging you to step up your game. Other than that, it also includes a free alternate costume DLC, so you can give the characters a fresh new look without spending any additional money.
Perhaps the best news if you’re a Neptunia or Senran Kagura fan is that the port itself has been handled well. The visuals are pretty attractive, especially if you’re playing handheld on an OLED Switch, and the framerate holds up well.
If the idea of sitting through up to an hour of pointless chit-chat before you can get into a bout of entertaining action doesn’t put you off, then you might get some enjoyment out of Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it doesn’t strike a good balance between story and gameplay. And the story itself isn’t worthy of taking up so much of your time. Still, as Switch ports go this is a good one, and the additional difficulty options are very welcome.
Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars Review – GameSpew’s Score