A fun fact about me and my love of video games is how certain games inspired me to participate in real life. As a kid, my love affair with Mario Tennis actually prompted me to research and take up the sport; Street Fighter actually sparked my interest in learning karate, albeit briefly; and Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town actually sparked my passion for cooking, prompting me to experiment with ingredients and seek out interesting recipes.
This passion for cooking is what keeps me on the lookout for any interesting games related to the trade, and the sole reason I took any interest in SENRAN KAGURA Bon Appétit! – Full Course, a ridiculous, unconventional “cooking” game that is enjoyable beyond the obvious reasons a heterosexual manchild might get into the franchise for.
Senran Kagura is a series about incredibly well-endowed female ninjas who, depending on the game, fight each other, other ninjas or just get into wacky, oftentimes sexy shenanigans. In Bon Appetit, a world-renowned cooking competition comes to the Hanzo Street Shopping District where the 22 buxom shinobi compete for their various reasons. That’s really all there is in the way of overarching plot and each of the girls have pretty comical reasons for participating in the cook-off, but story isn’t exactly why people play these games.
When I first read that this entry into the Senran Kagura franchise was going to revolve around cooking I thought for sure this would be a proper cooking game ala Cooking Mama. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a rhythm game, much like DDR or more specifically StepMania. While the whole cooking element is purely aesthetic, I couldn’t help but appreciate how it ties into the gameplay. Like every rhythm game, the object is to hit as many “notes” as accurately as possible. In Bon Appetit, the amount of notes hit will dictate the size of the meal cooked, while the accuracy will dictate the overall quality of the dish.
If your dish is more delicious that your opponent’s then the judge will release a DBZ shout of food-induced euphoria, blowing the clothes off your opponent. If you can beat them in each match’s three rounds then you will render them clothesless (safe for some pretty tasteful censoring) which will earn you a “perfect bonus” post-scene, where your opponent seductively sits atop a desert covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It’s pretty par-for-the-course as far as the fan-servicey elements of the franchise go, and while edgier critics may view this under the lense of objectification, frankly the whole thing was so farcical that it didn’t really bother me.
While the game does look pretty good, you can definitely tell it was a port from the PS Vita. For a game so emphatically focused on the female form, it seems odd that certain features that should be smooth curves are uncharacteristically octogonal. The visuals and backgrounds that accompany the gameplay are pretty threadbare and lacking the polish that might’ve come from a game dedicated to the PS4 or PC.
As a game, I honestly had a lot of fun with it mainly because of how ludicrous the whole affair is. Probably the only real complaint I have with the game is how it has that massive gap between normal and hard you sometimes find in these rhythm games where normal is too easy, and hard is insane. And even normal mode seemed to have a fluctuating degree of difficulty with some songs being a complete cake walk and others were ridiculous. But even with this complaint, I couldn’t help but find myself laughing the whole way, even when I was losing I was still having fun.
SENRAN KAGURA Bon Appétit! – Full Course wears it’s ridiculousness right on it’s sleeve and I cannot fault it for that. While it’s fan-service didn’t really work on me, I still enjoyed the relative challenge and it’s humorous, jovial tone. I only wish it had a bit more staying power, but for what it is it was incredibly entertaining. Bon appetit!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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