Courtesy of Marvelous, Nitroplus Blasterz has arrived in Europe! Nitroplus is an All-Girl 2D Fighter from the talented team at Examu, developers of the Arcana Hearts series of fighters which have been gracing our shores for a number of years now.
To tell you the truth the Arcana series hadn’t particulary grabbed me, and my interest in 2D Anime style fighters had been beginning to wain. I could see the potential in the Arcana Hearts series of games but they didn’t do enough to re-ignite my passion for the genre.
So we come to this latest offering and we have the familiar all female ensemble present. The girls here are lifted from various Nitroplus Visual Novels, none of which I’m familiar with, other than the character ‘Saber’ from the Fate/Stay Night series, which I only know because she’s appeared in other fighters I’ve played, and she’s got a big sword, which is cool.
You may or may not be familiar with the characters but what can’t be argued with is the variety which is on offer here. There are 14 playable characters in total (two of which need to be unlocked), including several more who appear as support characters bringing the number up to 32 characters in total.
Each character is very unique and come equipped with swords, guns, demon powers, web-slinging abilities and even cats…
The game brims with personality, the presentation firstly is top notch. The intro sequence sets the tone for the game and is suitably exhilarating and very Japanese, but not generically so, Nitroplus has it’s own unique flavor. The characters are colorful and imaginative and most tastes and playstyles seem well catered for.
The game has several modes on offer including Story, Another Story (which unlocks after you’ve completed Story mode with one character) Score Attack, Training, and various muli-player options. Offline play included of course. There’s also a Gallery where you can view various unlockables, such as artwork.
It’s a fairly robust selection of modes, although I do miss the likes of Team Battles, a staple of Tekken and Soul Calibur, although this is a minor gripe, especially when the gameplay is this good.
If I could compare Nitroplus to anything it would probably be the Marvel Vs. Capcom series, however Nitroplus manages to be more technical and rewarding than the aforementioned series. The gameplay is very tight, very fast and incredibly responsive with an emphasis on air-dashing and combos.
As far as new systems go, Nitroplus has a few. There’s a Blast Attack, which powers up your character for a limited time. An Escape Action button is also present, which allows you to perform evasive maneuvers as well as a Heavy Action button, which allows you push the opponent back. In addition to these you have the regular Super Move meter which gives you access to Super Moves of course, as well as Lethal Blazes, which are this game’s ultimate attacks and are suitably and satisfyingly over the top for the most part. Of course there’s also the support characters who you can pick 2 of and sit comfortably on the L1 and L2 buttons and are available at timed intervals during the fight, there’s a lot of creativity present in the nature of these attacks also.
In practice this all works wonderfully together to deliver one of the most enjoyable fighting experiences I’ve had in quite some time. Matches are fast, explosive affairs which manage to remain tactical at the same time. One of the strengths of the game is it’s accessibility. In a short amount of time the game becomes very familiar and comfortable to play, allowing you to pull of all sorts of crazy moves. A lot of commands will be familiar to anyone with any previous experience of 2D fighters and what’s new here doesn’t take very long to learn.
The game’s difficulty also favours newcomers and feels fair throughout, even when you come across the games final boss, which can be suitably annoying, you always feel it’s possible to beat her and the experience is all the more satisfying for that.
The game however isn’t without it’s problems, although there isn’t really much here to complain about. The game’s levels or fighting arenas aren’t particularly interesting, they’re all static and bland for the most part, a little animation in the backgrounds would have helped to bring them to life more. Perhaps this was a conscious decision on the developers part so not to interfere with the foreground action, but they just come off as a bit lazy in comparison to everything else.
For me ‘Another Story’ mode is a bit of let-down. It’s easier than the regular Story but unlike that mode which is light on the Story part, Another Story is a full on read-a-thon. Sadly I couldn’t really get into the story, perhaps I didn’t give it much of a chance, but it’s confusingly written and may as well of been in Japanese for all I know.
Score Attack is also a slightly strangely named mode for what it is, it’s effectively an Arcade mode, although at first I was expecting it to be more of a survival mode, an option that isn’t available in Nitroplus at all.
These are all minor gripes though, in short Nitroplus is excellent. I say this as a fighting fan who had become disillusioned with the Japanese 2D fighter. They’d become generic to me, the gameplay either wasn’t interesting enough or was full of confusing new mechanics. Nitroplus has won me over with it’s accessibility, it’s great characters and hidden depths of strategy. I’ve honestly had as much fun with this as I have with Street Fighter V, probably more. Nitroplus is also a budget title, with an RRP of around £30 and is certainly more fully featured than it’s competition.
If you’re into fighters, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game. If you’re a newcomer to the genre or just love anything Japanese, I imagine you’ll also come away fulfilled from this title. I have personally discovered an all-time favourite of the genre.
Reviewed by Tom Parry (Toodlebug500)
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is available NOW for both PS3 and PS4 formats.