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Senran Kagura Bon Appetit! (Vita) artwork

Senran Kagura Bon Appetit! (Vita) review

"If you think of Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit as a complementary experience to the meaty Shinovi Versus, there's a good chance you'll have a fun time with Bon Apetit."

I donít normally watch cooking shows, but I had the opportunity to check some out on The Food Network over the Thanksgiving holiday. The clashing of personalities and food was certainly interesting, but I felt that something was missing. Upon returning from my relatives' house, I realized what that was: anime girls.

Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit, the latest game in the big breasted anime girl fan service franchise, is nothing like its predecessors. Whereas both Senran Kagura Burst and Shinovi Versus focused on high-octane action, Bon Apetit is a rhythm/cooking game. I didnít quite know what to think of it at first, but it ends up being pretty fun.

The basic premise of Bon Apetit is that the seriesí resident old lecher, Hanzou, starts a cooking contest challenging the girls to create the ultimate Super Dish. In the opening cutscene, he admits that this is all just an excuse to see girls in skimpy outfits, so we shouldnít take it too seriously. Take it seriously we shall not, as the game is perhaps the most bizarre and silliest game Iíve played this year.

As you might expect, the gameplay is incredibly simple. Whichever girl you choose competes in a number of cooking battles where you have to hit buttons in time with the music. After hitting a number of notes correctly, your shinobi of choice triggers a secret art that gives you more points. Youíll want these points, as soundly defeating your opponent in each of the three courses prompts Hanzou to obliterate their clothes with his voice.

All of this isnít new for Senran Kagura fans, but the reward you get for winning is well worth it. In these cutscenes, Hanzou is so enamored with the food that he is transported to various locales, including outer space. Itís hard to describe these scenes, but I was constantly in stitches. You can really tell the Bon Apetit team had a blast crafting these scenarios.

The game also encourages players to completely destroy their opponent by winning all three courses. Not only does this strip the opponent entirely, leaving only chibi face pasties covering their nipples, but you get an extra scene at the end featuring your opponent covered in chocolate and whip cream. Itís certainly par for the course, but some may find it to be a little egregious even by Senran Kagura standards.

Outside of the story mode, players can play any of the songs or challenges previously completed. Itís here where the game falters as a rhythm game, as the song selection is kind of pathetic. Thereís only a handful of character songs, with the rest of the soundtrack being made up of instrumental tracks that sound like theyíre out of Shinovi Versus. Itís not bad music by any means, but you expect more out of an anime rhythm game.

To make up for it, the seriesí fantastic character customization is back and better than ever. Upon completing chapters in story mode, youíll unlock more costumes for the girls to wear. The costumes range from school uniforms and sweaters to more outlandish outfits like a naked apron and magical girl uniform. As an added bonus, any costume DLC you bought for Shinovi Versus is available for you to use in Bon Apetit, as well.

Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit is something that only dedicated Senran Kagura fans are likely to enjoy. Even then, some fans may find the content a little too lacking for their taste. Thankfully, the game only costs $15 with an optional $15 DLC add-on that adds the Gesso and Hebijo girls from Shinovi Versus. If you think of it as a complementary experience to the meaty Shinovi Versus, there's a good chance you'll have a fun time with Bon Apetit.


Phazonmasher's avatar
Freelance review by Zachary Walton (December 06, 2014)

Zach Walton likes JRPGs, visual novels, horror games and anything that gives him an excuse to drink.

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