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Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PC) artwork

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PC) review

"Strip Fighter II"

Today, I repeatedly smashed a biker chick in the face with an anime body pillow before I tore off her top.

I’ve enjoyed my time playing though Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, but my favourite part has to be making out-of-context comments stolen directly from my experiences and just letting them loose in public. Today I was mobbed by 48 screaming teenage girls who had overdosed on sugar and, to defend myself, I stripped them to their underwear until they were too embarrassed to continue their assault. Today, to discourage a poor girl from being repeatedly hit on by the local creeps, I put on a girl’s bathing suit and brained them all with a model train. I stole the model train from a nearby nerd who had taken over the public walkway and annoyed the hell out of pedestrians by screaming out arrival times and platform changes. Today, I helped a guy confess to the girl he had a crush on by bullying him into wearing a bear outfit and giving him awful advise so I could laugh at his misfortunes.

Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed is weird, a game based around the idea that wining fights comes down to who can strip off their opponent’s clothes the fastest that actually manages to sidestep gratuitous fanservce and instead pokes fun at the otaku subculture behind it. Part visual novel, part manly brawler, you explore the virtually recreated city of Akihabara where over 100 buildings have been taken from the city itself and faithfully recreated. The reconstruction of the town is a real labour of love; I stopped in my tracks when my exploration had me strolling past a Taito shop to have a small fanboyish mark-out moment. Posters adorn the city cross-promoting other franchises such as Disgaea, Legend of Heroes and Hyperdimension Neptunia. Video screens mounted above major stores show anime clips while idols pose on street corners and many photographs are taken. Shop assistants stop you in the street and offer you a flyer for local shops -- real shops that exist and you can buy anime figurines or crazy hot curry from.

You could spend hours exploring, visiting shops and purchasing stat buffs disguised as limited edition Manga or game OSTs, or just pop into a local maid café and play word games. You probably will, which is why it’s such a boon that the main thrust of Akiba’s Trip can be ignored for large periods of time while you just wander around, drowning in immersion. There’s a secret conspiracy going on where a shady organisation has been luring in the nerdiest of the otaku that flock to Akihabara in droves with promises of figurines and trading cards, then turning them into weird man-made vampires that don’t actually drink blood but instead absorb people’s will, leaving them emotionless shells. That’s where you meet your protagonist; strapped to a table having undergone the procedure after being lured in with the promise of rare collectables. He’s rescued and spends the rest of the game fighting back against the people who tried so hard to turn him into a constructed monster.

He mostly does this via mindless violence. The trait most obviously shared with vampires is that the enemy cannot process sunlight, but remain okay so long as they protect their body from the head down. The most logical way to defeat them then is to obviously strip them to their underwear and let them melt in the direct sunlight. You complete this with a battle engine which can only be described as gloriously clumsy; your three main forms of attack can target the three areas of clothing you’ll need to remove for victory. So you pummel them for a bit, dealing damage to their clothing rather than the targets themselves until they’re weakened enough to tear from their pale, fleshy bodies. There’s obligatory button mashing, scores of different weapon styles to switch between, counter-counter attacks and the ability to wade into armies of people dressed in business suits, tube tops and military garb in an attempt to see what colour their boxer shorts are. Do enough area damage and you can chain together a number of (really not very) quick-time prompts to strip multiple items of clothing. Build a big enough chain and you’ll also destroy their underwear, forcing everyone to flee the scene with massive blushes or chronic melting all tastefully obscured by massive censorship. You can then collect their used underwear from the floor and wear it yourself because that’s not creepy at all.

Oh! Today I beat up a bunch of coplayers and engineered a mighty combo so potent that it shed them of their underwear. I then collected their undergarments and made the girls in my social circle wear them.

You’re more often than not accompanied into battle by one of five girls, four of which you can possibly romance so long as you pick the right responses throughout the visual novel-esque sections of the game that explore the storyline. Gain their trust and you can dress them up as you wish, which can mean garnishing them with clothes stolen from vanquished enemies or with more hygienic articles purchased from stores. Some ways into the game, you’ll earn the ability to sacrifice other items of clothes to make your current outfits that much hardier. Worth noting at this point that all the DLC extras that promised extra outfits for earlier renditions of Akiba’s Trip are all available from the get go in the PC version, purchasable for a respectable chunk of (in-game!) currency meaning you can obtain outfits from other games and have your cast parade around in them. Because why wouldn’t you?

Akiba’s Trip is hopelessly in love with the subject material it’s openly lampooning, making for a strange but ultimately effortlessly endearing experience. You could probably beat the game in four or five hours if you complete only the missions needed to drive the plot forward, but my first play through took me seventeen as I hunted relentlessly for other things to do, taking on droves of ludicrous side quests, smashing my way through the arena while bolstering and collecting new clothes. A lazy nerd wants to see the new adverts for his favourite anime, but they’re so far away, so why not go take photos of them on your phone for him and reward his sloth? That overly positive guy’s heart is in the right place but, man, he’s soooo annoying. Stripping him will probably shut him up. Someone wants the latest edition of a popular console mag, but some obsessed fan has bought up all the copies in town -- chase him the hell down and embarrass him. Embarrass him good for taking all the nerdy mags!

Then maybe win a girl’s heart and save the world. But your little sister is probably right -- those 3D girls sure are exhausting. Probably best to hole up in your room, shun all that fresh, clean air, and play some video games.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 07, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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