Today we’re taking a look at Marvelous Games latest action free-roaming fighting game Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni. You might be well versed in their previous entries such as Senran Kagura but Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni offers more titillating girl on girl fighting action. In this game you choose between seven buxom girls who had been taken to a remote island having been infected by a virus. The virus grants the girls special powers in which when sexually aroused can transform them into powerful weapons. The only control there is of the virus is to fight and learn more about it. What this means is when paired with another girl the two lock into each other to become the ultimate fighting machine. The island itself is secluded from the outside world and aims to find a cure for the virus by studying the girls fighting.
In a nutshell it’s a great excuse to check out the buxom ladies fighting each other in skimpy outfits and naughty underwear, putting it bluntly. So nothing new there for Marvelous Games’ production. There are a lot of similarities with Senran Kagura, but here the the fighting system is somewhat different even though they are both hack and slash games.
To begin, players can play through the story mode which then unlocks more content such as the survival mode, challenge mode etc. Of course there is a training mode where you can hone your skills or replay tutorials. For those wishing to battle others there is an online mode as well making for a well-rounded product, especially in light of all the unlockable content available.
The story mode spans some 24 chapters which are filled with an assortment of witty dialogue, tongue in cheek moments and sexual innuendo aplenty. There are definitely some amusing scenes here, but some sections do drag on quite a lot which breaks up the fighting game play. Luckily for the impatient you are able to skip the scenes and just dive in to the fighting. It has to be said, it is worth paying attention to the story dialogue to get a greater understanding of the girls predicaments as what starts out fairly innocent becomes far more sinister as you progress.
As expected, the combat is pretty refined here with basic attack moves for button mashers and more advanced juggle combo moves for those wishing to be more stylized. Players will be faced with numerous enemies on the ground and in the air with a mixture of ranged attackers, those which power-up grunts and others who stand around doing very little. Whilst not particularly challenging individually, in larger groups can give players a pounding especially on the highest difficulty setting. Chapters are divided into two or three stages comprising of free-roaming sections verses the grunts and one-on-one battles with the other girls. During the the story, you’ll come across boss battles as well which depending on your level can be either overly easy or a fraction too tough. Thankfully, you’re able to replay previously completed levels to gain more experience and try again when at suitable level. Interestingly, there are two levels to be mindful of here where leveling up the attacking character (liberator) has to be balanced with levelling up the weapon character (Extar). Whilst the player has a choice of what to do, more power is granted to the attacking character if the Extar is levelled up suitably. Which brings us on to the drives aspect of the game. These are effectively power-ups during each stage which can be activated at any time if you’ve collected enough resource (gained from attacking enemies). Depending on the level of your secondary character determines what drives you can use ranging from one to four drives levels. There is a little touch of tactics here as well in that you’re free to activate a level-one drive then a level-two drive, and so on. Alternatively you can build up enough resources and activate the all powerful final drive which grants you a nice boost in basic attack power. Each time you activate a drive you are treated to an interesting sequence showing the girls getting touchy-feely. More importantly though, keeping combos going adds to your overall attack power which means you can really hammer the enemy if you’re mindful of your aerial combos.
In terms of visuals the game offers some sharp looks on PC especially when boosting the resolution up to 4K and in 60 frames per second. Whilst the locations aren’t the most detailed, the simplistic art style works well for all intents and purposes with colourful larger than life characters. It has to be said the excellent and always hungry Manpukamaru is an obvious favourite here not only by her unique design but her one dimensional character which is totally “out there” compared to the other girls. The format is the same as Senran Kagura where you have a shop to buy new underwear, outfits and other unlockable items. A hub area to talk to the girls and build relationships with them which nets some unique dialogue scenes and of course the fantastic dressing room. It’s here where you can change clothing, hair style, and add accessories or unlock more collectibles. There is also a naughty heart collecting massage game which aside from being very Japanese is a fun distraction and a visually pleasing way to level up the girls. Alternatively, you can spend 10 minutes mashing the buttons, touching the girls inappropriately whilst she objects, to raise the level. You are often called a pervert for doing so as you would expect. Aside from the obvious naughtiness it’s a good way to look at the characters up- close.
As mentioned previously there’s some rather cool dialogue during the story which highlights the different personalities of each girl. The Japanese voice acting is very good although English speakers will have to settle with subtitles. The music provides a suitable backdrop but is more functional than anything. As far as audio is concerned the girls are the star of the show here and rightly so.
In terms of length there’s quite a lot to Wade through offering hours of entertainment and when combined with the extra modes and unlockable content means you’ll certainly get your monies worth. That said, the core game play is a bit repetitive as you would expect which means your mileage might vary depending on how long you play for in one sitting. There is of course the online to dive into if that’s your calling for gaming over the longer term.
PC gamers have to be thankful that Marvelous Games have released Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni on the platform. In no uncertain terms it’s a much better version than the PS Vita release with the content being identical in every way – which includes no additional censorship. As a game it’s quite basic by design but remains a whole lot of fun regardless. If you’re a fan of Senran Kagura then this is a no-brainer and well worth checking out. If you’re a newcomer with some interest looking in, then be warned there is some minor nudity, sexual references, ripping clothes and lots of enlarged bouncing breasts/crotch shots.