Crossover fighters have been popular in gaming for years now, with the likes of fighting game giants Tekken and Street Fighter squaring off against each other as well as entire companies themselves including Marvel and Capcom. These crossovers have also birthed franchises such as Super Smash Bros., so they’re certainly popular among among gamers.
Japanese visual novel company Nitroplus have decided to get in on the crossover fighter action too, bringing Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel to arcades and Playstation consoles. With the help of fighting game specialists Examu, Nitroplus have brought a fighter that’s accessible to both rookie and pro fighting game fans – just don’t expect to recognise every character you’ll be battling with.
A fighting game’s roster is typically one of the most important aspects of the game, especially in a crossover. Unfortunately the stars of this title haven’t all been in localised games, resulting in a cast of characters who you may not have ever heard of even if you’ve played the majority of Nitroplus’ English visual novels. I’ll admit, the only character I actually knew was DLC fighter Homura from Senran Kagura, and she isn’t even a Nitroplus character.
Fortunately Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel’s all-female cast is colourful enough that it really doesn’t make a difference if you know them or not. There’s the vampire hunting Mora, the great sword wielding Saber and the cat loving Nitroplus mascot Sonico – each character looks and feels unique, offering a gameplay experience that utilises weapon based combat, unarmed attacks and… cat attacks. Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel certainly has its fair share of oddities!
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel’s fighting is 2D, with fights taking place in a one on one situation. Other crossover fighters have often integrated team based battles but that isn’t the case here. You do get to bring two assist characters to help you out though. These assist characters have also appeared in previous Nitroplus games, but didn’t get the ‘main character’ treatment – no effort has been spared in their production though, with assist characters looking great and bringing a lot to the battle. Each one offers something different too, be it a close range attack or something from a distance. The game actually makes a recommendation on what support characters work best your selected character, though you’re free to choose whoever you like.
As someone who isn’t very skilled at fighting games (I’m a bit of a button masher), I was happy with the accessibility of Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel. Most moves required a small stick movement followed up by a button press – something simple to even the most inept of fighting game players. A few actions had shortcuts that were accessible by just pressing one of the shoulder buttons too. After learning a few of each character’s moves it didn’t take too long before I was stringing them together in combinations and unleashing hell on my opponents. It all came to me pretty quickly, something surprising seeing as there was no real tutorial section to learn about the different fighting mechanics on offer.
There are more complicated mechanics for fighting game veterans too, with dodges and cancels accessible with the correct button combination. There are also special moves on offer such as the ‘Variable Combo’ that allows you to unleash a multitude of hits on your opponent, as well as the more powerful ‘Lethal Blaze’ special attack. You have a special meter that’ll drain depending on how often you use these special attacks, but it’s not too restrictive seeing as it resets between rounds.
Regardless of how I good I was at the game, I had a fun time with the fighting in Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel. It felt satisfying and didn’t over complicate itself with too many mechanics, a surprise given developer Examu’s pedigree with fighting games. That being said, the easier nature of the game may be off putting to some fighting game fans – at least it’s easy for anyone to pick up and play though.
There are a few game modes to play through including Story, Another Story, Versus and Network. Story mode sees you fighting through eight battles as a selected character with short moments of dialogue in-between fights. The dialogue is quite humorous at times, but I don’t think I got to fully appreciate character interactions given my lack of knowledge of them.
Another Story sees you playing through a more visual novel-orientated story rather than focusing primarily on battling, offering something that fans of Nitroplus games may be more accustomed to. It’s an interesting addition that will certainly please the more hardcore Nitroplus fans.
Versus and Network are Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel’s multiplayer options, with Versus focusing on local play and Network taking you online to battle against various gamers all over the world. It even allows cross-play between consoles, allowing Playstation 4 users to square off against Playstation 3 players. I didn’t try out much of the online mode, but I had a few local battles with friends and it was a lot of fun. Two players who’re attempting to button mash their way to victory led to some great showdowns.
Visually the game looked great, offering some great sprites that are animated fantastically. Everything felt fluid and smooth, whilst the attacks themselves were certainly visually appealing – especially the more chaotic ‘Lethal Blaze’ attacks. The backgrounds were good, especially with their parallax scrolling effect that seemingly changed the perspective, though there was a severe lack of animation. Whilst it isn’t essential, a more interactive background certainly adds a better atmosphere to battles.
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel might not immediately appeal to you due to it’s slightly obscure cast, but I’d certainly recommend fighting fans at least give it a try. The fighting is accessible enough for newbies to pick it up and play with minimal fuss, but it also offers plenty of depth to keep fighting game veterans happy too. Sure the cast are obscure, but there’s no denying that it’s a colourful, interesting set of characters on offer. You can’t ask for much more from a fighter, and you’ll certainly be surprised with how much fun you’ll have with Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel.
– Enjoyable, accessible fighting
– Great visuals and fluid animations
– A colourful, varied cast of fighters
– The cast are obscure for a cross-over title
– Lack of animation on the backgrounds
Developer: Examu (www.examu.co.jp)
Publisher: Marvelous Europe (www.marvelousgames.com)
Release Date: 08/04/2016
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Playstation 3