When Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus arrived I picked it up… skeptically. In spite of my wife’s scoffing grumbles, I found myself enjoying the game so I was looking forward to the latest entry. Fan service aside, Senran Kagura has proven itself to be a worthy series full of guilty pleasures, that’s why it’s such a shame to see that the latest cooking spin-off, Bon Appetit is such a letdown. The simple rhythm game does pose challenging at first, but within a few hours you’ll master all you’ve needed to crush your opponents in cooking combat.
Yes, that’s right, Senran Kagura Bon Appetit is a rhythm game, so people expecting this iteration to be anything like the previous Vita title can abandon those hopes. The game’s story follows the girls of Senran Kagura as they proceed to engage in cooking battles with their respective rivals, losing their clothes in the process. This kitschy cooking game starts off rather fun, and learning to master the game’s rhythm system can be quite a challenge. But once you’ve wrapped your head around the concept, the precise button presses lose a bit of their flavor.
"Fans of rhythm games can easily find something much better to tap with, and even diehard Senran Kagura fans will struggle to continue playing this one for more than a few hours."
After playing through the story mode with three of the characters I felt like I had seen all the title had to offer, and by the time I hit my fifth character I was ready to call it quits. Cut scenes were repetitive and quite boring. Worst of all they were, for the most part, unskippable. None of the humor or cuteness that was so apparent in the other Senran Kagura titles had a chance to stand out amidst all the fluff of Bon Appetit’s story, and, much like Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection, the game ends up sacrificing its compelling content for pure unadulterated fan service.
Graphics are on par with other Senran Kagura entries. Fans will know what to expect, but newcomers can look forward to fluid animations, a crisp, defining cell-shaded anime style, and striking visual ambience all wrapped up in a sexy little package. Unfortunately you won’t get much of an opportunity to enjoy the visuals because of the hectic rhythm gameplay. Taking your eyes off the bars, even for a second, can destroy your score, especially on the harder modes.
Bon Appetit is far from a satisfying serving. Its bite-sized gameplay is sure to leave a bad taste, but its lukewarm story and shallow depth are the biggest offenders. The portion is nothing more than a few levels, irritating, mostly unskippable cut scenes, and simple rhythm gameplay. Fans of rhythm games can easily find something much better to tap with, and even diehard Senran Kagura fans will struggle to continue playing this one for more than a few hours. Don’t consider this menu item, you’ll just end up sending it back.
Review by: Palmer Sturman | Reviewed on: Playstation Vita