Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! Review—Feeding Your Inner Desires

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Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! is a strange music/rhythm game, as it doesn’t really feel like your typical entry in the genre from the get-go. Developed by Meteorise (known previously for Ciel no Surge), the game highlights the completely over-the-top debauchery the Senran Kagura series is known for, and it easily turns the fanservice up to 11.

Let’s address the concerns that most fans probably have: when you first boot up the game, you’ll notice that over half the cast of kunoichi are missing. In order to unlock all of the girls and ninja schools, you’ll have to purchase the Gessen x Hebijo downloadable content, and Rin and Daidouji are unlockable only if you purchase both of their character packs in Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus. A new fan looking to jump in with Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! (you really should consider the non-spinoff games) is probably going to be annoyed.

So let’s move onto what most music and/or rhythm game fans are probably most concerned about, the gameplay. The game pans out in completely ludicrous, Iron Chef-style cooking battles where two girls have literal cooking duels that are broken up into three rounds, all judged solely by Hanzou, Asuka’s grandfather. If you thought his perversion was rampant in the main series, wait until you see his reactions to the ladies’ cooking!

There are two rows on which notes (via face and directional buttons) move from right to left, upon which you have to nail the timing down just right to stay on top of your opponent. This is an interesting dynamic in comparison to most music/rhythm games that have a more “solo” experience, i.e. you’re simply trying to “beat” the song. In Bon Appetit!, you’re always competing against an opponent, and if you begin to fall behind on your notes, you get punished quickly.

An even more interesting bit of the gameplay is the cloth-breaking the series is known for: in Bon Appetit!, you destroy your opponent’s clothing by serving the superior dish to Hanzou. He then proceeds to vomit a blast of sunlight/rainbow, destroying a layer of the opposing kunoichi’s outfit.

The key thing here is that you can fail both of the first two rounds, yet still win in the final, third round. There is no audience outside of Hanzou, who seems ultimately to always be won over by the final dish.

It seems a bit odd that you can continually lose, only to rise like a phoenix in the final round and miraculously win. However, if you want to see your favorite girl spread out, completely naked on a giant dessert tray, you’ll have to win all three rounds, reducing her to total nudity after the final round. This prompts the bonus round, where you can take pictures of the lady, who is usually covered in creme and fruit (as seen below), in poses which vary from girl to girl.

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Difficulty seems to arbitrarily spike on certain songs, and the shift from normal to hard difficulty seems a tiny bit steep for newcomers. I noticed slowdown on many of the songs, although it’s hard to notice the more minuscule slowdowns in comparison to the really big dips. I would frequently see the notes visibly lag and skip a bit, as if catching up, and some of the more extravagant animations cause entire scenes to drop framerate considerably.

Having the notes themselves experience consistent latency can not only throw off players’ timing, but make them try to compensate, which throws the rest of the song off if the framerate manages to catch up.

This is probably related to the girls on the screen performing some of the more insane animations, in which knives and food fly everywhere, and it’s unfortunate that it happens. Everything else in the game is pretty excellent, most especially the dressing room (complete with cooking animations—oh the possibilities!).

Some of the most memorable moments in the game are definitely the bits of dialogue, and the introspective monologues that come from some of the girls. Most people who aren’t familiar with the Senran Kagura series will say it’s nothing but dick jokes and boobs flopping everywhere, but there is definitely something for everyone here. Who can turn down listening to Asuka shoving a giant futomaki roll down Ikaruga’s throat, while telling her how much she likes it?

Overall, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! is certainly an enjoyable experience, although I wish that more polish had been put into the game. If you’re looking for a definitive music/rhythm game on Playstation Vita, you can find that elsewhere. However, this spin-off from the Senran Kagura series has a lot of content and will keep you returning to it for quite some time—especially if you want that coveted platinum trophy, which easily takes 20+ hours to obtain.

Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! was reviewed using a code purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

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The Verdict: 8

The Good:

  • It’s more Senran Kagura goodness. What more can you ask for?
  • Fun, catchy tunes and colorful, almost overwhelming visuals.
  • Hilarious dialogue that is almost, if not a parody of itself.

The Bad:

  • Framerate issues. Nothing game-breaking, but certainly annoying and hampers gameplay.
  • Over half the cast is locked behind DLC, although the base game is half what regular PS Vita games cost.
  • Medium difficulty is a joke, while the jump to hard could possibly leave some casual players non-plussed.
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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

  1. patyos
    February 11, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Now im Hungry

  2. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    February 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I wanted to apologize to anyone waiting for this for awhile – as you all know I’m consistently overwhelmed lately with the site and everything else.

    I promise we’ll strive to make our reviews more timely, moving forward.

  3. KR_Badonkadonk
    February 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    You’re doing great

  4. Firion Hope
    Firion Hope
    February 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I still need to get this. Need to do everything in Shinovi Still.

  5. sanic
    February 12, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Eh with the issues with xseed I except more time needed for anything from them.

  6. Tromboner
    February 12, 2015 at 1:58 am

    I’ve got this game, and while I enjoyed it a lot, it’s pretty disappointing as a rhythm game, even when compared against the other scant offerings on the Vita. I can really only recommend it to fans of the series, personally, not to general rhythm game fans.

  7. ReaperX30
    February 12, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Got the game a while ago but haven’t played it yet so it’s good to see that my purchase was justified.

  8. Mr0303
    February 12, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I agree that the song difficultly is quite unbalanced between the girls. Daidouji’s and Rin’s are a pain in the arse.

    Maybe I’m not used to playing rhythm games, but I physically can not play it more than 2 hours. My hands get tired and I start missing notes. Still need to get the 15+ combo for the Platinum.

  9. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    February 12, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Yeah I think I kind of lean more towards that sort of notion as well.

  10. Michael Richardson
    Michael Richardson
    February 12, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Considering the circumstances, I’m impressed you’re reviewing XSeed games at all.

    I just happened to download this game a few hours before the review was uploaded yesterday. It was an amusing coincidence, to say the least.

  11. Ninezero
    February 12, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I definitely enjoyed it but the problem is the lack of songs, although as you mentioned before the price is accesible in some way.

  12. Nonscpo
    February 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Yeah Im in the same position too :(

  13. MusouTensei
    February 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I wish we would get the full thing on retail like they did in japan, I only have 4 gigs.

  14. CDan
    February 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

    That is way easier to do on Yomi’s song (or was it Yumi? the bean sprouts one), normal difficulty.

  15. Mr0303
    February 13, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I completely mastered Miyabi’s song (from the DLC) thinking it is long enough, but it is a few notes shorter than Yomi’s, which I have to learn now.

  16. DariusQ
    February 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Like the concept but not the DLC milking. This game more so than some others is not deep enough to sell incomplete like this.