Although we’ve reviewed similar games in the past, we had never tested a game by Japanese developer Examu before. Best known for their work on the Arcana Heart series of fighting games, Examu specializes in the beat ’em up genre – with games like BlazBlue and especially Dengeki Bunko looking similar in terms of style. Here’s our review of this new brawler for the PS3 and PS4.
Looking at Nitroplus Blasterz, it immediately feels similar to Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, which we reviewed last year. Much like that game, Nitroplus brings together a range of characters from other sources in a mash-up fighting game – and much like Dengeki Bunko, they will not be familiar to those who are new to the Nitroplus name. Not based on an animation series, Nitroplus Blasterz finds its roots in the visuals novels produced by Nitroplus – a series we weren’t familiar with, and it’s likely many of you aren’t either.
As a result, the majority of the roster here is new to the average gamer, even if you have an interest in other brawlers that were inspired by Japanese anime series. The most notable exceptions are character from the Arcana Heart and Senran Kagura series – both of which have appeared in several videogames before. The roster is an all-women cast, but in terms of character design the game is much more similar to Guilty Gear or BlazBlue than it is to Dead or Alive.
We played the game on both PS3 and PS4, and it felt most at home on Sony’s older platform. Having recently played new entries in the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series, we’ve seen better quality animation and background design on the PS4. For Nitroplus Blasterz, the PS3 release doesn’t feel like much of a downgrade at all – a compliment to the development team. No matter which version you play through – the action is explosive and colorful, mainly thanks to a crazy cast of ladies with very diverse sets of skills.
Adding even more flavor to the mix, a support (or partner) system gives you the option to unleash extra attacks and ‘special’ moves on your opponent. These range from things like shooting off a laser gun right down to bizarre events where a support character will enter the screen in order to start playing some music in the background. It’s crazy stuff like that which helps Nitroplus Blasterz set itself apart from more serious fighters like BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, adding a touch of ‘silly’ and ‘bizarre’ through its support characters.
The distinction between the more serious fighting games can also be seen in how the game controls – it’s fairly easy to start winning bouts just by mashing buttons, which makes it an accessible title for those who aren’t gamepad maestros. On the flip side, this does mean that Nitroplus Blasterz doesn’t offer the same kind of depth that you might crave for if you’re a true fighting game veteran.
There are a few game modes available, and all are instantly familiar. There’s an arcade-like score attack mode, an online mode, you can see bits of art that you’ve unlocked, and there’s a story mode. Once you complete that mode, another story option opens us – one that blends the fighting game experience with the visual novel roots of the source material. This could be exciting news to existing Nitroplus fans, but we weren’t particularly gripped by the story – it felt shallow, and not the introduction to the Nitroplus brand of visual novels that we were hoping for.
Nitroplus Blasterz, Heroines Infinite Duel is a more than competent fighting game, but doesn’t excel in any way. Its presentation is decent, the fighting system is fine – but it’ll have a hard time luring you away from Street Fighter V or the latest BlazBlue. However, besides competent, it’s also a game that dares to be different. It has a distinct flavor to its presentation and style, and because of that it’s easy to enjoy – even if you never laid eyes on the source material. If you’re looking to add a fighter to your collection that’s different, then Nitroplus Blasterz can definitely fill that gap for you.