I have been more than a little slow in getting around to playing this, bear with me as this is the first Senran Kagura game I've ever played (and it has convinced me to play the others in fact), I bought this on a whim off of the PS store the other day and was surprised when I got around to playing it.
I initially thought that the game would be one that I dropped fairly quickly once the appeal of the fan service wore off similar to my experience with Monster Monpiece, I quickly found myself addicted to this game though.
Best girl in my humble opinion
I was fully prepared for a rhythm game experience akin to Project Diva, oh how wrong I was!
While arguably far simpler than Project Diva as it does not have anything akin to technical zones or chance times it offers it's own challenges, least of all are the two hit bars at the bottom of the screen with alternating notes. While this is a relatively basic mechanic it actually threw me through a loop on more than one occasion and I pride myself on my skill at rhythm games.
Another thing I loved was this game's story mode, each girl has their own unique and oftentimes funny story, Haruka and Homura's stories are my personal favorites out of all the girls. The stories themselves consist of a short exposition piece at the start which explains their reasons for entering the cook off followed by a series of battles, some of which have a cut scene proceeding them and then an epilogue at the end followed by a closing cg. All in all a very simple affair but highly entertaining and the game itself is incredibly fun.
Playing this game also makes me very hungry
Now onto the meat of the game, the battles themselves, as mentioned above the battles take place with two beat bars which alternate combos of button presses while sometimes asking for you to hold or mash the buttons displayed, while this is going on you see the girls cooking at the top of the screen.
With each successive hit in your combo you build up power which you can unleash as a 'ninja art' which boosts your score and stacks as you hit more notes, however this effect ends if you slip up once which led to many frustrated shouts as I lost streaks of 10+ as one of my thumbs just grazed a button instead of hitting it directly.
Second best girl with ninja arts active
The battles are divided up into three parts which consist of two smaller meals separated by judgements and then a final 'super dish' with a final judgement, with each victory in the earlier rounds leading to some of your opponent's clothing being torn off.
In the final round a heart will appear if you won both previous rounds which will lead to a closeup of your opponent in her underwear, and will also lead to her being stripped completely naked at the battle's end, on top of that you will also view a special scene where they will be placed onto a dessert once you have cleared the results screen.
The game itself is deceptively challenging, I had real difficulty clearing arcade on normal mode once I reached the final battle against Daidoji, it is really unforgiving of you making a mistake, a few missed notes can lead to the bar plummeting to your detriment very quickly, this for me is a huge tick in the plus column as I love a game to challenge me.
I sometimes wake up at night screaming remembering this woman
If you're not feeling up for actually playing the game you can play around in the dressing room putting your favorite kunoichi into any of the many cute outfits you've earned and once you've cleared their story mode you can view their 'special' scenes. The game also makes use of the Vita's touch pad allowing you to move the girl's breasts and slap their bottoms to elicit a number of different reactions from the girls ranging from embarrassment to sounds of arousal, while this may cause a certain demographic to get offended and up in arms, I found it to be a nice little extra.
You can also check out the gallery of images and music you have gathered, the music itself is from the various stages in the game, only a few of which have vocals to them, these tracks seem to be reserved for the major characters of the game and not for the subordinates, however all the tracks are catchy and very 'boppable'.
Now we reach the point where I tell you my gripes with the game, which are few in number to be sure but still frustrating none the less.
By far my largest issue is with the fact that about half of the playable characters are locked out unless you buy the DLC or already have the DLC for Shinovi versus so that fact left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, especially as I couldn't play as Daidoji, the woman who caused me so much suffering in the arcade mode.
My other far smaller gripe is with the judgement scenes themselves, watching them the first time is quite funny and I enjoy it enormously, however repeat viewings can be tedious as they are quite drawn out. This however is averted as they do give you the option of skipping these scenes by pressing circle.
Living the dream
All in all Senran Kagura Bon Appetit is a thoroughly enjoyable game and I found it to be a nice introduction to the characters and world of Senran Kagura, it's game play is solid, the character designs and personalities are distinctive, the story is fun, essentially if you don't own this game already I would recommend you give it a try.
I give it 7/10, not the best game in the world but good if you have some spare time and cash.
TL;DR version - Would r8
(Please note that this is an impartial review of a copy of Senran Kagura Bon Appetit bought with my own funds, no shilling here. All images sourced from the Googles)