I am not a prude. When it comes to matters of a sexual nature, I’m open-minded and generally unshakeable. Whilst I support the rights of the many, I’m not hideously offended by girls in bikinis showing up in videogames, nor do I get embroiled in blazing internet arguments about gender politics. I still have my limits though, and I came up against them during my time with Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit!
Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! takes the wanton and gratuitous ninja-gals of the Senran Kagura series and pits them against each other in a fast-paced, batshit-insane cooking competition in efforts to acquire a magical scroll that grants the winner any wish. This premise, I believe, has been used for the plot of every all-girl videogame tournament since the dawn of time. What all this deep dramatic storytelling boils down to is a fast-paced and surprisingly challenging rhythm action experience.
Once you have selected your waifu from the huge cast of colorful characters, the player makes their way through the cookery tournament, challenging each opponent in a battle to create their favorite three-course meal, with the culinary master being decided by a judge, the hysterically over-hyped Master Hanzo. The finest food purveyor moves on to the next round, the loser’s clothes fall off, or something. Cue jokes about sushi rolls looking like dicks, squirting cream onto breasts, etc.
Whilst many videogame players will be well-versed in rhythm-action mechanics by now, it must be said that Bon Appetit! really ups the ante. It doesn’t take too long before requiring incredibly fast reflexes and hand-to-eye coordination, whilst the game bombards you with images of boobs and torn panties as you beat your opponent into sushi-based submission. All this action is set to relentlessly cheerful and high-tempo music tracks which are sadly largely forgettable. The bright, colourful visuals and constantly upbeat tone of the game is a real assault on the senses, particularly during the judging sequences, leading one to wonder if someone didn’t drop a shitload of acid into their own secret sauce.
Great kitchen performances will reward your character with all sorts of outfits and accessories that can be equipped in the games extensive customisation mode, allowing you to dress up your unnervingly buoyant doll as you see fit, from classy to kinky. In fact, the game is packed with modes and features, including full stories for all the 22-strong roster and an abundance of unlockable art, music and voice sets. With this PC release also including all the DLC content, you most certainly get a lot of bang for your buck.
Bon Appetit!, like most releases in the Senran Kagura series, is morally dubious. Personally, I’m all for sexy gals, I enjoy cheesecake (no pun intended) photography and pin-up culture. I even think some of the girls here are cool, badass and amusing characters.
But I gotta call it how I see it. Seeing certain characters, who are clearly designed to look about eleven years old, lying about in various states of undress, covered in cream and crying whilst the camera leers over them isn’t “tongue-in-cheek” fun. It’s just fucking gross.
Personal ethics aside, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit! is basic but challenging fun. Being a port from the Playstation Vita, it obviously isn’t a particularly deep game and it’s unlikely to hold attention for very long. But it at has an extensive roster and a lot of fun things to do on your quest to be the chef with the biggest tits, or whatever the point of the competition was. The game will deliver everything SK fans care about, and provides enough of a challenge to encourage focused, intense gameplay. Bon Appetit! will no doubt lift fans’ spirits with its overwhelming sweetness, even if its underlying themes are, assuredly, tasteless.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Sugar and Spice and not always Nice
Senran Kagura - Bon Appetit! Full Course - 6/10
+ Huge roster of characters
+ Lots of unlockables
+ Surprising challenge
+ Veterans will love the fanservice
– Linear gameplay
– Music relatively forgettable
– Jokes wear thin fast