Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit (SKBA) is a rhythm cooking game that has been ported from the Playstation Vita version. I love the (SK) series, I mean who would not love a game series with busty ninja girls fighting each other while ripping their clothes off!? A game like this on paper sounds like a good idea. I mean a cooking game with a rhythm element meshed into it with wacky moments certainly seems appealing to me personally. However, this game is more of a hollow shell that promises us a good SK game but fails to do so.
Pros and Cons
-All of the characters have their own distinct stories
-Lots of cosmetics to put on the characters to make them look unique
-None of the stories felt that interesting to really complete
-The gameplay while fun at first, becomes very stale and repetitive
-For a rhythm game, there is a lacking tracklist with no standout songs
-There is not a lot of replay value to go back and play the stages
-There is no multiplayer in this game
-Some of the achievements are bugged
-The graphics and resolution are badly rendered in certain parts of the game
The very first annual cook-off competition is starting and the reward is a Secret Ninja Art Scroll. This scroll can grant anyone's wishes and will be held in the Hanzo Street Shopping District. This tournament is hosted by Hanzo the legendary ninja himself, and despite being a ninja, he has his own plans for how the tournament is to be handled, manly in his desires. The scroll also contains hidden truths that shine a light on some darkness and a veil of shocking conspiracies.
Each character will go through their own stories and will have a set amount of story segments attached to them. With that in mind, I can’t exactly go over the stories in detail as there are many of them to talk about. This does make each of the stories unique in their own right, as they have something different to them.
Even though each character offers an individual story from the other characters, the stories lack engagement and just feel shallow which discouraged me from completing all of them.
SKBA has three game modes for you to choose from, story mode, arcade mode, and free mode. Regardless of the mode chosen you will be put into cooking battles which will be a 1v1 to see who will win. You will have a set amount of button presses that you will need to time correctly to get points which will go into your score and this determines how the battles play out. There are three rounds to every mission and after each round, you can fill up half of the heart gauge. If you max out the heart gauge you will get a special heart note on round three. If you hit this note, you will see a special scene at the end of the mission. There also is a Ninja Star Icon that will give you more points once activated and you can get more points if used. If you miss a note you will lose your streak and have to build it back up similar to most rhythm games.
One thing I did appreciate was the large number of cosmetics that are available in the game, there is a lot to choose from. I enjoyed having the option to dress up the girls how I want them but I should note that they can clip through the character's body depending on their hairstyle.
Now the gameplay is fun and interesting at first as the rhythm elements are done very well but that feeling dulls rather quickly as the game feels very hollow. It becomes stale and repetitive as you play through the stages over and over again.
One of the striking low points for me was realizing that there are barely any songs. For a rhythm game, it’s lacking at a total of 31 songs with none being very good. Typical rhythm games have a large number of songs where you can at least find a good chunk that are really good to listen to.
To make matters worse, there is nothing really different about arcade and story mode. Story mode is just arcade mode with some added cutscenes included at the first, fourth, and fifth stage. Also, it does not matter if you win the first or second round, all of it depends on the third round of the mission, if you lose that round you will have to redo the entire mission from the start. It ruins the hard work put into the first two rounds due to missing a few notes in the last round.
Lastly, there is little to no replay value to be had in SKBA. It doesn't provide anything new or exciting to encourage playing the game again. They could have implemented a multiplayer option which would have helped to keep some life into the game after completing the story mode once, but this is something they did not do. Even if the online multiplayer was dead, having the ability to compete with friends could have breathed some life into this mostly dull experience.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics are not very impressive. I know it’s a port from the PS Vita but I just can’t help but notice the low resolution and some low-quality shots from the characters. The 2D sprites are a little choppy as well and feel odd to look at. The game does run well, and I experienced no issues while playing the game. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. As mentioned earlier in the review the soundtrack is disappointing.
SKBA is an interesting idea for a game. It fits with the wackiness of the SK series and looks fun on paper, but leaves a lot to be desired and has nothing really special going for it. If you plan on picking up this title, then I recommend you wait for a sale as it can be fun for a few hours, but don’t expect hours worth of content here. The one thing that SKBA has going for it is the wide selection of cosmetic items, but that’s not really going to make you want to keep playing the game as a whole.