Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni originally released for the PS Vita back in 2016 and has now been ported to the PC via Steam and released on the 20th of June, 2017, published by Marvelous, and developed by Honey Parade Games and Meteorise. It’s best described as a combo-based fighter with anime stylings, with a copious amount of fan service, and erotic mini games and character customization that might be more at home on Newgrounds. After playing it, I can say that none of those things, nor the combination of them, was my cup of tea, but the experience wasn’t all bad – even though I don’t like admitting it.
Having played other recent Vita ports released on Steam, I have to say that this game isn’t the worst, but it does have its fair share of issues. The controls are sloppy, but they work just fine once you get used to them. The levels and backgrounds aren’t the nicest either, but that’s most likely because more focus was spent on the characters – the draw of the game. The entire cast is female, and fully voiced with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Each girl has their own backstory, but has come to the man-made island the game is set on because they all have a certain rare disease, which is only controlled by doing battle with each other.
The story of the game isn’t exactly stellar, but as it’s not the focus of the game, that wouldn’t normally be a huge detriment, except that the game is dialogue heavy. Between story missions, you have to sit and listen to the characters talk, and honestly, a lot of the conversations seem to me to be extra padding. I often caught myself quickly skimming the subtitles as they appeared and hitting the skip button just to get through it faster. If the game had less filler dialogue, you could get into the action a bit quicker. Or if they made the levels a bit longer, and let the dialogue play as you start playing, that could have worked also. The over abundance of worthless dialogue does nothing for the game’s story.
Story missions are all mostly the same, a linear level, some with hidden collectibles, with several trash mob fights followed by a boss at the end. Some levels are just boss fights, and there’s lots of dialogue spread out as you play along. The levels are 3D with poor camera controls that remind me of the early 3D games on the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, which makes for a rather dizzying experience, except for one part of one level where the game randomly switches to a side scroller for a hallway. Besides being disorientating, game play and combat remained the same besides the more restricted movement. This single hallway was perhaps the best part of the game for me, as far as the levels are concerned. Combat, which remained more or less the same, was much better, and I was no longer fighting the camera or target lock.
Overall, despite the critical flaws I’ve brought up, I have to say that the game is fine. I’m not the target audience (I swear) and the things that that audience wants a focus on are focused on plenty, here. If you like fan service heavy anime and games, this is a game made for you, and you’ll probably enjoy it. Combat is acceptable, the controls are acceptable, so the game parts of the game are there for you. I guess I can say that the music was dredged up from some dark hole, no matter what target audience you’re a part of, but that’s easily fixed by looking up the One Punch Man theme song on YouTube. Simply put, just by looking at the cover you will know if this game is for you.
A copy of Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni was provided to Link-Cable by the publisher for the purpose of this review.