Compile Hearts' Hyperdimension Neptunia series has had its fair share of stereotypes and innuendo-laden jokes in the past, but there's usually a balance between those segments and the actual narrative to stop it from being too much. As with most long-running game series, there is bound to be a spin-off or two. Enter Hyperdimension Neptunia PP --- an Idolmaster-like spin-off that has the Neptunia heroines performing as pop sensations.
Like most of the Neptunia games, it starts off with an amusing idea: a suspicious idol group named "MOB48" (a play on the real-life "AKB48" idol group in Japan) has usurped the CPU (Console Patron Unit) goddesses and taken away their "shares" (the people of the Gameindustri). To fight back, they have to become idols themselves and win back the love of the people of the Gameindustri. Your role in all this is to act as a producer for one of the 3 CPUs. Whatever one you choose is entirely up to you.
Although the game is mainly about the CPUs acting as pop idols, concert performances take a bit of a backseat role and the gameplay mainly focuses on your role as a "Producer". Your primary objective is to help train your selected idol before she performs in the concerts. "Working" increases your fanbase, "lessons" increase your stats, "relaxing" decreases your stress, "moving" lets you move between the different countries in Gameindustri, and finally the "concert" option for performing concerts. The idea is to keep your idol's stress down enough to perform successfully before the 180-day time limit has passed, with that being said though, it seems pretty hard to exceed this limit. In my experience it took about 3-4 hours to do so, a little less than half the limit.
The actual concerts are a bit lackluster, sadly. You only get to choose the stage, outfits/accessories and the camera movements during their performance. You're supposed to get more points for how you move the camera around, but in my experience moving the camera around wildly was a better option. The outfits don't even seem to be a factor in the score either, outside of the titillating factor you can get from them. All in all, this part of the game feels incredibly shallow and a bit lewd. There's also only five songs to choose from, so you'll end up playing through the same songs before long.
Even a large portion of the dialog in the game panders to this stereotype. Past Neptunia games had a decent balance between the stereotypes and the real meat of the storyline --- PP goes full-hog into the former. I lost count the number of times "Vert's rack" or the various harem jokes were brought up. It's like that hot springs scene from Victory repeated endlessly, growing tiring after the first couple times it is brought up. It's objectifying and condescending at the same time. It's sad that the game farmed the dialog out to the degree that it did because the rest of the non-lewd dialogue was well written.
To add insult to injury, there's even a viewer mode where you can use the Vita's touch controls to touch various parts of each idol's body, complete with sound effects upon doing so. You can even make one of the idol's your alarm clock if you wish. Some of the other parts of the game were a bit lewd at times, but this mode in particular takes the cake.
Although the series is not shy of throwing around a few dirty jokes here and there, Hyperdimension Neptunia PP is a very disappointing chapter in the series as it overuses these lewd comments and rude gameplay elements as its main punchline. The women feel more like objects to fondle than people, playing home an eerie real-world parallel. I'm not exactly sure what the game ended up producing in the end, but it wasn't good.
|The artwork and animation in the visual novel-like scenes are well drawn.|
|Outside of the lewd instances, the rest of the dialogue is well written.|
|People who enjoy the game's more controversial elements won't be disappointed.|
|The â€œViewerâ€ mode comes across as incredibly distasteful.|
|Once youâ€™ve seen the bulk of the content, repeating it over and over again becomes tedious.|
|Mechanics seem broken in terms of the scoring system.|