Back in February 2016, XSEED Games released Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel on the PS4 and PS3. We noted at the time that it was a fighting game that experience and casual fighting game fans would both enjoy, even if it may fly under the radar of some more experience players due to the release of the granddaddy Street Fighter V that same month. So with its port to the PC platform, does it change its favors at all?
If you’ve read through some of my prior fighting game reviews, you may recognize the developer of Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel. Developer Examu was responsible for previous fighting games such as Arcana Heart 3, which in my review I thought had a good mix of mechanics that catered both to beginners and experienced players alike. So how does Nitroplus Blasterz fare?
If you played last year’s Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, the initial outset of this title may feel somewhat familiar. Like that game, Nitroplus Blasterz takes characters from properties company Nitro+ either owns or has worked on in the past and pits them together in one-on-one brawls. The difference here is that unlike Dengeki Bunko, most westerners will find it hard to recognize most of the characters, outside of Nitro+ mascot Sonico or the ever-popular Saber from Fate/Zero, as most of the other characters are from more obscure visual novels.
In terms of controls, you have five main buttons that control your actions. Four of them are relegated to attacks, with the fifth assigned to an evasion move. The genre staple ability to throw an opponent is activated by a two-button combo. Pretty standard stuff, but the game also includes some additional extras such as a burst mechanic called “Infinite Blast” that lets you interrupt enemy combos. Unlike Arcana Heart 3, though, while you occasionally go into the air for some attacks and combos you generally stay on the ground most of the time in this game.
And for you more advanced players out there, there’s a “Variable Rush” mechanic which locks you into a combo which requires a series of button presses to pull it off, but if you do so successfully you’ll deal a ton of damage in the process. So it’s a nice risk-reward mechanic for those feeling brave enough to take the risk of opening themselves up while doing so. But if that sounds too technical for you, especially for newcomers, there’s also a “Lethal Blaze” mechanic that uses up all of your meter in exchange for triggering a super-powerful move accompanied alongside some nicely detailed character art.
Similar to Dengeki Bunko, there’s also an assist mechanic at play in Nitroplus Blasterz. You select two assist characters before battle, with the game indicating which two characters it suggests are the best pair-up for your current character. Some of them activate basic attacks that are useful when dealing combos, while others are more of the effect variety to create stage hazards and the like.
As far as the game modes go, it’s your essential standard fare. There’s your basic story mode, which unlocks the “Another Story” mode upon its completion. That mode has more of an in-depth story, but the narrative might be a bit too thick to follow properly unless you’re a hardcore fan of the series its referring to. Outside of that, there’s survival, training, offline and and online versus modes available.
The major issue I noticed after release, and in the months following, is that the online community is generally dead for the most part. Depending on what time of the day you are playing, usually the evening and the weekend from what I’ve noticed, you’ll get more games than usual, but overall there’s a lot less games than some other fighting games out there. Perhaps things might pick up more after a Steam sale or two, but as of right now unless the single player modes are your thing or there’s a competitive local scene available, there isn’t much else for you here.
Outside of the included bundled DLC that was paid in the console versions, there isn’t much of a difference here outside of getting a PC port of the game. So if you don’t have a PS4 or a PS3 and want to play this game and don’t care about the limited online community, by all means pick up the game now. But for everyone else, you might be better off waiting for more players to join in later on down the road.