PlayStation 4
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Game Info:

Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel
Developed By: Examu, Nitroplus, Marvelous Inc.
Published By: Marvelous USA/XSEED Games
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Available On: PS4, PS3
ESRB Rating: Teen for Animated Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence 
Genre: Fighting
Mode: Single Player, Two player local or online
MSRP: $39.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you XSEED Games for sending us this game to review!

Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a distant sequel to the PC only Nitro+ Royale: Heroines Duel.  Quite simply, this game is a 2D fighting mashup between somewhat obscure visual novel characters, as well as a few other characters associated with Nitroplus.  It was first released last year as an arcade game in Japan, and came to home consoles several months later.  

Instead of the typical fare of fighting games, men and women with massive muscles to spare, we have an assortment of only females (no boys or men are ever shown on screen) varying from ideally curved women to young girls, with a few in modest clothing.  Each character must also choose two assist fighters, which can have a remarkable effect on battle.  There are fourteen main characters, of which two are only available via DLC.  I was unable to test those two fighters.

The action is similar in many respects to other side by side fighting games, where there are two players, each with a health bar.  When the bar reaches zero, that player loses.  Whoever wins the best two out of three wins the match.  There are normal attacks, special moves, and Lethal Blazes, which are similar to ultra combo attacks in say Street Fighter.

Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel
Highlights:

Strong Points: Solid fighting mechanics with nice looking characters and animations; assist characters can make a big difference in battle
Weak Points: Lackluster localization; few character choices; two characters are only available as DLC (but shown locked in the interface)
Moral Warnings: Arcade style violence; words 'b*stard' and 'sh*t' used; one character blocks attacks with a symbol that appears to be a pentagram; vampires alluded to, with necromancers present; and a fair amount of cleavage and other exposed body parts, including bottoms and panty shots; breast bouncing is animated; one girl fighter suggests that she likes other girls; a female necromancer asked a female automaton to have sex with her; other scenes include one girl wearing just a blanket; negative view of clergy

You attack each other with punches, kicks, fireballs, katanas, guns, magic spells,  cats, globs of meaty flesh, or whatever else your chosen character has available as a weapon.  Each one plays quite differently from each other, and are all enjoyable in their own way.  Honestly, the fighting system itself is pretty solid and fun to play.  It does a good job of balancing complexity with accessibility.

There are four attack buttons, one dodge/block button, and a few combo buttons for quick access to things like assists.  With common attack actions using things like quarter circle, half circle, forward/down/forward, and charge back/forth and down/up, the attack movements should seem pretty natural to any Street Fighter veterans, except for the slightly different attack buttons.  Like many other fighting games, winning battles is all about attack openers, combos, avoiding damage, and taking advantage of any openings or mistakes to punish your opponent.

Each assist character does one quick action, then retreats, with the potential to be called again after a cooldown.  Some are more powerful than others, and some also have longer cooldowns.  There is quite a bit of strategy available here, just around choosing assist characters.  They can really make a big difference in battle, and are really fun to use.

Technically, there is a story to Nitro+ Blasterz.  It has something to do with Necronomicons and necromancers and such… but honestly it's pretty much like every other fighting game – an excuse to beat people up.  There is a rather simple story mode which is little more than a typical fighting game ladder, and an 'another story' mode, which attempts to fuse a visual novel type story with a fighting game.  It does a passable job at best.

Honestly, the localization is not all that great, and the story wasn't all that interesting or well told either.  The before and after battle banter isn't subtitled, so we have no idea what they are saying, since it's all in Japanese.  Much of the text between battles is either very silly and understandable or full of mumbo jumbo and harder to follow.  Perhaps it requires more familiarity with the source material to make sense.

Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 65%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 6/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Certain parts of the 'another story' are a fairly dark.  You are investigating a murder, and eventually a necromancer is found to be involved.  There are references to rather dark magics, and in one case, a girl robot is basically forced to have sex with a female (well, currently female) necromancer.  Nothing is shown, but it's a bit disturbing, as this robot apparently is close enough to being human to not like the experience.  Also, one of the girls seems to be attracted to other girls.

Other content to consider is obviously the violence, and occasional blood.  One of the girl's attacks appear to be of some kind of meaty flesh.  I found it to be a bit disturbing at first.  Several characters wear very little clothing.  Most of the main fighters are somewhat restrained, with mostly cleavage, and the occasional panty shot.  The assist characters sometimes show much more, enough to make my daughter uncomfortable when she saw them.  (She was otherwise interested in a fighting game with anime girls in it.)  I noticed the word 'b*stard' used, and the ESRB noted 'sh*t' used in the dialog of the game.  One character says 'clergy should be stamping out the bud of evil but instead are trampling innocents'.

Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a competent fighting game with characters that I have not heard of before.  Despite that, I enjoyed what I was able to play before being poignantly reminded of why I don't play too many fighting games these days – my 'getting older' wrist and thumb pain kicks into high gear when pounding buttons like this.  I also found the appropriateness issues regrettable.  But if you decide to look past them, and are looking for something a bit different out of a fighting game than the typical options, you could do a lot worse than Nitro+ Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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