Review: Koihime Enbu (Steam)

You know, it’s not easy to find an actually bad fighting game; sure, Street Fighter V sticks out like a sore thumb due to its massive mismanagement and being left unfinished, but the common modern fighter always has a well-executed formula. Koihime Enbu joined the fighting game frenzy on Steam last month, but here I am, delivering a review for this site at long last. Better late than never, right?

Graphics

Yep, this game is incredibly flashy and fast-paced – Just how I like how my fighters! In fact, it’s pretty darn lush and vibrant, filled to the brim with detailed backgrounds and fluid anime-esque animation. However, as much as I adore this exquisitely clean look, I do wish there were options regarding graphics settings. The game can reach the ideal 60 frames per second framerate, but when I tried it on my computer in Full-Screen mode, the game suffered from slowdown. This was rectified when I resized the game window to something smaller, but I wish I didn’t have to do that.

Audio

Audibly, this game makes sure that you’re pumped up! It has a high-quality soundtrack that makes me think of the days of early PC games, where there’s an emphasis on making the OST as suited to a CD as possible. And of course, the sound effects make landing hits satisfying as always, and the voice clips for the game’s all-female cast can range from fittingly anime-like to a tad¬†unnerving.

Story

Probably the weakest aspect of the game, the premise is considerably by-the-numbers. There’s a fighting tournament going on, and the gals all want in on the prize. Sound familiar? To every fighting game fan ever, it probably does, although the game at least tries to keep character dialogue kind of entertaining, even if it is just text. Still, it would have been great if that premise was completely different, especially considering this game is a spin-off of a visual novel series. Even I feel like it’s been used too much.

Gameplay

But who needs story when this is a game about anime girls beating the crap out of each other? With fighting moves so appropriately over-the-top there isn’t really a need, Koihime Enbu does the genre justice with its ability to provide a fun and quickly paced brawler.

The controls are the kind that can provide beginners with something to work with, but indicate that the player should master the mechanics in order to, of course, be fairly rad at the game. It isn’t necessarily hard to figure out what buttons do what kinds of attacks, but the challenge is figuring out how to use them properly in any given situation during the battle in order to avoid getting wrecked.

I commend this because I certainly wouldn’t want to plow through a game super easily (although button-mashers can possibly have that sort of luck I guess?); I want to be able to learn its ways and conquer my opponents with attacks I knowingly used and I have no doubt that’s exactly what the game wants players to do as well. When you do figure out how to play more and more, you get progressively better and further appreciate the game’s design.

The game also has a reasonable amount of game modes to work with. There is an Arcade mode, where you work your way to the top fighting opponent after opponent, a Scenario mode where it’s kind of the same except with a story emphasis, and Online and Local multiplayer Vs. modes, which is ideal for any modern fighting game. The AI opponents aren’t as easy as I thought they would be, but the challenge is indeed fair. Besides, there is at least a difficulty setting to adjust in Arcade mode.

Verdict

It all adds up to a great addition in the Steam library, especially for fighting game fans out there. $39.99 is probably rather on the steep side of things, but if over a million people are willing to purchase a $59.99 unfinished mismanaged mess, I guess Koihime Enbu isn’t in too bad of a position anyway. Should you look past that price (and some minor things in-game), however, you’ll find yourself with a gem in all its Japanese glory.

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