The image on the cover of the game says it all really, a scantily clad woman brandishing two swords, just waiting to carve up the zombies contained within the game. Whilst on many other sites you’ll find that Onechanbara is taking a rather critical panning, I’m going to look at the game a slightly different way and review it accordingly.
Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad is driven by a nonsensical story that centres on Aya and Saki – the ‘Samurai Squad’ of the title who have Baneful Blood. This blood allowed them to be excellent assassins and general all round bad-asses, before settling down for a more quiet life. However, Saki sees a zombie outbreak on TV which starts the quest of the game. So far, so very anime. Nonetheless, the story provides the backdrop to the action, so let’s move on to that.
It’s surprising that the game has been marked down on numerous sites for not having that much to it. Granted, perhaps the elements feel a little disparate but each character has a range of attacks for taking on the undead. This includes a kick, a slash (which when pressed in the right rhythm becomes a combo), a sword clean (otherwise your sword gets stuck in zombie gore), a ranged attack or a grab and different weapons.
In mid-combat, a lot of the time you’ll be able to tag in another character. This makes for an extra added element – especially if one of the characters has a high blood meter. They can then go into rampage mode (not that this is actually documented particularly well in the manual). The action in the game tends to be frenetic, quick, bloody and at times hilarious – especially when there’s just a pair of legs left!
Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad isn’t the greatest looking game out there. The character models are ok, the cut sequences are quite nice but suffer from screen tearing (how does this happen in a game like this?!) and some of the levels are quite bland. However, it somehow suits the look and feel of the game.
The regular breathing of the girls in the game is very reminiscent of just about every anime you’ve seen, whilst the sword sounds and other effects are well conceived. The soundtrack is quite good too, being very Japanese.
Girls, Gore and Swords
Sex sells, so you have to wonder if that’s the target that the developers were aiming at, as well as throwing in zombies, sword slicing and the ability to dress up your character as you see fit. It is actually extremely reminiscent of DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball.
The reason being, in that there was a game with not that much depth to the main concept but other things going on besides and that’s exactly how Onechanbara feels. There’s almost an element of the game feeling unfinished but then you get dragged off on another element, such as winning a new costume or ‘legs’ (you can change the appearance of any of the three characters in the game).
As I alluded to in the introduction, it’s hard to review Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad as I would another game – not least because it was released as a budget title. It knows it can’t compete with the likes of Resident Evil 5 – but trust me, it isn’t aiming to. What we have then is a fun game, one which is instantly accessible and is definitely very old school.
If you don’t mind fighting through swathes of zombie hordes and taking on old style bosses in a retro manner, then I’d say you should look this game up. Don’t buy it expecting the ‘next big thing’ or too much depth and you simply won’t go wrong. It’s not a game that will last you forever, but you’ll definitely have fun upgrading the characters, altering their costumes and slicing up hundreds of zombies.