Less than one month after the amazing Shinovi Versus, we got a new Senran Kagura title for the PlayStation Vita, this time an appropriately titled Bon Appetit! This title is a spin-off featuring everyone’s favorite girls, this time in aprons ready to battle in a cooking contest.
Hanzo the founder of the Hanzo Academy decided to start a cooking contest, putting up as a prize a ninja scroll that is said to grant any wish. But behind all this seem to lie his lecherous intentions, wanting to “see” more of the girls. After the setup, the plot takes a back seat in Bon Appétit. The story mode here is akin to Shinobi Girl’s Heart mode in Shinovi Versus, which is a small series of absurd events for each of the girls, more often than not littered with sexual innuendo.
Girls battle it one against another in a cooking showdown. After each round Hanzo has a taste and makes a decision on the winner, stripping the loser’s clothes.
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit plays like your typical rhythmic simulator. You have two lines at the bottom of the screen. Prompts appear from the right and once they reach the end you must press the corresponding button, which follows the beats of the music. Aside from pressing buttons there will also be times when you need to hold them down for a duration of time, or press them repeatedly multiple times to chop down food.
You have quite a generous amount of leeway in which you can hit the button, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging. Players can select between easy, medium and hard. The hard mode introduces two new buttons on screen so this is only for the hardcore players.
All battles have 3 rounds, where only the third one is important for winning. The first two rounds serve as a way to slowly get heated up. Why should you play the first two rounds instead of purposefully losing, you may ask? The losing girl in each round has her clothes striped off. Do well enough in the first two rounds and you will be given a special “dessert” if you win, your opponent naked on a plate of dessert.
The game somehow manages to be even more perverted than its predecessor. While I didn’t have much issue with playing Shinovi Versus on a bus, Bon Appétit made me genuinely uncomfortable to the extent I needed to turn off my Vita and wait until I go somewhere more private. Having a butt naked girl covered with chocolate and cream was just a bit too much for even me to take.
Despite its enjoying gameplay and great presentation it’s a shame that the game feels a bit barebones at times. It lets you choose from three different modes, Story, Arcade and Free. Unfortunately all these play exactly the same. Story mode has some sprinkled dialog here and there, arcade mode has the exact same battles without a story, while Free Mode lets you pick against who you want to battle. There is also no multiplayer to speak of, but instead just a scoreboard where you can compare your results with other players around the globe. This is even more pronounced since Shinovi Versus was literally jam packed with content, featuring a full-fledged story mode, side missions and even online play.
You can still customize your girls. However instead of buying items from the shop you unlock new clothes as you win battles. Like in Shinovi Versus you can try them out in the Dressing Room and even use the touch screen to “play” with your girls.
Since Bon Appétit was originally released as two games in Japan the retail version of the game features 10 characters, with the other 12 available as DLC. Homura Crimson Squad and the Hanzo group of girls are available in the base game where the Hebijo and Death Cram schools need to be bought as DLC.
Bon Appétit has the same character models as Shinovi Versus, which means they look amazing. The girls chop, grill and fan down their food all while you mash the buttons at the bottom of the screen. It seems as if the game is deliberately trying its best to seduce you away from the gameplay, as it shows all those juicy buns, while you are in the middle of a complicated chain. Hanzo’s reactions to the food are extremely entertaining to watch. The camera zooms in as he gulps down the food and has his imagination run wild from the tastes.
As for the music, each girl has one song. They are quite varied in style, but the best sounding songs are the ones with vocals.
Bon Appétit is a home cooked meal to the fans of the series. While it may be a very small bite it nevertheless is a tasty treat. If however you didn’t play the Shinovi Versus, I strongly suggest getting that game first before considering this one is a spin-off.
Yes, I know what you’ve all been waiting for, the “dessert”.
Don’t forget to submit a picture for the Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit Rude Food contest to win PSN credit and Senran Kagura figurines.