“Be sure to read the fine print before accepting the invitation to Criminal Girls: Invite Only on Steam”
- System: PC [Steam]
- Publisher: NIS America Inc.
- Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
- Release Date: January 12, 2017
- Genre: Strategy RPG
- Players: Single Player
- Official Website: http://nisamerica.com/games/criminal_girls/main.php
- Steam Website: http://store.steampowered.com/app/409850/
Who it Caters to
Those who are looking to try out a new strategy based RPG may also find the game to be intriguing, but perhaps its play style may not be suited for everyone. Be that as it may, Criminal Girls: Invite Only is a title that will entertain you with its sarcastic remarks, colorful personalities and fun mini-games in motivation mode. Originally debuting on the PlayStation Vita, the new steam release of the title will be a treat for anyone who missed out on the handheld version, with a few added bonus features.
What to Expect
Resting and saving will be something you’ll constantly have to do because there’s just so much happening and sometimes you’ll be so depleted of items that you’ll have no other choice. We only managed to die once in our entire playthrough, but it took a very long time since we spent most of it debating whether or not we should engage the enemy. Let us remind you that in spite of the characters being carefully drawn in a cutesy manner, Criminal Girls: Invite Only is a mature title due to its sexual themes during its motivation time, along with some strong language.
Launch Trailer [Vita Version]:
Introduction - Is this place safe?
The gameplay aspect is turn based and so you’ll need to pick and choose how to approach each enemy as you encounter them over time. The unique aspect of the battle system, however, is that the girls attack differently based on their desire in battle. There are also times when a girl won’t even participate in a battle, so then you’ll need to come up with other solutions to claim victory.
For example, Kisaragi can attack solo or with another member of the team based on the order you give them, which results in a different outcome but at random she may not want to engage at all. Each character has their own distinctive play style which you’ll have to figure out as you play because unfortunately, the game doesn’t really provide you with a character breakdown. We’ll provide you with a quick overview of the starting cast to give you a little heads up as you go forward. Whoever you’ll encounter later in the game, we’ll leave that up to you to play through and discover what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Alice - The Magic User
As you progress further in the game, you’ll be able to unlock more attacks that can be used in battle. Like any magic user, you’ll need to ensure she makes good use of her spells at the right moment because wasting your MP on weak creatures will amount to nothing, and as we stated earlier this game is far from easy.
Sako - The Formidable Boxer
Depending on her desire she can unleash a wicked punch that can take off a huge chunk of the enemy health, which can be beneficial especially when you can attack shortly after with another character. Once chain attacks are learned, this is where Sako truly becomes a beast.
Kisaragi - The Courageous Sword Wielder
Ran - The Fearless Leader
Motivation Time! mini-game
Each girl has an evil sin and good desire and they’re depicted by the colored creatures that you’ll need to click on to win. Red refers to evil while blue refers to purity, and so the more you progress through each mini-game, the creatures pop up more frequently and at different speeds. You’ll also notice that within the mini-game there’s an image of the chosen girl in the background, but most her body is covered by a pink mist that you can get rid of once you correctly dispose of each creature. The faster you click, the more is revealed and to be honest it’s quite fun to see just how far you can get.
The first mini-game is the basic maintenance, where this unlocks the most basic upgrades for your character and you use a basic whip to get things started. Edgeplay takes things a step further by throwing more challenge into the mini-game by putting both red and blue creatures into the fray and allowing you to use an electric whip to really get a shock out of each girl. Slippery Slope gives you a bottle of mysterious liquid that you can pour on each girl’s body. Tickle Party provides you with a feather duster that you’ll use to tickle each girl and punish them with laughter. The game gives you a certain amount of tries along with a timer located right next to the icon, to inform you to hurry up and get on with it before it’s too late.
We honestly had a very fun time with Motivation Time! because it’s definitely not a mode that you’ll encounter most often in any RPG, and because it’s actually quite challenging to pull off it really does motivate you to play better so that you can fully upgrade your girls efficiently. Depending on where you touch the girls in the game, they’ll react differently such as their limbs moving or a sudden change in expression.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
The game just felt rigid at times and started to wear thin towards the end because it never really tried to step past its comfort zone. While the motivation aspect of the game was intriguing, we would’ve liked the option to pick through certain attacks to allow for more versatility, rather than being forced to learn a move the game tells us to. Things just felt a little bare boned in terms of the gameplay, and despite it having a very entertaining story, there could’ve been more implemented to really flesh things out.
Each floor came with its challenges which were great, and the RNG factor pertaining to enemy attack patterns was nice. You were never really sure how they’d approach the battle, and so you could never truly prepare yourself. That challenging element perhaps is the best selling point of this game because you’re always constantly thinking of new ways to make decisions, and using items effectively. Dialogue wise, we certainly enjoyed the Japanese voice acting along with the option to choose English or Japanese text. Some of the cheesy punchlines and weak one liners gave us a slight chuckle, but nothing that made us tear up and burst out.
Overall, Criminal Girls: Invite Only provides fans of the series with a lot to offer in terms of features and modes to choose from, but those who are totally new to the series and are just diving in for the first time might find the experience to be a little flat. With over 35 hours of gameplay, the title provides enough playtime to keep you busy but with all of the missteps along the way, will you be able to even complete it all? That, too, is challenging feat of its own.
- Fun and wacky mini-games.
- Japanese voicing and text were a nice addition.
- Challenging gameplay that encourages strategic thinking.
- Good amount of play time [35-50 hours]
- Cool new playable characters.
- Great features that turns your girls into Knights.
- The game can feel rigid at times, especially with animations.
- New players to the game may not enjoy the experience much.
- Lack of character breakdown within the game.
- Feels somewhat limited pertaining to the options we have in-game.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Let us know what you think about Criminal Girls: Invite Only when you buy your copy of the game, which is out now. Be sure to stay up to date with the latest buzz by following us on Twitter and our Facebook page!
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