Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad doesn’t think very highly of you. It believes that all it need do is show you some plastic-looking tits, some very bloody violence and flashy bright things and it can lull your sub-evolved reptile brain into some kind of alpha-wave state that you mistake for being entertained. Now, I am not so pretentious as to say that the combination of tits, violence and bright things couldn’t be a winner in the right hands (Hell, DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball managed to be a halfway playable game with only two out of three), but the right hands were not the hands responsible for creating Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (or, as I like to call it, OBSS, because that kind of looks like a very dumb person tried and failed to write ‘BOOBS’, which is a pretty accurate representation of the game). In fact, OBSS manages to fail when it comes to delivering each of its key elements.
The tits in OBSS are upsetting on a few different levels. First, they look fake. Not boob-job fake, mind you, but water-balloons-stapled-to-a-mannequin fake. This image is exacerbated by the girls’ inhumanly shiny skin and (other than said water balloons) extraordinarily stiff animation. Second, they are occasionally attached to an even-for-a-Japanese-game uncomfortably obviously underage mannequin. The youngest member of the BSS (Suki, or Saki or something) comes dressed in a lascivious school girl outfit which, as will all members of the BSS, can be immediately removed, leaving the poor thing to battle Hell’s undead army in nothing but her underwear (for the record, I left her clothes on. Her older companions weren’t so lucky, but we’ll get to them in a second). The team is rounded out by older sister Aya who, I swear to god, dresses exactly like a Sunset Boulevard stripper and Anna, who claims to be a cop (I guess she might be working vice as a hooker who specializes in cop fetishes (a clever ruse indeed)), but is not wearing a regulation police uniform. Not that any of that matters, since the first thing each of these ladies did was strip down to their underwear at my behest (actually, Aya was wearing what looked to be a ‘Hooters’ T-Shirt with no pants, but that was initially the only custom clothing I had unlocked. More on that later as well).
Third and most importantly, they squirt blood from their eyes and mouth. Let me repeat that. Hell, let me repeat it in italics. They squirt blood from their eyes and mouth. As you mow down legions of helpless undead, your character gets covered in blood and a little red blood meter over their portrait fills up. As it fills, streams of grue pour from their every orifice. In fact, the whole game has kind of an obsession with blood and menstrual imagery which would imply that the creators might have a few issues with women if every other aspect of the game didn’t already spell out ‘I HAVE ISSUES WITH WOMEN’ in forty-two point impact font.
So, to review: Unless the image of an almost nude twelve year old plastic girl gushing blood from her eyes does it for you, the tits are terrible. If the image of an almost nude twelve year old plastic girl gushing blood from her eyes does do it for you, please email me at email@example.com for more great game tips.
Zombies, as a rule, are stupid. That is probably one of the reasons they show up in video games so often. Not given to complex combat tactics or deep dialogue trees, you can pretty much program a zombie to move toward the player, then attack and viola! Perfectly realized zombie. The Zombies in OBSS aren’t even that bright. For the most part, they sort of mill around like confused turkey, waiting for you to thresh your way through them like some kind of skanky tractor on its way to a Girls Gone Wild shoot. Occasionally, one of them will have a chainsaw or be (inexplicably) on fire, but that doesn’t seem to change their ‘stand around and wait to be bisected’ tactic. They also crawl out of the ground, sometimes while on fire and in at least one case, while on the second floor of a two story building. Believe me, seeing a horde of zombies up-heave mounds of brown earth to emerge, flaming, from the carpeted floor above a hospital lobby is the kind of thing that can short-circuit the logic center in a person’s brain and cause some sort of stroke. I find the possibility of a stroke pretty scary so, in that regard (Marketing quote in 3,2,1…) Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad is the scariest game of the year – Aaron Roxby, Collider.com.
When I did, occasionally, find myself in mortal peril, it was my own competency that proved my worst enemy. As I mentioned earlier, as you kill zombies, your blood meter fills up. When it reaches the top you go into a creepy blood-lust mode that allows you to do extra damage while, you health ticks steadily away. I’d died three times from this, before I realized that I had to eat these statue heads that I had been unwittingly collecting (yeah, I don’t know either).
I will give OBSS one concession: There sure is a lot of bright-colored shit going on. From the girls’ garish outfits, to the literal fountains of too-red-to-be-real blood to flashing combo meters and combination slutty-club-mix/butt-rock-guitar soundtrack, staring at the screen long enough can drop your mind into a kind of peaceful, infantile state. You know how so many serial killers are described as being “a quiet guy, kept to himself, very polite”? I kind of feel like this is what is going on in their heads.. Their passive, petting-zoo-animal expression hiding an endless loop of bleeding teenagers hacking corpses to pieces and eating yellow orbs that serve no obvious purpose, like a nubile, menstruating Pac-Man.
The game does feature a dress-up mode, where you can play creepy Richard Gere to your avatar’s blood-stained Julia Roberts, but you don’t receive new items with nearly enough frequency to make it anything more than a minor distraction, which is a pity. If you received new bikinis and baby-tees with the frequency of say, new armor in Diablo, they might have had an unwittingly engrossing dungeon crawl on their hands.
I can kind of understand the desire to pick up Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, but resist the temptation. Its not like it’s the only game out there to feature scantily clad women, monster, or blood. Not by a long shot.
If You are a Normal Person: C minus
If you are a Creepy Potential Serial Killer: B- (but please don’t play it)