Nitroplus Blasters: Heroines Infinite Duel is a 2D fighting game that mashes up 12 characters from across a variety of Nitroplus’s IPs. These IPs range from anime like Fate/Zero and School-Live to visual novels like Saya no Uta and Gekko no Carnevale. Most of these are either very niche or never been localized to the West so I’d imagine most people will only be familiar with a small handful of characters on offer here. Unfortunately there are no descriptions of the character other than their name and what IP they are from so you’ll go away knowing as little about them as you started. Along with the 12 playable characters you will be able to choose from 20 unique support characters to unleash a special attack at your call. Even knowing nothing about these characters it is fun to discover their odd fighting styles and moves as they are all very unique.
One character fights by throwing cats, another is a little girl wielding a giant hammer and one is a mannequin maid that fights by summoning silver daggers. They are so outlandish that they will instantly become memorable once you have fought them. You have a couple of modes to choose from like Story mode, Score attack, Versus and Network play. Story mode is basically your typical arcade style set up where you will face 9 enemies leading up to the boss itself, all the while an extremely uninteresting story is being told from time to time. Score attack is story mode without the story and uploads your score on a leader-board to compete against other players. Versus lets you fight against CPU or friend at any locale of your choosing while network allows you to fight players online but is completely dead so I was unable to test it. There is also a training mode if you want to practice your moves. There is nothing that really sets it apart from other fighting games but what is here gets the job done and is more than passable.
Story mode is mostly the same regardless of which of the 12 characters you choose minus a bit of text here and there specific to your character as well as a rather underwhelming ending for each of them. The final boss is quite fun to fight and causes tons of damage if she manages to hit you. She possesses the most punch-able face you are likely to ever see and speaks in nothing but “philosophical” nonsense giving you more than enough reason to want to take her down. After you do beat her that is when the true horror begins. Once you beat her a new mode unlocks called “Another Story” that takes place after the evens of the unmemorable story mode. Another Story is on a whole other level of boring and nonsensical. It is basically a really terrible visual novel inside of a fighting game that features 10 chapters and one fight for each of them. You also have the option to turn off the fighting completely to play it exactly as a visual novel.
It sounds all well and good but the story is just absurdly boring and told far too seriously for how cheesy it is. There was only one character I knew in Another Story called Saya and they completely changed everything about her to the point of merely looking like the character in Saya no Uta. Kind of misses the point of having her there if one could simply change her sprite and she becomes an unrecognizable character even to the biggest of fans of that title. I can’t tell how the other characters portrayed here from their respective IPs since I am not familiar with them. Character interactions are intensely boring as is the overall plot itself. They could have really done something here to introduce the characters or just offer a tongue in cheek plot instead of the dull, all too serious murder mystery in Arkham City. You unlock nothing from completing this mode so it is thankfully avoidable if you are not an achievement hunter. As mentioned there are 12 playable characters but there are two others hidden behind a lock sign icon. One may naturally assume they can be unlocked somehow but that is not the case here. They are both paid DLC and it is very annoying having them in the character selection screen.
Each character has a metric ton of different color pallets to choose from which is a nice inclusion. All the bad up until now other than the ham fisted DLC has been about the story and most of us could care less about that in a fighting game. Thankfully as soon as you get into the actual gameplay it is pretty fun and fast paced. It is a pick up and play type of game where the flashy screen filling moves that annihilate a large portion of health bar are very easy to pull off. The controls are very simple with L1 and L2 being used to call in help from one of two of your support characters, R2 being used to activate an Infinite Blast and the rest of the buttons being weak, medium or heavy attacks where just button mashing will let you pull off their special moves. There is nothing more complex than a quarter circle and pressing any attack button to fire off a move so this would be a perfect party game for those not really familiar with fighting games.
While easy to pick up and pull off moves an experienced player could still dominate as the game is deeper than it may seem. An Infinite Burst can be used once per match that lets you break free of a combo and refills your health and energy for some time. There are three energy bars at the bottom of the screen that let you pull off different effects depending how much of it you are willing to use. Using one bar allows you to pull off a stronger version of a special attack, using two allows you to pull off a flashy combo if your first attack connects and using all three will trigger a super move that will destroy most of your enemies health if it connects. So a new player could break out of a combo with an Infinite Burst and catch you with a super move or you could easily block his super move leaving his energy drained. It is a game where the experienced player still has the advantage but newer players still have a fighting chance or at the very least makes it feel more like a fight than a beat down like many other fighting games. Characters themselves are very different from one another as they have different speeds, fighting styles and crazy moves making it a pleasure to try each one out.
Saber is a close ranged combatant, Saya is more about controlling the field with fleshy landmines and Anna is a long ranged knife flinging character. While there are only 12 characters it is very interesting to see how one character handles another and with this game having double jumping & sprinting it looks awesome as characters are tossed around the place and feels like something straight out of an anime action scene. Graphically it looks alright and looking at screenshots of the PS3 version I can’t really spot a difference to this PS4 version. There is no slowdown whatsoever no matter how crazy the fights guess which really helps the fast paced flow of the game. At first I was not a fan of the support characters as they are pretty overpowered and hard to avoid but once I realized this was more of a casual type of fighting game I didn’t mind it as much since it gives those less experienced a way to fight back. You can’t use them immediately however, you’ll need to fight enough for them to be ready to attack before having to worry about them. Unlike the playable characters the 20 support characters are not well balanced.
Some are flat out useless and will harm/heal both you and your opponent while others are clearly superior and will help a lot during battle. Them being hard to avoid is forgivable but what is not is some of them having short cutscenes before they show up which completely breaks the flow of the game and gets irritating the more the other player uses them. A minor gripe is that characters will say something before a fight and these are not translated so if you don’t speak Japanese then you are out of luck. The environments themselves are pretty forgettable and uninspired. I’ve played the game only a few hours ago and I can’t recall any stage. The soundtrack is great and will get you pumped for any battle. Overall this is a pretty average fighting game with a terrible story. While it does have many flaws the combat itself is tons of fun and even if I don’t know the majority of the characters that doesn’t make it any less interesting to learn their unique styles of fighting. Another minor thing I would like to mention is that it comes with a manual which is a rarity these days and something I can’t help but appreciate. Nitroplus Blasters: Heroines Infinite Duel will not replace your go to fighting game nor will it do anything out of the ordinary but it is still a title well worth having for the sheer fun of it, especially if you are familiar with the work of Nitroplus.