Title: Kawaii Deathu Desu
Developer: Pippin Games
Release Date: April 16, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Genre: Rhythm Action
Sometimes simple is more. As seen with games like One Finger Death Punch, a simple mechanic can go along way with a game’s success. Now, developer Pippin Games takes that same idea and simplifies it even more with the addition of cute anime girls in their release Kawaii Deathu Desu. Now on Switch, players can get arthritis on-the-go as they fend off crazed fans and capture their souls.
Kawaii Deathu Desu has a plot that doesn’t really matter. All you need to know is that each of the cute idol girls playable in the game are actually supernatural demon-like creatures who are collecting souls to see who takes the throne as the leader. After a few hours of gameplay, you’ll probably forget the game even has a story since it seems to only exist as a reason for the girls to be on a stage.
Each character plays more or less the same with the general idea being to attack crazed fans before they can touch you. This requires that you press either the Left or Right shoulder buttons to attack in the corresponding direction. See how simple is that? Well, things become more complicated in the later levels, and the challenge increases significantly during additional modes, which are unlocked during each stage.
Enemies have their own life bar and running speed, and some even have unique skills triggered after they are attacked. It definitely mixes up your strategy, but in the end, you’re really only judged on how fast you can mash the attack button in any direction. You see, you’ll slowly step in the direction you’re attacking, so, if you attack fast enough, you can simply go in one direction, clearing out enemies without the other side of enemies touching you.
The problem is that there isn’t any variety here. You’re merely using one attack animation to take out enemies, and it becomes tedious quick. After a certain amount of enemies are defeated, you can use a special attack unique to each character that wipes the screen of any foes trying to get close. It’s fun to see the different special attacks, but they each generally do the same thing.
Enemy patterns change throughout each level. Some enemies might run quicker than others or react in a specific way when attacked. This includes actions like warping behind you or dodging, which definitely keeps you on your toes in the later levels. It’s possible to get absolutely swarmed by enemies, and in the event that your finger gets tired, well, too bad, that’s probably game over.
Everything you do in Kawaii Deathu Desu adds to your soul count. Even if you die, the souls collected are saved. Collecting souls is probably the only reason you’ll be playing this game for more than a couple of hours. Players use souls to purchase new costumes and characters, but the most beneficial thing to use them on is character upgrades. Taking on a later level without leveling up your character will end in an early death, which makes this a requirement of the game.
However, everything costs a lot of souls to unlock. This is perhaps the developer’s way of keeping you playing, but after ten minutes, my hands began to hurt, and I asked myself, “Why, am I even doing this?” It’s possible to either unlock all of the stages with one character and then unlock other characters or spend time unlocking characters without really clearing the stages. What you do with your souls is up to you.
Kawaii Deathu Desu has some terrible UI that is often unclear and horrendous to navigate. The Switch version offers no way to remap the buttons or adjust any other accessibility options. Furthermore, the button scheme uses the B button as Select and the A button as Back, which hurt my fragile gamer mind that wanted so badly to be able to switch them around.
The best part about Kawaii Deathu Desu is the idol sprites, which are cute and well animated. The attacks in the game look fantastic and show the developers knack for pixel action. The music is also decent, and the level themes and enemies have a nice variety to them. I should also mention that even though there are really only two buttons, the actions are responsive to my presses, which made the soul collecting a little less tedious.
Everything in Kawaii Deathu Desu is hidden behind a repetitive mechanic that forces you to level up characters to progress. The lack of accessibility options for this console port is a considerable oversite and makes navigate any menu within the game a chore. Sure, the character sprites are cute, but that’s no reason to endure a cramping wrist for hours of clicking. You’ll more than likely break the shoulder buttons of your Joy-Con long before you unlock everything this game has to offer.
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