Super Neptunia RPG Review – The Pudding Returns

    Title: Super Neptunia RPG
    Developer: Artisan Studios
    Release Date: June 20, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Idea Factory International
    Genre: JRPG

The time has finally come, a new spin-off title of the famous Neptunia series has arrived titled Super Neptunia RPG, but strangely, this time it’s being developed by the western team Artisan Studios. Although the Neptunia series already has so many entries that one might get confused and maybe not remember all of them, I am always grateful for more screentime of Neptunia and her friends. Super Neptunia RPG manages to retain much of the core comedic tone of the series, along with its lovely characters.

While it is not required to have played any of the Neptunia games before starting Super Neptunia RPG, I would still strongly suggest having played at least the first game Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 as someone who is new to this series might likely not understand the humor. That being said, Super Neptunia RPG is probably a great spin-off for fans of the Neptunia series who are just craving more. However, newcomers to the series might feel a little lost.

Super Neptunia RPG as Neptune wakes up in a strange 2D world without any prior memories besides her name and decides to be the story’s protagonist. Getting a little bit strayed from the right path, she follows the first people she meets after getting back her consciousness. After finding her way around this new world she runs into Chrome, a girl who gifts her a book named Histore.

Neptune ends up joining a group called the organization who is fighting against Chrome and other resistance members. However, after the altercation with Chrome, it’s clear that the organization is in fact, the bad guys in this story. While Histore is usually capable of talking, yet no one can understand her in her current state. She communicates with Neptune by glowing such as when she meets an ally and so Neptune begins her search to get her memories back. On her adventures, she meets Noir, Blanc, and Vert who also lost their memories and join her adventure.

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As someone who already played a few games of the Neptunia series, I could already guess what to expect of Super Neptunia RPG, yet I couldn’t help but laugh throughout the game because of its references and hilarious dialogue. In the game, Neptune is still the cute, confused, pudding loving girl we already know. Which left me surprised that after all these years, I never managed to grow tired of her along with her friends. It’s important to say, that like the prior games, Super Neptunia RPG is a light-hearted game and is by no means supposed to be serious.

When it comes to the story, it’s very cliché, you know, Neptune and her friends are the heroes fighting the bad guys while trying to save the world. Aside from the main quest, it is possible to accept side quests and help out innocent residents or simply ignore them. The game incentivizes side quests by dishing out a good amount of XP after delivering specific items, finding people, or defeating certain enemies. They often feel more like simple chores in order to level up while completing the main story.

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The combat style is quite unique, there are normal attacks which exhaust an action gauge that fills up throughout the battle. When hitting the enemy before getting into the combat you will gain 2 action points to start the fight, while surprise battles will do the same for the enemy. While fighting, the break bar gets filled up which will allow the player to use the special break attack. Additionally, you can rotate the party which will change the formation type depending on the leading member. There are four different formations which are strike, magic, support and heal.

Super Neptunia RPG works with different element attacks which will have different effects depending on the weakness of enemies or party members. Each enemy has different weaknesses, but they can also be resistant or absorb another sort of element attack. While I found this feature nostalgic, I didn’t like that the mechanic forced me to do some unconventional things to get through some sections of the game. Such as when I had to avoid a certain type of enemy at times since I only had party members whose attacks were absorbed by the enemy and had no chance of winning. Additionally, it is possible to use items for damaging enemies, but they need to be found or purchased. On a side note, items basically get thrown at the player and I never had to worry about running out of health packs in the field. Equipment, such as armor, weapons, or accessories have their own abilities you can level up and unlock through the game by having them equipped.

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Something that really annoyed me was the directions in Super Neptunia RPG. While the game itself is quite linear and certain paths are blocked until you are allowed to progress after a certain point of the story is passed. There are also areas that you’ll need to visit multiple times. Carefully reading quests and instructions is important in this game, as it’s the only way to really know what to do next. Although the task is displayed in the upper right corner, it is often vague and I was left roaming around the map for hours not really sure how to progress. One good thing about the world map is that you can warp between all save points you interact with, which does make things easier.

The artwork and animations are stunning in Super Neptunia RPG despite being a 2D game, plus the backgrounds are especially beautiful. The only issue I encountered was that I never knew what I could jump on. While it is not a big deal, I often had to try out the limit since I stubbornly refused to go on until I made sure it is absolutely impossible to jump on a certain object. There are different themes of areas available, such as forest, snow, volcanic, etc which gives the game a nice variety of different environments to explore.

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Super Neptunia RPG turned out to be a little different than previous games in the series. However, it still managed to be consistently entertaining thanks to the writing and nicely executed English voice over. The game’s quality stems from the animations and beautiful hand-drawn environments but is held back by a few unfair battle mechanics.

I feel like Super Neptunia RPG is a game every Neptunia fan will find adorably nostalgic. Sure, there is a clear lack of direction and side missions can become tedious, but in all honesty, I still can’t get enough of Neptunia, the Goddesses, and the pudding.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Lynn Caramella

an enthusiastic writer, who spends her free-time with rather uninteresting and boring things, while absolutely being in love with cute and girly stuff.