Quick question. Does the idea of anime girl versions of video game consoles, starring in a turn based strategy game, with generous helpings of 4th wall breaking jokes about video games and anime sound appealing to you?
If you answered ‘Hell Yes!’ then this is the game that has come to answer your otaku prayers. However if your answer ranged anywhere from ‘maybe’ to ‘huh?’ then you might want to take a few minutes to read the rest of the review and see if this is something that might just tickle your fancy.
Hyperdevotion is a spinoff the Hyperdimension Neptunia game series. The main series revolves around four goddesses each representing a different video game console (PS3, XB360, Wii & Sega Neptune). The four goddesses are at war with one another in order to control their world in what is known as the ‘Console Wars’. Hyperdevotion takes place in a sort of pocket universe where right before the goddess Noire (our PS3 goddess) is about to conquer all of the world, she is tricked into throwing the whole thing into chaos and now must set things right. Of course all the other goddesses join in to help along the way.
To be perfectly honest the story is by far the weakest part of Hyperdevotion. It’s all very light and fluffy and although there are plenty of humorous moments along the way it never deviates from where you know it’s going from the get go. That being said I never really expected a deep engrossing tale to begin with but a little more effort to throw in at least a few surprises would have really helped. Especially since some of the dialogue segments can last quite a while.
But where Hyperdevotion fails in storytelling it does attempt to make up for in quirky video game humor. There are plenty of small nods to pretty much every other major RPG franchise out there. These nods can take the form of enemies that ‘totally look like that one monster from that one game’ or to even more obvious bits of dialogue.
Perhaps the aspect I enjoyed most came in the form of the side characters. Every side character that joins your team in Hyperdevotion is a parody of another character from a different game (in cute anime girl form of course). There’s just something about seeing a chibi female version of Snake from Metal Gear teaming up with a chibi Chun-Li that just makes me smile.
Which brings us to the next important aspect of Hyperdevotion: the gameplay. Between each story segment players use the characters they have befriended to fend off monsters or to face off against potential new allies in turn based strategy fashion. However, if you’re looking for some hardcore tactical SRPG action then you would be best served by looking elsewhere.
The turn based strategy portion of the game is much like the rest of the game: light and fluffy. However this does not mean that it is not enjoyable. This is due to a few fun mechanics that the game employs. The most important being the LP / Special move system. Essentially it boils down to using your special moves while being adjacent to as many allies as possible. This results in ‘boosted’ attacks and accumulation of LP. The boost comes in the form of cheek kisses from fellow teammates, which honestly how else would you want to boosted? The LP (Lily Points) can then be used to unleash characters’ ultimate attacks which can also be boosted in similar fashion. So the core strategy becomes positioning your characters in order to chain these powerful attacks and wipe out your enemies quickly.
The battles are generally pretty easy but they can be challenging at times when the game throws in a few quirks to the battlefield. These come in various forms including: crates that need to be stacked to reach certain areas, moving floor panels or electrified walls. Once you get down the right tactic for each level it usually becomes a cakewalk but on more than one occasion I found myself retrying a battle after being defeated for rushing into a fight.
Hyperdevotion also throws in a few extras to help keep you occupied beyond the main story line. There are numerous side battles which reward you with items and experience. Also there is a light crafting system to create new weapons and armor. And if you’re so inclined there’s a sort of mini-game available where you can use points you’ve received from buying items to furnish Noire’s room and read mail requests from her fans/followers and advise her on how to respond. None of it is overly deep but there’s still plenty there to suck up a good amount of your time.
Although I enjoyed my time with Hyperdevotion I couldn’t help but feel somewhat empty afterwards. I had fun greeting each new video game parody character to my team but the lack of any sort of real story left each encounter feeling hollow. I felt no real drive to continue the story because I could already guess how it was going to end almost as soon as I started it. And even though the battles were enjoyable there was nothing particularly memorable about any single experience. I think the best metaphor I can give is that Hyperdevotion is a lot like cotton candy. It’s sweet and fluffy and enjoyable for what it is but it disappears as fast as it’s consumed. So if you’re looking for a sweet and fluffy anime girl filled SRPG, then Hyperdevotion is well worth a try. Just don’t expect anything too satisfying.