Japanese developers Examu - known for the Arcana Heart series - are at it once again, bringing another female-centric fighting game to PlayStation
consoles with the simply worded Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel - just rolls right off the tongue. But how does their
latest title stack up in an ever increasing, cramped genre of fighting games?
In fact Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a sequel, the original - which wasn’t developed by Examu and only released on PC -
was titled Nitro+ Royale: Heroines Duel and much like its now predecessor, aimed to bring to life - in all their 2D combat glory - the various visual novel
characters that Nitroplus are known for in their home of Japan.
Sadly I am not a fan of manga or anime nor do I know any of the over 30 characters contained within Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel,
but I am a fighting game fan and thankfully Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a fairly competent fighter in that regards, sadly the
same cannot be said for its story.
“The Dark has been swallowed by the darkness and space returned to nothing”. Such quotable lines are a frequent product of the shallow story you’ll be
presented within Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel, as you battle to stop evil forces from taking over by overcoming 7 individual
duels and finally destroying the one ring - wait thats Lord Of The Rings, nevermind.
Playing as one of 12 characters - with my personal favourite, the Nitroplus mascot Sonico, using her 5 adorable cats as weapons - you’ll face off
against multiple opponents on your journey to save the world and face one of the toughest battles - literally - within a fighting game in a while, as you duel
against the brutally difficult Al Azif Ex Mortis - who has seemingly be named by picking random words from a Thesaurus. Complete your mission and you unlock
Another Story mode, for even more non-sensical plot.
Not to worry though, you’ll have some help in completing your task as Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel employs a dual-support
character mechanic - which are obviously also all female - with 20 different assist characters to choose from.
Thankfully much like Marvel vs Capcom the game gives you a handy tip, for those like me that are unsure which of the characters suits whom best. Whilst you
don’t have any direct control within battle of these characters, much like the aforementioned title, they can help increase your combo chain or even start one
with some powerful attacks.
At it’s core Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a fast-paced, beautiful 2D fighter in the vein of Blazblue - though not quite as
indepth. The combat is very simple to pick up, using a four button system (Square, Triangle, Circle and Cross) for weak, medium, strong and heavy attacks
respectively, along with a guard/evade - called an Escape Action - that if timed right whilst guarding pulls off ‘Vanishing Guard’ - think along the lines of
focus attacks in Street Fighter - a special move that allows you to counter the enemy to deliver punishment of your own.
Likewise all of the attacks and special moves within Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel make use of the tried and tested
quarter-circle motions fighting-game players have grown accustomed to; whether its Super Moves or the Lethal Blaze attacks combined with the
support system, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel succeeds in creating a charming fighter that dishes out big flashy combos - making
30-40 hit combo’s fairly easy for the novice player to grasp - to fill those all important meters.
Practically every fighting game released these days includes some kind of meter gauge mechanic - for that all important meta-game - and
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is no different.
The game features a gauge that fills up through both dishing out and receiving damage, that once complete increases a number beside it that are used for
the previously mentioned Super Moves (which use up 1 bar), Lethal Blaze attacks (which drains 3) or the beginner-friendly
Variable Rushes (that use up 2 bars) allowing you to pull off flashy combos without the dexterity and move memorisation normally required - button
So all things considered Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel is a fairly competent fighter, with some beautiful animations on the
characters themselves, but unfortunately that is in stark contrast to the background scenery, which are purely static imagery creating a jarring and a puzzling choice
that really feels like developers Examu have missed a beat.
Thankfully besides the anemic Arcade (story) mode, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel also offers online play against other
fighting-game fanatics around the world - or those who are just interested in these characters, if so prepare to get creamed - a Training mode for testing out
the various characters, a Gallery mode featuring various artworks you will unlock and my personal favourite the Score Attack mode which allows you to fight to
your hearts content, uploading your scores online.
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel packs a lot of charm within its friendly yet nuanced fighting-game mechanics that beginners should
have no trouble picking up, but it’s definitely a title that fans of Nitroplus - or the anime/manga these characters appear in - will get more out of,
with the interactions between characters and thin plot completely lost on me.
Most of all, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel aims to be fast-paced and fun, wholly succeeding in that aspect along with its distinct roster of
characters that will be right up the alley for most fans of the fighting-game genre.
Review copy provided by the publisher for the PlayStation 4.