By Steve Baltimore / October 30th, 2020
|Publisher||XSEED Games / Marvelous|
|Release Date||October 21st, 2020|
|Genre||Beat ’em up|
|Platform||Steam / PC|
UPPERS is a beat ’em up title from Kenichiro Takaki, the creator of the Senran Kagura franchise. It originally released on PlayStation Vita and this port was announced a couple of years back. A lot of us wondered if this would ever see the light of day, and thankfully it did. The game is out now, and I’ve had chance to play through it. Let’s see if this one is as sexy and fun as Senran Kagura!
The story takes place on Last Resort Island. This place is consumed with desire, and men with great power can amass great wealth and more. Two hungry young men, Ranma and Michiru, arrive on the island with great ambitions. They not only want to be the strongest, but loved by all ladies as well! This will not be an easy task, as there are many other fighters here looking to make a name for themselves as well.
While the story of UPPERS plays out pretty much like you would expect it to, that doesn’t make it bad. All the characters here are way over the top and exactly what you would expect to find in an anime about delinquents brawling. The Support Queens have some really interesting personalities and their missions are pretty out there as well. This one may not have the depth or emotion of some games out there, but it sure is entertaining.
Graphically, this one looks really good for, what used to be, a Vita title. The upscaling has been nicely done, and all the character models look great. The girls are nicely detailed and there are many different types of panties for your viewing pleasure. The stages are nicely done as well. They range from the city streets to the local high school. I mean, we cannot have an anime style fighter without a brawl in the school! It’s an anime staple! I reviewed this on my PC that has a Ryzen 5 2600 and a 2060KO and everything ran at a buttery smooth 60 FPS. I ran the game in 1440p, but it can run in resolutions of up to 4K.
UPPERS‘ soundtrack is very upbeat and will get your heart pumping with excitement for battle. It seems like any game Takaki has a hand in ends up with amazing music. I found myself nodding along with these tracks as I pummeled baddies into oblivion several times. The Deluxe Edition comes with the full OST, and I would say it’s worth the extra coin. The game is voiced in Japanese and the voice actors do a fantastic job bringing out the personality of each character.
Gameplay here is a pretty straightforward affair. Jump into each stage, pummel all who oppose you and move on to the next stage. While UPPERS does suffer from being repetitive, something that 99% of all beat ’em ups do, the combat and other mechanics mix things up enough to keep the experience feeling fresh. First, there are tons of different ways to interact with the environment to inflict major pain on your foes. These come in from poles to swing on, objects to hurl at them, dunking foes into basketball goals and much more. As you beat down all of your foes, you will gain access to a powered up mode called a Rise Up. In this mode, your attacks will do more damage and ultra powerful combos can be executed. Players will have to input a single button command to start these combos, and thankfully you can set your input prompts to either PlayStation symbols, Xbox or even keyboard letters.
Since the boys are out to impress the ladies of the island, it is very important they complete their requests during each fight as well. These will range from doing special attacks to taunting without taking damage. Completing these will net you various bonuses and, most importantly, love letters from the ladies. These girls become viewable in your journal back in your room. Sometimes while obtaining the letter, the boys will be smacked by an enemy into the waiting bosom of their Support Queen. If you lose all your health during a mission, you will be thrust on top of your Queen with your face landing in her crotch. This gives you an instant Rise Up and half of your health back. This will only work once. If you lose all your health again, she will just slap you away the next time and the mission will fail. Queens also provide various perks in battle depending on which girl you have by your side. These range from more powerful counters to reducing damage from attacks. They will start off with just one perk, but more will unlock as build affection with them, and you will unlock some special scenes with them as well.
While UPPERS isn’t a super long game, you can get more mileage out of it depending on how much of it you want to complete. If you just want to unlock all the characters and get the basic story, it will take about 6 to 8 hours. Collecting all of the love letters and maxing out all the Queens’ affection to view their scenes and missions will add probably another 4 to 5 hours of gameplay. My only real issue is that extra characters are mostly only usable in replays of story missions. It makes sense they did it this way because of the story, but they could’ve felt much more useful.
At the end of the day, UPPERS is a solid beat ’em up with a ton of Kenichiro Takaki style fanservice. It’s over the top and bombastic in all the best ways possible, and fans of his previous works will love this. You should buy this ASAP, you will have a ton of fun. Folks that like beat ’em ups in general should check this one out as well. While it doesn’t turn the genre on its head, there are plenty of solid mechanics here for those players to enjoy as well. There is enough content here for fans of beat ’em ups and fan service games to make it a worthy purchase at the $29.99 price tag. All of the DLC included here as well, and it’s great to see Daidōji-senpai back in action.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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