Game Review #267: Panty Party (Nintendo Switch)
Developed By: HorngYeuan Digital Published By: COSEN Category: Action, Arcade Release Date: 04.25.19 Price (At Time of Review): $14.99 (digital) | $29.99 (physical, regular) | $49.99 (physical, LE).
Buy Panty Party from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Whenever a game comes across my plate for reviewing, the most important thing I try to keep in mind is that I’m not better than any game. Every game represents months and years of people’s lives and effort; I don’t want to dump on that just for the heck of it. Some games stretch that ideal to the breaking point, though. Case in point; Panty Party for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a game where you turn into panties and fight other panties to stop an evil pair of panties from turning everyone in the world into panties. The game is entirely devoted to panties, and it has one big problem; if you don’t find panties inherently funny, this game has literally nothing else to offer.
Panzi, the evil panty, is going to turn the whole world into panties! A Warrior of Love must rise to oppose him! Yurika, a young girl who misses the train to school, has the uncanny ability to hear panties. She proves that it’s possible to love all panties equally – by not being enthusiastic about any particular pair of panties! She becomes the Warrior of Love by turning into a special kind of panty and shooting lasers and tossing boomerangs! She will defeat Panzi and save the world – even though she’s not all the way sure she wants anything to do with this whole affair.
Much to its credit, Panty Party doesn’t take itself seriously in any way. Yurika herself seems extremely aware of how dumb everything happening to her is - which is fine, I guess. It’s the lone solid premise in a game that otherwise doesn’t satisfy in any way on a narrative level. There aren’t really any puns or clever writing to elevate the subject matter past just saying “Look! Panties!” I mean, I get it. There are panties everywhere. Some of them are bears with Gurren Lagann sunglasses (OK, just one is). But that’s it. The game promises a dumb sense of humor, which is fine; I laugh at dumb things all the time. Dumb jokes are funny; but Panty Party doesn’t really attempt to make any jokes. It just expects the fact that there are panties everywhere to carry it. I give it credit for not going the hentai route – seriously, there really aren’t any sexual or pervy jokes in the game, which is kind of amazing – but that doesn’t make up for how underwhelming the game’s sense of humor is.
Less Party, More Punchy
There are three different game modes that all integrate the same basic gameplay. Story mode tells Yurika’s story, Arcade mode presents you with a challenge to beat, and Multiplayer mode allows up to four players to face off (local only). The gameplay itself is fairly standard action game stuff. You can move around with the left stick, and run by pressing it. The right stick controls the camera and your aim. You can dash left or right by holding the L or R button. The B button is for jumping, and the other three buttons have one of your three different weapons assigned. One is always melee, one is a ranged attack, and one is a special attack like a beam or grenade. You can unlock a bunch of different panty skins, and each one has a different special.
The gameplay is not especially compelling, but it is competently constructed. The controls are responsive and fairly intuitive, but the attack animations and their effects lack a certain punch that I prefer from my action games. Maybe it’s because everything is little panties, but nothing in the game seems to have any weight, which takes a lot of the tension out of the action. The difficulty is fairly balanced; or at least the boss fights are sufficiently harder than other fights. Hitting the goals to unlock a new pair of panties gets progressively harder, so there is some incentive to get better at dodging and recognizing attack patterns in order to get a higher score or finish a level faster.
I See London, I see France…
Panty Party’s 3D graphics are decent; they’re in the upper echelon of what you would expect from an indie studio. It’s a game with a bright, cheery color palette that is pleasant to look at. The graphics do a better job of conveying the sense of lighthearted fun that the game tries to cultivate than its story. The visual novel-style cutscenes feature sharp drawings… but they’re mostly drawings of panties. The in-game graphics (the 3D part) aren’t quite as sharp, but they’re perfectly presentable. I have no idea how sentient panties move, so flapping around like birds seems like a fine choice for their movement animation. The music is similarly bright and cheery, with an upbeat, sugary J-Pop theme song that gets obnoxiously stuck in your head for a little while.
…I See a Game About Underpants
In case you weren’t aware, you have to really, really like panties to like this game. I realize the game makes no attempt to hide what it is and what it’s about, but the game’s uninspired writing, story, and competent-but-mediocre action just make the whole thing seem silly, but in an embarrassing way more than a fun way. I guess to its credit it doesn’t go the easy route and make tons of pervy or sexual jokes, but it doesn’t really make any jokes, either. It’s just a bizarre game about loving the concept of women’s underwear. If you want to look at panties – and only panties – I guess this is the game you’ve been waiting for. Everyone else should pass.
Buy Panty Party from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
*Review Code Provided by COSEN