Overview – developed by ZOO Corporation and published by Eastasiasoft, Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! is a puzzle game inspired by the lewd Qix games that were popular in Japan during the 90’s. play through 50 stages to uncover the cute anime girls hidden below the silhouette on screen, using power-ups and strategy to clear each challenge. This title is available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, links to both versions of the game will be at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. There is no real story in this title so I will be going straight into the gameplay section.
Gameplay – this title is a throwback to puzzle games from the 90’s where you try to uncover images hidden behind a silhouette. The objective of each stage is to draw lines across the screen, creating segments to uncover the image that is hidden below while avoiding the enemies that try to defeat you, enemies can be defeated by capturing them in the lines drawn. The minimum requirement to clear each stage is 75% of the image uncovered by the player, which may seem easy at the start but gets increasingly tougher as levels are cleared.
The challenges of this game are simple to pick up but difficult to master. In the first few stages you could reach the clear condition easily with only a couple lines, which will get a little tougher as new enemies will be introduced in subsequent levels. You will encounter simple enemies that rebound of the walls of the stage in the early game, with enemy patterns getting more complex as the game progresses. Any contact with an enemy or their attacks will kill the player instantly when drawing lines so great care must be taken.
When playing the stages players can collect power-ups to assist them in clearing segments better. There are 3 different items that can be obtained, a speed up that lets you move faster across the screen, a timer that freezes enemies for a short time and a shield that provides limited invincibility. The power-up items can be very useful in the more difficult levels, helping players to get past the challenging enemies that will appear later on.
There is a total of 50 stages to complete, separated into five batches of 10 stages each with a number of stars attributed to them to designate their level of difficulty. When starting the game the final ten stages are locked off, meaning the rest of the available levels must be cleared to unlock the last batch of challenges providing an incentive to continue playing. When the levels are cleared, the image that is uncovered will be added to the gallery on the main menu.
You can select one of two difficulty options in the settings, easy and challenge. The differences between the two are significant and alter the way that the game is played for the whole experience. Challenge is the recommended setting and gives you the option to earn big points, testing your skills to get onto the worldwide leaderboards. The easy setting removes some enemies from the stages, provides extra lives and removes the score entirely, providing a more relaxed option for players who want to take their time.
Both difficulty options provide an experience for players that fit their play style and approach to puzzle games, as well as being a good way to practice if you are having troubles with a specific enemy type. Now with the gameplay covered to an extent that I am happy with, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.
Controls – the control method for this release is very simple, using only one button to speed up movement around boundaries and the left side of the controller for movement. The game is playable with the thumbstick but feels a little sloppy, but the d-pad/direction buttons work really well when playing the game. It is comfortable with all controller styles, however the best way to experience this title is with an arcade/fight stick to get that 90’s nostalgia vibe.
Presentation – visually this title has a very simple look to it as there is very little going on, but the portrait art used for the girls you uncover is beautiful. The variety of character types, poses and themes are pleasing while also providing an incentive to play all stages. The soundtrack is crafted very well, with compositions that each fit the stage they are on as the tempo of the tracks gradually increases with the difficulty.
The overall presentation is perfect in both handheld and docked play with the switch, making for a fun experience both on the go and on the big screen. There are no framerate issues or problems with the performance, so I am confident in saying that this title would work well on the Nintendo Switch Lite system even with the reduced screen size.
Final Thoughts – overall, Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic is a fun throwback to a genre of puzzle games that was considered forgotten long ago. The stages increase in difficulty at a steady pace, introducing enemies in a natural way that isn’t too tough for players to get used to. I just wish that the score system and leaderboards were in easy mode, to encourage competitive play for those who may struggle with the tougher difficulty.
The anime style art is pleasing to look at and I would love to see more from the developers in the future. I can happily recommend this game to everyone, it’s worth a purchase at the modest price being asked and the online leaderboard connectivity is a great addition. This is another hit from the publisher Eastasiasoft, adding to their streak of great indie titles on the Nintendo Switch.
In the end, I give Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic! a final score of 4.5/5. This title is a fun throwback to the Qix puzzle games of the 90’s that were considered a relic of the past, providing an engaging and fun experience for puzzle fans. The inclusion of leaderboards adds to the arcade vibe, providing a challenge for players to see if they take the number 1 spot as the best player in the world. If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to both versions of the game will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation 4 version (HERE)