Pretty Girls Panic! PLUS – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Zoo Corporation and published by Eastasiasoft, Pretty Girls Panic Plus is the latest entry in their Qix styled, anime girl puzzle series. The silhouette that is covering each image must be uncovered to progress, while avoiding enemies and hazards that get in the way. This title is available on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4/5, with links to each version of the game being at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of pretty Girls Panic Plus used for this piece. The provision of this software has been not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Mature Content Warning: this title is rated mature, with sexual themes and partial nudity featured within. If this type of content is offensive to you or you are under the recommended age, please use your own discretion when proceeding further.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story segment as there is no plot for this title, so I will be moving directly onto discussing the gameplay.

Gameplay – Pretty Girls Panic Plus is a Qix style puzzle title, with the objective being to capture as territory on the field in order to uncover the image hidden below. Taking place over 40 stages with more than 20 girls, the player can select a partner from either Yu or Asahi. The partner will gain experience with each cleared stage and level them up, unlocking new outfits that can be equipped for them to wear during the game.

Before jumping into the action, the player must select a set of 10 stages with the first three options available from the start and a fourth unlocked for completing them all. Each round starts with the player on the edge of the board, moving outwards and drawing lines that connect to edges, capturing the image below. Capturing at least 80% of the play field will clear that stage, uncovering the image fully and moving on to the next stage.

During each stage enemies will spawn in at the beginning and move around the play field, taking a life if the player or an incomplete line makes contact with them or their attacks. The player is safe when they are on the edge of the field for the most part, but there are enemies that invade the safe zone. It must be noted, that enemies can be defeated by capturing them within areas that the player clears during play. However, enemies aren’t the only thing that can get in the way of uncovering the cute girls.

As the player progresses through the game, the player will encounter hazards and obstacles on screen that will have the potential to hinder the player in their task. There will be blocked off segments and panels that will have either a positive or negative effect when contact is made. The panels can speed the player up, slow them down and even kill them instantly, making for a very challenging experience as the panels can be difficult to navigate with enemies on screen.

Not only are there hazard panels on screen, but also power-ups that will appear randomly that provide various effects. The items include a speed boost, invincibility and even extra lives, but they don’t last very long so consideration of how effective they will be is important. When a set of stages is cleared, they will be made available to play in arcade mode which has the player play through all 10 stages with limited lives to try and set a high score.

As well as the arcade mode and dress up features, there is a gallery where the images of the girls that have been uncovered can be viewed and extra challenge features. First is the star system, where clearing a stage flawlessly on the challenge difficulty will give the player a star marker. While the star is a nice incentive on its own, there is also a leaderboard system that will submit the best scores reached for each level on challenge against the world. This adds a nice competitive edge to the gameplay.

There are a few downsides to this title unfortunately. Due to the size of the character sprites for the player there are some collision and visibility issues, with enemies and hazards clipping the edges of the sprites more often than not. The size of the sprite also causes visibility issues during tight sections, causing difficulty when trying to cut out precise segments of the field.

The last thing to discuss is the speed of character movement, which can kill the momentum of gameplay. There is one set speed for the player which feels like moving through mud, which also impacts the power-ups giving them little impact on the overall gameplay. There is a speed up function that allows the player to move across the edge of the field at a higher speed, but it doesn’t help make up for the slow movement in general.

Now with the gameplay covered, let’s move onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls are as simple as they come. The character sprite is moved with the left side of the controller, with no issues in regards to input lag when playing the game in all play modes. The game can be played quite comfortably with a variety of controller options. These include the standard Joy-Cons, pro controller and most appropriately for this release, arcade/fight sticks for an authentic experience.

Difficulty – there is a gradually escalating difficulty curve in this release, with new hazards and challenges introduced as the player progresses through the game. It is balanced quite well, with two difficulty settings that are tuned to give everyone a chance to play the game. There is a difference between the two modes however, as the easy mode removes the score feature and omits the online leaderboard feature which does feel like a punishment.

Presentation – the visual style of this release is pleasing to look at, with beautiful anime style art for the portraits and partner characters. The sprites used for this title are simple enough with a slight comedic edge to some of them, with nuts, snakes and even fire breathing mushrooms. There is a decent soundtrack featured in this title, with bright piano focused melodies and synth compositions that work very well. Japanese voice lines are also included, but It doesn’t really add much to the title.

Final Thoughts – this is a very simple puzzle title, which I did have a lot of fun playing for this review. It is fairly simple and a bare bones experience at its core, but it does offer a lot of replay value with the leveling system and online leaderboards. While there are some flaws to the game, I can still recommend this title as it packs a lot of content into a relatively inexpensive package. If you like the Qix style puzzle games, then it is worth the low cost on digital storefronts.

In the end, I give Pretty Girls Panic Plus a final score of 3.5/5. This is a fairly simple Qix style puzzler, with a lot of pretty anime style girls, plenty of challenging stages to take on and an online leaderboard to challenge the world. For a budget release, there is more than enough content for players to justify a purchase of this title. If you want to check this title out for yourself, links to the game will be below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation version (HERE)

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