Koihime Enbu is a little known title for gamers in the west, but this Playstation title that was exclusive to Japanese Playstation owners is now available on PC. Here is our review.
The game, developed by the interestingly titled developer “unknown games”, is an anime-inspired fighting game. If you disregard recent entries in the Street Fighter franchise, then it seems like that is actually the only kind of fighting game coming out these days as well. We’ve reviewed our fair share of them, with top marks going to BlazBlue and Guilty Gear titles – games that have a more universal appeal in terms of style and design than some of these anime games do.
Koihime Enbu is definitely more geared towards fans of manga and anime, which perhaps explains its former “Japan-only” status. The entire roster of characters is female, which is not uncommon in this particular sub-genre. Another familiar aspect is that this game is based on a visual novel, although I’m not familiar with the source material in question – apparently a reimagining of Romance of Three Kingdoms. Looking at the game’s visual style, it is a familiar look if you’re played games like Nitroplus Blasterz before.
The main draw in Koihime Enbu is how accessible and easy to play the game is. You don’t have to be a joystick wizard to be competitive in this game, although it’s noteworthy that most of your battle will take place against the cpu or through local coop. Online multiplayer functions, but is not backed up by a community of any kind. Whether you’re playing against the computer or a friend, the controls are always easy to grasp and hardly differ from character to character.
Aerial combat doesn’t really feature in Koihime Enbu, but combos and counters do. To pull these off, you only have to use four different buttons – low, medium and hard attacks are three, and the fourth is reserved for throwing. It’s easy to grasp and doesn’t take weeks to master. That’s not to say that this is a game that has been “dumbed down”, since experienced fighting game fans will be able to string together attacks and combos like there’s no tomorrow – especially if they make good use of mechanics like the Fatal Counter ad Tactics Meter. Both are geared towards making your moveset and combos more complex, but are not needed to win.
The game’s relatively simple control method works well for casual fans of the fighting genre, but also has another benefit. In games like Tekken and Street Fighter, you’ll quickly find that more players stick to one or two characters in order to be able to master them and be competitive. Because Koihime Enbu shared its set of moves across the entire roster, you get a more diverse experience out of it. The downside of course is that after a while you miss the strategic aspect that comes with the careful balancing act that other games offer with their rosters.
All things considered, this is a game that is easy to pick up and play, and the fighting system works very well to accommodate this. It’s not a game that you’ll play for months (or even weeks) on end though, because of the limited amount of diversity in its roster and lack of an online community.