Just three months after the release of Megadimension Neptunia VII, Idea Factory International have brought us MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies, and it’s great to see another Neptunia title on the Playstation Vita. MegaTagmension Blanc is another of the series’ spin-off titles, the previous of which was released last May, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. Much like Neptunia U, MegaTagmension Blanc is also an action game, rather than a JRPG, and is developed by Tamsoft once again. This time around, however, there is both a single-player story mode, and a mode for either local or online multiplayer.
Gameplay is faster paced than that of the main series Neptunia games, and will feel somewhat familiar to you if you played Neptunia U last year, though the costume break mechanic has been abolished. Rather than the usual setting of Gamindustri, this time the game takes place in Gamicademi, a failing school that is to be closed. This game features 13 characters from the Neptunia series, alongside one new character, Tamsoft, for a total of 14 characters. Our heroes, the four CPUs amongst them, are, naturally, schoolgirls in this game. Yes, that means the default costumes, and those that can be unlocked through finding treasure, are school uniforms. I would’ve preferred if the uniforms didn’t make it impossible to play through the levels without a constant stream of upskirt views, but, each to their own, other fans of the series may enjoy the fanservice. Story is disseminated through visual novel style cut-scenes as is the norm.
Levelling up through completing levels earns you credits, ability points, and various items. Credits allow you to purchase new items, including more powerful weapons, from the shop, while items can be sold, used, or fused with other items to create new ones. Ability points can be spent on improving a character’s HP, attack, defence, or their combos. It’s a simple system, though it can be unsettlingly time-consuming to cycle through the characters in order to locate the one you wish to upgrade.
The story mode starts off with you saving someone from zombies, who turn out to just be student actors in a movie. Upon deciding to film a zombie movie themselves in order to submit into a competition and make their school popular once again, it becomes apparent that there has actually been a zombie outbreak. The enterprising young students take advantage of this to nullify their need for special effects, resulting in a single player campaign split into scenes, and then further into cuts, in which you have to meet a simple criterion for victory in order to progress. These cuts, alongside their cut-scenes make up the plot of the student movie, while the cut-scenes linked to each overarching scene seem to relate to the story of the actual game.
Sadly, each level is far too short, a time limit of 30 minutes seems absurd when it’s likely to take you less than two of them, even with under-levelled characters. As a hack and slash game, Megatagmension is impeccable, it just brings nothing new to the genre. However, I didn’t desire anything new; being able to hack and slash through zombies with the Neptunia characters I’ve grown fond of over the last couple years was more than enough to satisfy. If you’re not a Neptunia fan, or you’re looking for more than just mindless fun though, Megatagmension probably isn’t the game you’re looking for.
Megatagmension Blanc is certainly not original, but it is an excellent addition to the Neptunia, and the Playstation Vita, line-up. The story mode is not challenging, but it prepares you to transition over to the multiplayer quests, hopefully as part of a team. During my time with the game so far, I only managed to find another player to join me online on one occasion. Hopefully now that the game is out in the wild in Europe, the multiplayer component will have a larger community. You can play through the multiplayer quests on your own, but at a disadvantage without other players to back you up. A story-mode experienced character should be able to hold their own playing the multiplayer quests solo though.
The next game Idea Factory International will be bringing us from this series is Superdimension Neptune vs Sega Hard Girls, a crossover game with the Sega Hard Girls franchise, an anime adaptation of which aired last year and was simulcast on Crunchyroll.
The Neptunia series of games continues to provide excellent games, this latest entry rising to be one of my favourites in a series I already rank above most others. The roster of characters we all love is present herein, and the action gameplay is a nice change of pace while waiting for the next main series entry. Though I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the next spin-off game, Superdimension Neptune vs Sega Hard Girls.