What is Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors?
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a dungeon crawling role-playing game in which you help guide seven would be criminals through purgatory in an effort to reform them into well-behaved citizens. By fighting your way through the many floors of the formidable Hell Spire, beating back the enemies along the way, you and your all-female party will finally get the chance to come back to life as changed men and women with a second chance at life. But hell is a scary place, and you'll need to "motivate" your party members to improve their performance in battle, via a number of risqué touch screen "punishment" mini-games.
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How do you play Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors?
Most of your time with Criminal Girls 2 will be spent guiding your team of nubile anime women around the floors of the game's maze-like dungeon, taking part in random turn-based battles as you go. Trading physical and special attacks with enemies in an effort to reduce your enemy's health to zero, the battles in Criminal Girls work a little differently to other turn-based games. Rather than giving you a full move list to choose from, here, your team of girls will each suggest a move that they'd like to perform, drawn semi-randomly from their pool of learnt moves - and it's up to you to decide which one's chosen the best course of action for the team. On one hand, this makes battles a bit less daunting, as you only have four options to pick from rather than dozens - but on the other, its randomness can be your undoing. If a healing spell doesn't show at the right time, you could find your party prematurely wiped out, adding an extra layer of complexity and forward planning to the battles...
In order to teach your party members new moves, you need to 'motivate' them via the aforementioned touch screen mini-games. Depending on the punishment you choose, you'll find yourself scrubbing away sins with a broom, tapping to whip temptations with a riding crop or flicking gloopy blue slime at the girls, all in the name of improving their battle performance.
Some floors in Hell have certain gimmicks associated with them, adding another layer of strategy to your dungeon crawling. Some have simple locked door/switch puzzles to solve, while others split your party in two, forcing you to play as characters you may not have played as before, or which may not be as trained up as your main team. Another particularly brain-bending floor had certain rooms/corridors that teleported you to other areas of the map - working out the way to get to the exit, let alone how to find all the hidden treasure chests is a bit of a challenge to say the least.
How easy is Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors to pick up and play?
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a challenging game, designed to test even the most experienced dungeon crawler fan. Bosses, particularly, cause some pretty drastic difficulty spikes, with one hit kills, and status effects making for some incredibly challenging conflicts. As such, you'll find yourself having to spend a substantial amount of time back tracking through the game to "grind", getting into repeated battles purely to gain more experience, and help your character level up.
As your characters choose their own moves, you also have to think much more in advance here than in other games - you can't let your characters' health get low, assuming you'll be able to heal them before they bite the dust, as the option simply might not show up. It adds an extra layer of complexity to the game, and requires a heck of a lot of foresight.
It's also worth noting that there are no autosaves in Criminal Girls 2, with the only way to save your game being to do it manually at the glowing pink 'camp' points found on (most) floors of the dungeons. However, these aren't found on every single floor, and are sometimes located a fair way from a formidable boss fight - and if you fall in battle, you'll have to go back to your last save.
The game does have an adjustable difficulty, however, and the 'Casual' choice does make things easier, even if it is a little bit hidden - you'll need to quit back to the title screen, scroll down to Option, switch the difficulty, then reload your save. Even on Casual, though, you'll still need to grind.
Criminal Girls 2 is also a pretty text-heavy game, so a solid reading ability is a must - with no English voice-overs, only occasional Japanese voice acting, it's pretty much a requirement if you want to understand what's going on in the story.
- "SM is short for sadomasochism. It's a very *classy* kink associated with domination, submission and bondage play."
- "I am the executioner. Hellfire for the sinners. Magma for the Convicts. Wrath for the lunatics."
- "Instructor, come look for paints with me. If I get more paint, this will be complete!"
It's probably easiest to start by looking at the mature content Criminal Girls doesn't have, to begin with. There's nothing in the way of bloody violence here, as battles are pretty tame, with the girls slashing at fantastical enemies with swords, accompanied by bright flashes of light and explosions. Defeated enemies simply fade away when defeated, and there's no blood or gore whatsoever. Bad language is limited to the occasional mention of being p*ssed off, and/or calling someone an a*shole.
However, Criminal Girls is very heavy on sexual content, with scantily clad women tied up into compromising positions, legs spread, bent over or straddling things, often paired with another girl in a similarly dodgy position. Players are then able to 'motivate' the girls by touching, swiping and tapping the touch screen to whip, electric-shock or throw gloopy 'slime' over their bodies, as they move provocatively, with boobs/backsides that jiggle when struck. Close up shots of underwear and barely covered breasts are common. Dialogue often references sex too, whether its Tsukasa talking about "adult wrestling", characters lamenting that they're "just cursed to have a flat chest" or more overt references to groping ("She's been groped a bunch of times", "Woah! You're… touching me with your breasts...").
Format Reviewed: PS Vita