A Solid Fighter With A Beastly Soundtrack
As a dedicated fan of most anime and visual novels, I must say that I am a bit ashamed that I had never heard of the Koihime Muso series. Originally a visual novel and strategy game series, Koihime Enbu branches out to the fighting game genre, a first for the franchise. What comes is a game that looks to master the basics first, without differentiating too much from established formula.
Koihime Enbu is truly a finely tuned machine, where combos and button presses are the most standard of most fighting games. While certainly not unique by any standards, Koihime is tight, where each attack flows seamlessly, with each move working as it should. Special attacks are effective, and keep the battle flowing. Just about every special move uses quarter-circle movements and a button press, making specials easy to remember for each character in the game’s 13 character roster. Labeled as “Tactics” in Koihime, Special moves come in three flavors, each doing more damage the more you spend on the bar. Counter moves are also very helpful in getting by battles, and are some of the more effective ways to do damage. There is also a support character that you can summon during battle, though they don’t do a significant amount of damage to your opponent when utilized.
Koihime Enbu has four attack buttons, with the standard Light, Medium, and Heavy varieties. Throws are set to a single button, which is always a positive, and are great for damaging opponents that guard constantly instead of brawling out. Heavy Attacks also have the advantage of either being a simple projectile move if you have a bit of distance away from the opponent, or a powerful blow when you’re up in your foe’s face. Moving your character around the arena is tight and responsive, with no floaty movements making the game feel cheap. It’s clear that the budget went for this style of game, and each of the roster’s 13 characters all feel different.
In terms of presentation, Koihime Enbu just screams early 90’s style anime. While usually not a bad thing, the game flaunts the more stereotypical look of that decade in anime history. Each of the gals’ faces have gigantic eyes, and come in either giant boob, or no breast models. It is quite a shame that this is easily seen, as the outfits for each of the game’s leading ladies all have a unique, Chinese aesthetic that few Japanese-centric fighting games come with nowadays. The sprites on the battlefield all look just fine, though jiggle-physics on some of the more well-endowed females during their standby phase are slightly distracting. The backgrounds in Koihime Enbu all look fantastic, though they’re largely static images. From war zones to lakes, each of the ten stages look different and fits with the style Koihime Enbu is utilizing.
Koihime Enbu’s music is god damn fantastic. I can’t state enough how there is not a single bad, or enough “okay” tune in the game. From the moment the game boots up, to the title screen and battle music, Koihime Enbu sports a fierce eastern rock soundtrack. We may be done with only five months this year, but Koihime Enbu already has my favorite music selection out of everything that I have played so far. Even if you aren’t into fighting games, or dislike the art style, I highly recommend finding the tracks online and giving them a listen.
The only truly bad thing that I can say about Koihime Enbu is the story mode. Unless you are a big fan of the mainline series, you will most likely be entirely lost in what was occurring in Story mode. It got to the point where I was zoning out on what each character was even talking about and just mashing the advance text button to get to the next fight. Arcade mode has this same issue, though unlike Story mode, Arcade at least has a difficulty option, a necessary addition, as Story mode is both boring and easy as hell to beat. It doesn’t help that the text during the dialogue options looks generic and just plain difficult to read over any length of time.
Online works just fine, with little to no lag. Matchmaking is fast and seamless so long as you can find a match to join. However, there were occasions when I waited upwards of eight minutes trying to locate another player. As of this post, there was quite a bit of a struggle trying to find rival players, mostly because Koihime Enbu does not have a large enough fan base playing the game yet. When it does connect, the game runs smoothly, and matches can happen again and again, so long as one of you don’t drop out of the brawl.
While Koihime Enbu is by no means a bad game, in fact, it’s quite solid, the lack of finding much of anything original keeps the game from standing out from the rest of the pack. If you are a fan of the Koihime Muso series, I wholly recommend the game, as I would to anyone who is looking for a solid fighter to tide them over until the next big release. Heck, even if you hate the style Koihime Enbu portrays, at least look up the music, as that I can almost guarantee that you will not be disappointed in.
Final Verdict. 3.5/5
Available on:, PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: Degica; Developer: Unknown Games, M2 Co. LTD; Release Date: 5/19/2016; MSRP: $39.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Koihime Enbu, provided by the game’s publisher, Degica.