Waifu Discovered 2 Review: We’re Bringing Sexy Back, Yeah!
It’s hard to stand out in the Shmup genre. There are tons of classics like R-Type and Gradius, new age greats like Risk System, and a whole bunch of less memorable fish in a vast digital sea. So when I see something like Waifu Discovered 2: Medieval Fantasy, I have to pay attention. Because there are very, very few Shmups out there that are also full of fanservice. Developed by One-Hand-Free-Studios, the naughtily named developer behind Waifu Uncovered, Waifu Discovered 2 is a glorious return to form. It has you saving the day by blasting evil clothing off damsels in distress. It’s ludicrous, fun, and surprisingly addictive. The question is, is this Switch exclusive game for you?
A Quick Word From Our Sponsor
First things first. I promised myself this entire review wouldn’t be editorializing, which means I have to compress my large opinions to just this paragraph. So here goes. I’m an adult, and I assume the majority of people reading this are as well. As such, I’m not offended just because a game features mature, sexual content. Especially in a game this silly and over the top. But I know there’s a lot of movement in the industry towards toning down or suppressing anything sexual, even though those same rules don’t apply to extreme violence. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. My point is, I want to do everything I can in this review to sing the praises of a game like this, even if those same qualities might lead to it getting marginalized elsewhere.
Pimp Your Ride
One of the things I most appreciated about Waifu Discovered 2 is how it strove to be more balanced than the original game. Specifically in the new upgrade system. Before, you only obtained powerups randomly from destroyed foes. While you can still find those here, the much more meaningful way to upgrade your ship is at Bru-Ha’s shop, found between levels. She lets you use accumulated coins you find in stages to pay for any ship upgrades you want. The only limit is your pilot and the current level of your ship. Each pilot has different strengths and weaknesses, such as higher bomb capacity, no drones, and more. Increasing your ship level boosts its capacity for upgrades, as well as increasing how long your invincibility window lasts.
Though you’ll rarely have enough money to max out your stats fully, it’s nice to have some say over how you get stronger. That said, coins appear pretty sporadically as you blast wave after wave. Additionally, by accidentally shooting coins, you’ll diminish their value. It’s very easy to be attacking a swarm of foes, have a coin appear mid-wave, and it’s shredded to mere pennies by the time it gets to you. What this means is that if you want to get the most cash, you’ll need to weave dangerously close to foes to snag coins. While this technique is less necessary in the Beginner mode, you’ll need every cent to beat Arcade mode.
Shmup Their Clothes Off
As for how Waifu Discovered 2 plays, it’s pretty familiar, for the most part. At the start of stages, you face off against waves of foes, which is reminiscent of most games in the genre. After that, they change things up. You’re tasked with not only defeating foes, but collecting crystal Runes they drop. These are used to destroy an article of clothing at a time. Runes fire off like missiles once you collect them, and you’ll need progressively more to get past each phase. Once you collect enough, all the foes on-screen will also happily be destroyed. During these combat phases, enemies don’t really move in waves. They each have distinct patterns, and many will sit in place firing bullets at you. Others will move the minute you attack them. Some love to fly about, blocking your shots and being a nuisance. Thankfully, this sequel has mostly removed the irritating giant boulders that were a huge annoyance in Waifu Uncovered.
Once you’ve gotten enough Runes, you’ll unlock the boss for that stage. Much like in the last game, these are all pretty silly. They are mostly enchanted objects, like demonic bombs, angry swords, and even roving archery targets. There are also a few that are more organic in nature, such as a goblin king and a living rock head. What’s nice about them is they feature much more distinct attack patterns than bosses from the first game, and generally felt less unfair. That said, the later in a run you face a boss, the more powerful they’ll be. And that goes double for Arcade mode. So it’s really important to plot out the order you face bosses in so that you can come equipped for battle with the right upgrades.
If you want a weird challenge, you can unlock and try out One Hand Free mode. It’s basically stylus mode, but I suppose you could also play with your finger. You get to pilot a special sausage ship (no, seriously), and you instantly fire while moving. You can launch bombs with two quick touches of your stylus. It’s kind of novel, but the discrepancy between your stylus and the ship’s movement is pretty jarring, and it’s easy for your stylus to block your view. Not the best mode, but it’s there if you want to try something different.
Now, while there’s technically a plot in the game, it’s pretty barebones. It’s mostly window dressing to provide a reason for what’s happening. Cursed clothes are going to suck the life and vitality out of eight women. You fight back with the help of a witch that shrinks you down so you can blast the spirits empowering the curse, eventually rooting out the source, a powerful boss fight. Again, totally silly, but it also works.
A Gallery With Gusto
Many are probably wondering about the visual options in a game like this. Frankly, there’s a lot. There’s a variety of Fully Censored filters, as well as Censored and Uncensored. While most probably want to see as much skin as possible with Uncensored, that has to be unlocked by playing through the game first. I actually didn’t realize I had unlocked it until several hours into the game. Once you select it, you still have to earn your naughty pictures. To do so, you’ll have to defeat all the initial waves of foes that fly by at the start of each level. Doing so also nets you a nice point bonus, though sadly, that doesn’t translate to more money in your coffers.
What’s nice is that the other visual options are actually pretty compelling, in an artsy-fartsy sort of way. For example, though there’s only one type of Censored and Uncensored filter, there are four very distinct Fully Censored filters. They range from normal colored skin but covered naughty bits to discolored pixelation and scanlines, blue-skinned mutants, and near pitch-black images. That might sound awkward, but I found there’s actually a delightful abstract quality to all of these filters. I even had fun with them in the expansive Gallery mode.
The Gallery mode lets you look at the medieval maidens in a variety of settings. You can change what clothing they’re wearing, adjust the filter, zoom the focal point, play around with background colors, flip the image, change their facial expression and even make a glow appear behind them. As for the clothing options, those will depend entirely on how much you’ve played the game. Each time you successfully beat a stage, you’ll unlock a new clothing option for that saved damsel. Most of them have eight different outfits, though for some reason, my favorite, the succubus Ariella, only has 7. In any case, you’ll have plenty of incentive to replay the game to fully outfit them.
Pretty, Pretty Pixels
Visually, I really enjoyed Waifu Discovered 2. And not just because of the attractive maidens, though there’s a great assortment of them, from toned Elven archers to voluptuous Dwarves and more. I also appreciated the goofy nature of most of the foes. There’s a very Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo quality to many of the flying skulls, bats, owls, and other nuisances. Especially with the googly eyes, many are sporting. What’s also great are the expressions for the many bosses, which expresses a ton of personality. Also neat, at least initially, is how many bosses block your view with attack effects. King Khee ‘breaks’ the screen, forming large cracks the block your view, while Bang Peer will fire tomatoes at your ship that splatter, much to the same effect. In prolonged battles, I found these effects can actually become grating. As for the music, overall, it’s pretty enjoyable. The best way I can describe it is as carnival music. However, a standout track is the Gothic tunes that play on Ariella’s stage.
One Last Kiss (But Not of Death)
Now, I definitely appreciated my time with the game. But that doesn’t mean it does everything right. One constant annoyance is how every time you play, your witch friend Bru-Ha will give you the same spiel to explain the plot and controls. That’s definitely unnecessary. Just adding a skip button would have dealt with this admirably. I was also frustrated by how many of the game’s bosses stay really close to the bottom of the screen, making it very hard to maneuver your ship underneath to actually hit them.
As for the translation of the game, while it’s not all bad, it’s definitely mixed. Though I appreciated the punny nature of boss and pilot names, and laughed out loud at the sword boss named Kutty Parry, there’s a lot of badly translated text. What’s odd is I didn’t notice the same degree of awkward translation in Waifu Uncovered, after playing through it again. Thankfully you don’t play a Shmup for the dialogue, so I can mostly forgive this transgression. Much like I can forgive the nightmarish countenance found on the otherwise attractive mage, Camila. She has a practically reptilian gaze paired with a pained grimace. Granted, this is just her default expression, but it’s still noticeable in a game full of otherwise lovely women.
Lastly, though I had fun with the game, it does tend to get pretty repetitive when you’ve played the same stage for the seventh or eighth time. I just wish there was a bit more differentiation between the modes, other than increased difficulty. I personally would have loved an endless rogue mode or something similar. Especially since that would have worked really well with the upgrade system. Overall though, the negative aspects of the game don’t much hold it back.
One Wild Ride
Waifu Discovered 2: Medieval Fantasy isn’t for everyone. But if you’re an adult gamer looking for something silly to pass the time with, I’d highly recommend it. Not only is it much more balanced than the first game (I even managed to beat the Arcade mode here), but the animation overall is higher quality, with better shading and less cartoony artwork. Plus, it allows multiplayer fun and streaming options. So if you’re a Switch owner looking for a new Shmup, look no further than Waifu Discovered 2!
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Switch (reviewed); Publisher: eastasiasoft; Developer: One-Hand-Free-Studios; Players: 1-2; Released: October 14, 2021; ESRB: Mature 17+ – Blood, Violence, Sexual Themes, Nudity; MSRP: $9.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.