Hot Games of the Week Reviewed: January 6


There’s nothing like kicking off thew new year in gaming with a little soft-core nudity. Two oddball Japanese games — Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed, as well as Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit — provide just that. The former blends the arts of stripping and zombie slaughtering, while the latter somehow manages to blend the intrigue of cooking competitions with scantily dressed beauties. If you’re in the mood for something that draws its sex appeal from raw speed rather than nudity, MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame is more your speed.
Reviews by Phil Villarreal. Phil is an authorblogger and Twitterer. Publishers provided review copies.

Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed

(PS4, PS3, Vita, $50, Mature)

A game that gives a warm, sloppy hug to all that the initials “WTF” represent, Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed mixes street brawling with stripping. Straight-faced non-player characters inform you that you need to take down your enemies by hitting them until their clothes fall off, exposing their vulnerable flesh to sunlight. This “makes sense” in the world of the game because the enemies are nocturnal vampires and zombies that are vulnerable when drawn into brightness. You humiliate and degrade your enemies by mutilating their clothing, trying not to roll your eyes at the absurdity of it all.
While the combat mechanics are slow and sloppy, there’s enough humor in the game to keep the strange story interesting. Once you get acclimated to the clunky rhythms of the battlfield and finicky hit detection, it’s easier to fall for the game’s quirky charms. On the other hand, the gimmick tends to wear thin, turning the game into more of a repetitive drag once you’re no longer shocked or intrigued by the freakish premise. If you’ve got a free weekend and find yourself intrigued, this is probably one to consider renting rather than buying.

MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame

(PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, $50, Everyone)

There is no shortage of car racing games on the market, but surprisingly few that let you race around bumpy dirt tracks on bikes. MXGP fixes that shortcoming by going all-in to nail realistic details of the motocross circuit, rounding up 60 riders, 60 bikes and 14 tracks to let you kick up the mud and execute jumps amid the roar of the crowd. The PS4 version shifts the graphics and framerate to a higher gear, making for one of the more exciting racers available on the console.
Although the game is excellent at nailing the sense of raw speed, it struggles to get a handle on the high-stakes risk of the competition. During bump-and-grind races, you find yourself colliding with racers without hitting them. Since you can slam on the gas without worrying much that you’ll be knocked off by opponents, you don’t need to use much strategy or care as you choose your lines and execute your turns. At least the lack of risk streamlines the gameplay, making races go smoothly rather than jumble up into piles of bodies and twisted metal.

Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit

(Vita, $50, Mature)

The Senran Kagura series has carved out its niche as a flesh-flashing brawler, following the exploits of a cast of buxom ninja beauties. In this spin-off, brawling gives way to a cooking competition. In a mixture of Cooking Mama and Elite Beat Agents, you put together ingredients to make dishes by matching onscreen prompts with button taps. All the while, characters react to your success or failure with suggestive poses showing joy or despair.
Look past the short skirts, tiny bikinis and whipped cream panties and you’ll find the structure of a solid, addictive rhythm game, and yet another Vita exclusive that separates Sony’s handheld from the more demure DS. The visuals are as much of a drawback as a plus, though. Definitely not one for the easily ashamed to play in public, Bon Apetit is packed with brief, invigorating challenges that suit it for quick, on-the-go gameplay.

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