When something becomes popular enough, it is bound to attract imitators. Sometimes those imitators will break into different genres to try to capitalize on the popularity of more games. In case Waifu impactThe developers used the principles already implemented Fortnite an amazing success and combine them with a healthy amount of fan service to attract players, plus licking The Genshin effect– Presentation style. There’s nothing wrong with taking what was popular in the past and serving it up in a new way; Players sometimes need a little familiarity to help them settle into a new game. However, a high level of polish is required and with Waifu Impact, polishing is not there. Even worse than the clumsy and confusing gameplay, it’s simply not enjoyable.
Waifu Impact saw players dropped onto glorious ‘Waifu Island’, a place visited nightly of many people’s dreams; a tropical paradise with cute girls running around shooting each other with water guns. That’s the basic premise we’ve seen in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash, but with stripped features. Instead of different teams vying for control of the arena, it’s a free-to-play battle against AI-controlled enemies who all look and play identical. Instead of virtually no chaos, with the action coming at you from every angle – the things that make other arena shooters fun to play – this sounds like a tagline.
The Joy-Con doesn’t naturally allow for precise shooting, so each blast from your water gun will take a long time to queue. Even more so when you’re running around avoiding the amazingly accurate AI enemies. Each character feels like moving through a crate of pudding, slowly trudging around to find the best angle to attack. This is clearly a game designed for mouse and keyboard and hasn’t made the transition to a controller well yet. The only enemy hit box that saves on enemy power is so great that precision isn’t strictly necessary to survive.
There are a total of eight different characters to choose from, each wielding a different type of water gun. Some have a higher rate of fire or deal more damage. There are some good categories here and players will find a character that suits their play style. However, they all have the same slow movement speed that makes traveling and exploring the island dull. The character itself cannot be upgraded, but each kill unlocks new girls arts, giving players a reason to play with every character.
For a game designed to be engaging, these images are pretty tame, providing a simple shot of the bikini-clad girl after they’ve killed 50 lives (‘Nude mode’ from the Steam version seems to have been removed entirely on the Switch, unsurprisingly). The only other collectibles in the game are the 25 stars scattered across the island. For each of these five that the player finds, a new character is unlocked.
The two side characters can be unlocked by completing late game challenges, but just reaching 25 stars is more of a chore than anything. Exploring the island is tedious, with the platform parts feeling daunting and untested. Every jump feels like a challenge, but not in the way the devs intended, let alone the framerate issues we encountered during our gameplay.
Waifu Impact erroneously assumed that the promise of fan service was enough to make a game run for the duration of its run, however short. This game uses the Fortnite formula, embeds the character controls in digital, removes the multiplayer aspect to make that game fun, and doesn’t add anything worthwhile. It’s like a proof of concept, with no story or character to tell. Most importantly, it’s not fun to play. Even with the low price from the eShop, the joke here wears thin within half an hour