Playing a game with the subtitle Bikini Samurai Squad is a good indicator of what you’re getting into. The game doesn’t stray far from its concept, a straightforward beat-em-up with few frills short of the enormous gore factor… and bikinis. Repetition is high, graphics are awful, and every level feels the same, yet somehow this manages to be fun.
Onechanbara followed the same path as publisher D3’s previous title, Earth Defense Force. What started as a budget franchise on the PlayStation 2 in Japan has finally made its way here on the 360. The game is originally from 2006 and its roots show, although even looking at it with the proper context, it still looks terrible.
Onechenbara’s simplicity is everywhere. The simple attack system recalls classic games of the genre with few updates worth mentioning. In other words, plan to hit X a lot. That’s as deep as it gets.
Level design is awful. Running around to find key cards grew old in Doom over 15 years ago, but here it’s unberable. The sheer number of empty rooms an hallways are a complete waste of time. It only serves to put more zombies on screen and increase repetition.
The only gimmicks involve blood gathering on the sword requiring it to be wiped off from time to time and a rage meter. This fills as blood covers the girls bodies. When full, they go into a zombie rage that saps away their life. You need to quickly find a statue or use a found statue head to restore your normal status.
A low number of enemy models continues the games track of simple and repetitive. Why war veterans are popping out of the ground along with modern police is anyone’s guess. However, regardless of what they are, there’s no question slashing them into a mountain of pieces is fun.
That’s why Onechenbara works so well. Despite all of the problems, many of which would destroy any other game, it’s somehow a pure blast. Bring in another friend for local co-op and you’ll have an even higher level of enjoyment. It has the same appeal of Earth Defense Force 2017, which also had the same issues.
While undoubtedly an acquired taste, Onechenbara is the type of game that will draw a cult following and likely carry it until the end of time. It’s everything a die-hard male gamer should want, including over-the-top sex appeal (and physics), boatloads of gore, and co-op. Good luck finding something as weird as this that can still entertain.