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To Love-Ru Darkness: Battle Ecstasy Review

To Love-Ru Darkness: Battle Ecstasy Review

When I reached the end of the two To Love-Ru mangas, I was a little annoyed that none of the various games had ever received a translation. Four of them are visual novels, so would have required a ton of work, but then we have To Love-Ru Darkness: Battle Ecstasy. Released on the PS Vita on 22nd of May 2014, while it never received an official translation, the fact that it’s a hack-and-slash certainly made it easier for fans to translate.

Okay, so officially it’s called an “ultra-pleasant harem action” game, but that’s because the game is split into three parts, and I figure the developer didn’t want to make it sound like the combat is really deep. After all, “hack-and-slash” denotes a bit of skill might be required, rather than just hammering the buttons and succeeding just as easily.

The plot is classic To Love-Ru, with one of Lala’s inventions malfunctioning and Rito having to clean up after her. In this instance, the gang is stuck in a videogame called Love Quest 2, so Rito has to bash monsters across 30 dungeon floors to get everyone out safely. Enemies will drop materials which you can use to craft new weapons when outside of the dungeon, and you gain experience points that level up your health.

When in Rito’s house (technically a replica of his house inside Love Quest 2) you can craft weapons, each of which has a different attack pattern and special ability. Attacks are combinations of hard and weak strikes, so some are better against certain enemies compared to others, though they also all have a different strength stat. Combat isn’t especially deep, and honestly, I just used the ray gun through a lot of it, spamming the weak attack.

You can also talk to the other characters who will be in the various rooms of Rito’s house. Sometimes they will have a heart above their heads which means that interaction will increase their affection stat, once you win a mini-game. This was arguably the biggest selling point for the game…

Okay, so Battle Ecstasy’s mini-game. This is one of the (remarkably) few videogames that have a mode requiring you to “touch” characters. If you fill the bar along the top, you win, if you don’t manage it then I assume you fail. I didn’t even get close to failing so I never actually got to see what would happen… There are two phases to the mini-game, actually, with the first phase being more like a rhythm game without needing to match the beat, before you go on to the “touching”. Some of the weapons which you craft also unlock special tools to use in the mode, such as the Taiyaki Sword making your touches place taiyaki on them, and turning the situation even more incredibly weird. There are story reasons for why Rito needs to feel up his friends, and in true To Love-Ru style, they’re stupid and contrived; which means perfect.

The mini-game will also appear after certain boss fights, after which you’ll be able to have the character join Rito in the dungeon. You can only pick one at a time and they can only be used three times per floor, but they’re a good bonus to have if you get a little overrun with enemies.

Each floor of the dungeon has set places where enemies spawn, but as far as I found they only appear once per visit to the floor. There are also repeatable challenges such as “race through the dungeon” and “defeat all of the enemies”, so you can grind levels if you need to. If you’re defeated and decide to retry, you’ll appear at the start of the floor and retain your experience. I went up three levels while trying to defeat an early optional boss, so I’m obviously of the opinion that more games should do this! The only issue is that it gets a bit repetitive after a while.

Speaking of repetitive, while the full voice acting is fantastic, I admit that the very few things Rito says during fights quickly frustrated me. The Japanese cast of the anime reprised their roles, so if you enjoyed those performances then you’ll have a great time.

Similarly, the graphics all make things look like 3D versions of the familiar To Love-Ru crew. While there is no nudity, most of the characters have jiggle physics and there’s more than enough fanservice camera angles, though you probably knew that even if you knew nothing else about the franchise. Spoiler if you didn’t already know, Rito is one of “those” protagonists, always falling into ladies in inappropriate ways.

To LOVE-Ru Darkness: Battle Ecstasy is a welcome addition to the franchise, and accompaniment to the manga or anime. It manages to hold up 10 years on, and I’m glad that I played through to spend some more time with familiar characters. While it doesn’t break the mould in terms of gameplay or plots involving these characters, it’s a comfortable if repetitive game. So long as fanservice and jiggle physics don’t make you uncomfortable.

7.00/10 7

To LOVE-Ru Darkness: Battle Ecstasy (Reviewed on PlayStation Vita)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

One for fans of the IP and of fanservice, with repetitive combat and a mini-game that was really the main selling point back in 2014.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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