If there’s one thing that Tamsoft’s 2014 release of Onechanbara Z2: Chaos taught me about myself, it’s that I know how to enjoy a fast action game with an over-the-top premise. Going from level-to-level in the game, I remember enjoying the combat and waves of zombie enemies who met their end by my party of attractive anime girls.
I’m sure it goes without saying that when I heard a new Tamsoft game, School Girl/Zombie Hunter, would be coming West I was more than excited to jump in and enjoy some zombie slaying. Sadly, School Girl/Zombie Hunter held none of the charm shown in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos and all I discovered in my time with this game is that Tamsoft might have spent too much time making these girls cute rather than creating a fun experience.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter does have a story, but you really don’t care about it as it often doesn’t make much sense. Furthermore, the scenes are cut and edited in a way that is a bit distracting to watch or even follow along with. As the player, all you really need to know is that these five girls are survivors of a zombie apocalypse and they are trapped in a school.
Tamsoft really does try to get you to care about these characters by randomly inserting a character talking about their parents or how they respect each other, but the conversations feel so out of place and awkward. This is especially seen early on in the game when Sayuri saves Risa, and they just start discussing who is smarter in class and how nursing is Sayuri’s favorite subject. I mean come on girls — zombies are crawling around trying to kill you and this is how you’re going to spend your time? I want to applaud the localization team at Aksys Games for attempting to make sense of these conversations because I feel like it must have been a rather tough experience.
With that said, anyone can easily tell that School Girl/Zombie Hunter doesn’t want to be taken seriously. The game is pure fanservice of those who enjoy two things: killing zombies and half-naked girls. More or less I’m a fan of both these themes in video games, so I continued through the missions and paid very little attention to the overall story because it really didn’t matter.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter is a third-person shooter with each girl having access to a wide variety of guns, of which more become unlocked in later parts of the campaign. The rules are simple: kill the zombies that are approaching.
However, there isn’t much to worry about because these are the dumbest zombies I have ever encountered, but I honestly didn’t have any expectations for the game at this point. Some zombies have guns and other weapons that change up the variety of enemy types and will continuously spawn in front of you to block you from your missions goal. However, the harder difficulty makes killing zombies a little more intense because of the amount that spawns in front of you, and this also makes the game slightly challenging.
Here is what I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around: Onechanbara Z2: Chaos had many enemies on the screen as well as enemy AI that could land a hit every once in awhile. Also, the game hosted a decent combo system and memorable boss battles. Now, that game released two years before School Girl/Zombie Hunter, so why has Tamsoft chosen to slow down the action and to reduce it to a dull crawl?
Redeeming factors of School Girl/Zombie Hunter include that zombies’ limbs fall off and there is a ton of blood that will spray all over the school’s halls. Morbid, I know. However, enemies disappear within seconds which makes killing enemies just feel like mindless work when it’d be far more interesting to see zombie bodies stack up — a feature which shouldn’t be too complicated on current generation hardware.
It should also be said that Tamsoft co-developed another third-person shooter from this year, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash. The reason I bring this up is because the controls were easily recognized as a typical TPS button configuration. However, School Girl/Zombie Hunter has the worst button layout I have had to learn in quite some time. To make this more clear: R1 is to jump and X is to zoom in/aim. Let that be a preview of what the rest of the configuration is like.
I think it’s time to talk about what everyone is probably here for: the girls. Yes, School Girl/Zombie Hunter has the five girls running around in nothing but their underwear for most of the game. And if that’s not enough for you, they can be viewed in a character model menu for as long as you’d like. Now, did this game need this? Absolutely yes, because without it this would just be an awful TPS game that released in 2017. There is also a variety of underwear that can found during the campaign.
I should reiterate that I understand School Girl/Zombie Hunter doesn’t care to take itself seriously, but Tamsoft could have put in a little extra work to make this a fun experience because in all honesty from the outside looking in this game does look like it could be fun. However, this ended up feeling like Tamsoft developed the game to a point and then just gave up, which is sad because under all these negative critiques lies a nice looking game.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter is not a good game; it’s barely even an okay game. What I found that I enjoyed most was the localization effort, a few of the boss battles, and some of the environments. Outside of that, this game will most likely fall into obscurity and be forgotten, which is something that I’m not proud to say because of how much I’ve personally enjoyed other Tamsoft releases.
Like a stated before, if you enjoy mindlessly killing zombies and half-naked anime girls than you might find a great deal of fun in School Girl/Zombie Hunter, but if you’re looking for a decent playing experience, I feel like you’d be let down. I hope to see Tamsoft continue to develop new IPs, but hopefully next time they’ll give the game a good amount of QA before pushing it to release.