Kill La Kill IF is a fighting game based on the original anime series. As someone not initiated to this series, this game served as an introduction for me. I checked out the anime to get an idea of the story and theme and from what I can tell, Kill La Kill IF translates this very well into this tie-in game. It takes the stylistic aesthetic of the anime series and brings it to life here. Since I am not too familiar with the original anime series this is based on I will be writing this review based on the merits of the game itself and not whether it stays true to the anime series.
Firstly, what is on offer here is essentially an arena fighter in the same universe as the Kill La Kill universe. This seems to be a popular genre-of-choice when animes get a tie-in video game. The game is developed by APLUS – who are collaborating with the anime creators Studio TRIGGER to keep true to the source material. The game also has input from anime writer Kazuki Nakashima which shows a dedicated objective to not stray from the source material which I am sure fans of the original anime will be more than pleased with.
The story harks back to the original anime but is still an enjoyable experience even for those like me that have not seen the entirety of the anime. The story is a “what if” scenario so essentially provides a whole new story, rather than just replicating the original anime. The story mode is split into two campaigns with 10 chapters each. Once you complete the first campaign you unlock a second to see it all from another character’s viewpoint. Clearing Satsuki’s story mode will unlock Matoi Ryuko’s own scenario. Like Satsuki’s scenario, this is an original creation. The second story mode allows you to play the adventure again with Ryuko as the main character and discover her side of the IF story. There are cutscenes to help the story flow and each chapter sees you earn a battle rank based on how quickly you completed the chapter and how skilled you were.
The bread-and-butter of a game like this is the fighting mechanics. I am pleased to say that Kill La Kill IF nails the fighting mechanics. It can take some getting used to and feels a little slow at first. However, once you get accustomed to it, you can pull-off some awesome combos. The basic attacks range from a short attack, long attack, and a guard-break attack. Movement is in jumps and dashes. These seem simple enough but when different combos are made you can pull off more skilled attacks.
Kill La Kill IF features an online mode which allows you to fight against your friends online or matchmake to face other foes. The online works well with no apparent lag or netcode issues. There is an added element of customisation as you can set handicap options to customise the format of your fight. You can also select various voice-acted dialogue lines while waiting in the lobby. There is also a ranked mode that keeps track of your win/loss record and allows you to climb the ranks of the ranked leaderboard.
For those not accustomed to this genre of game there are a lot of options to help integrate you into the game. First of all, the tutorial mode allows you to learn the ropes of the game by taking instructions from the club president of the Tailoring Club, Shiro Iori. After this, you can partake in the training mode to refine your skills. There is a survival challenge mode which pits you against waves of random CPU opponents. The Covers challenge mode is the most complex as you defeat the swarm of Covers appearing in the stage. Whilst progressing in the battle, items that enhance your Ketsui level may drop from enemies adding another layer of gameplay.
Visually the game is very striking and has a unique anime style aesthetic. The game really does stay true to the visuals of the original anime and this will no doubt please the fans of the anime. The audio is on-point and it definitely shows that the developers have taken cues from the creators of the original anime so fans of the series will no doubt be pleased. Overall, Kill La Kill IF pays homage to the original anime and delivers it in an accomplished arena fighter format.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*