By: Uma Smith
Crime never pays. And that seems to be the message portrayed in a PlayStation Vita’s title, Criminal Girls: Invite Only. But who exactly is being punished here? When taking into account the somewhat mature subject matter involved, you get a display of dirty and shameless content.
Whether engaged in battles or simply sifting through the dialogue, this game is pretty straightforward in terms of controls. You have the circle button for accessing the map and the X button to perform actions. Essentially, if you are familiar with RPG titles, then it’s going to be smooth sailing for the most part.
Simply put, the graphical presentation here does need some sprucing up. The animations are poorly executed while the characters themselves appear to have a minimalist approach during their attacks. On top of that, the enemies pretty much look the same (just with different colors) while the environments are uninspired. Luckily, the voice acting is decent while the music is somewhat memorable.
Things start off with a young man, apparently on his first day at work, thinking he will be serving as a zookeeper. He quickly realizes, however, that he is acting as a warden to a group of female convicts who have actually passed away and been banished to Hell.
Now, even though these women have not committed any serious crimes, they must still seek rehabilitation by climbing a tower that happens to be populated with deadly convicts. If successful, they will get a second chance at life. And, of course, the young man must assist them on their journey.
In Criminal Girls: Invite Only, combat plays out in a turn-based fashion involving a group of four women. As the warden, you issue the commands with each girl taking one action per turn. Do take note, however, that you don’t actually have control over the actions that these girls take — other than using items each round as well as swapping party members. Therefore it’s not a very interactive gameplay experience, and this, consequently, can be off-putting to players.
Challenges do exist in this game especially when you come across bosses. However, the difficulty doesn’t seem to be justified. The bosses produce a much higher damage effect; and, to rub salt in the wound, the party members have a limited selection of abilities that may not provide reliable results.
As such, it ends up feeling one-sided in favor of the bosses. And if you want to perform the more effective and stronger moves, you’ll need luck on your side as they are harder to activate and tedious to come across.
Where Criminal Girls: Invite Only becomes shameful as well as controversial is the motivation system. Since each of the women is a criminal, and therefore unwilling to take your orders, you’ll have to provide motivation. And what better way to provide it to these scantily-dressed prisoners than via corporal punishment?! The further you progress, the more peculiar the items you’ll be equipped with, including whips, electrical sticks and slime. Aside from the fan service, it really serves no enjoyment whatsoever and can be quite a chore to go through.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only suffers from a generic story and tedious gameplay. As a result, this Vita title is probably suited to (and perhaps enjoyed by) a select audience “ONLY.”